Finnish smart & clean investors

A list of Finnish investors who are actively seeking smart & clean startups to invest into, and their initial ticket size ranges.

Butterfly VC – Early-stage deep tech hardware fund. €50k – 1M.

Ensto – A family company providing industrial-grade electricity hardware, interested in synergistic startups.

Gorilla Capital – The most active early-stage fund in Nordics. €50k – 200k.

Grid.vc – An early-stage energy sector fund started by three regional electricity utility companies. €50k – 400k.

Helen Ventures – Investment unit of Helen, the Helsinki City electricity company. €300k – 3M.

Icebreaker – Software-only fund with multiple smart & clean startups in their portfolio. €150k – 800k.

Innovestor – Syndicate management, invested into multiple smart & clean companies. €250k – 1.5M.

Inventure – Generalist fund with many investments in smart & clean space. €250k – 2M.

Kiilto Ventures – Family office of Kiilto Group, family company producing professional chemicals for cleaning, adhesives etc. €50k – 1M.

Lifeline Ventures – One of the most successful Finnish funds. Early-stage investments in a broad range, including deep tech and smart & clean companies. €200k – 2M.

Nordic FoodTech VC – Food-related technology investments. €200k – 1M.

Nordic Ninja – A large fund with multiple Japanese corporations as investors, with investments in mobility etc. €500k – 10M.

Redstone – Multiple funds, some with smart & clean focus, managed for 50 CVC partners. €25k – 10M.

Spintop Ventures – A Finnish-Swedish fund with multiple smart & clean investments, especially platforms and digital solutions. €500k – 1.5M.

Suomen vaikuttavuussijoitus (Fiil Good) – Angel group doing impact investments. €5k – 200k.

Valkea Growth Club – An investment unit and accelerator of Fortum, the largest Finnish energy corporation. €100k – 2M.

Valo Ventures – A late-stage fund by Fortum, managed in Palo Alto, California. $2-15M.

Voima Ventures – Research-based deep tech fund. €200k – 4M.

Others

Potentially relevant investors I haven’t spoken with yet:

Maki VC – Website at https://maki.vc/.

Metsä Spring – Coming up, more information on their website.

Smart & clean networks in Finland

Smart & clean, short for “smart cities and cleantech”, refers to sectors wherein it’s possible to significantly reduce resource use or emissions.

Here’s a list of relevant networks in Finland. Most of them focus on helping the right people meet, for example by matchmaking startups, corporations, investors and mentors. I will be updating this page as the ecosystem develops so it’s worth checking back monthly.

Built environment

Smart homes, real estate, construction, infrastructure etc.

PropTech Finland – Part of the international PropTech organization network

KIRAHub – Has organized more than 150 pilot projects between startups and corporations.

Client: Combient Foundry organizes piloting calls by 30 corporations, several of which are looking for smart solutions related to buildings and construction. They organize 2-3 calls for solutions per year.

Mobility

ITS Finland – Part of the international Intelligent Transportation Systems network

Jätkäsaari (Helsinki) Mobility Lab – Testbed that organizes pilot projects for startups as well as networking and informational events

Energy

Smart Otaniemi – Focuses on helping companies form consortiums to apply for national/EU funding for pilot projects

Valkea Growth Club by Fortum – Incubator and VC

Investors

Helen Ventures – Helen is short for Helsinki Energy, a large utility company

Grid.vc – Founded by three utility companies and with other industry corporations as partners

Also note the Valkea Growth Club by Fortum above. Fortum is the largest utility company in Finland, with many international branches.

Food

Food & Beyond by EIT & VTT

Corporation: Fazer (Lab) – International food industry giant, looking to pilot new solutions as a client and potential investor

Investor: Nordic FoodTech VC

Circular Economy

CircVol by 6Aika – Circular economy of volumes, such as land mass and liquids

Event: Digitally Circular – Bi-monthly, always with a different theme like energy, food, corporate-startup partnerships etc. Excellent speakers from the industry every time. This is where I’ve met many good contacts in the industry.

General

Forum Virium – Organizes dozens of pilot projects every year. A part of the City of Helsinki.

Testbed Helsinki – List of piloting opportunities in Helsinki. Maintained by the City.

6Aika – Consortium of the six biggest cities in Finland: Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Turku and Oulu. They develop the innovation ecosystem jointly so that a startup solving a challenge in one city can start offering the same solution in other cities with less hassle. Many things they do become de facto standards in Finland. They organize many piloting and ecosystem support projects, such as CircVol, so that each city has a representative facilitating the activity there. They have plenty of ongoing and upcoming projects that are worth staying informed about.

Salo IoT Campus

Smart & Clean Foundation – Brings together public sector, corporations and others to help them identify and implement sustainability-improving solutions. The project is active until 6/2021.

CLIC Innovation – Organizes innovation cluster development and ecosystem support activity on energy, circular economy and bioeconomy.

Demos Helsinki – In addition to their think tank side, they manage ecosystem development projects like Peloton Club and the international SmartUp Accelerator.

Synbio – Synthetic biology startup and innovation network.

Photonics Finland – Photonics (optics) related startup and innovation network.

Baltic Blue Biotechnology Alliance+ (Submariner) – Network to help biotech startups related to the Baltic Sea to find mentors, partners and clients.

Lithuanian startup ecosystem

After spending a part of my summer holidays exploring the Lithuanian startup ecosystem I feel like I’ve met most of the key players. Here’s a summary to help you find your next partners.

Funding and acceleration

VCs

Most of these are actively investing into early-stage companies, aiming at hald a dozen to a dozen new investments per year. Ticket sizes are typically between €50-500k.

Contrarian Ventures – Specializes in energy-related use cases

Iron Wolf Capital – Ticket size up to €1.6M

LitCapital – Later stage, €2-5M tickets into companies with proven traction. Approx. two deals per year

Open Circle Capital – Portfolio is almost full, not actively seeking new investments. Will seek co-investors for later rounds from Q4/2020 onwards.

Practica Capital

Accelerators

Baltic Sandbox – Multiple batches per year, each with a different focus

Katalista Ventures – Focuses on sustainability (triple top line), invests into best participating startups

Startup Wise Guys – Multiple batches per year, operates across Baltics, invests into best participating startups

Other

70 Ventures – They help B2B companies grow their sales by hiring, training and funding a sales team in Lithuania. Initial tickets €50k (sales team for half a year – year), followed with €200k+ into companies that perform. They do approx. 20 investments per year and are seeking more quality deal flow from e.g. Finland.

Coinvest Capital – A co-investment fund, investing alongside three or more angels or VCs who are not backed by public money. Participating up to 70% of the round. They cap their returns at 6% annually, with the excess given to the others in the syndicate. The investments have to benefit Lithuania (e.g. company has to have/open an office with employees there).

LitBAN – Lithuanian Business Angels’ Network, organizing pitch events for half a dozen startups a month. Compared to those in other Baltic/Nordic countries, Lithuanian startups tend to have lower valuations, benefit from excellent governmental financial leverage (e.g. Koinvest) and public grants, and a large, qualified talent pool in e.g. business and IT sectors with a lower salary level. The angel investment scene is still young and can offer excellent opportunities for international angel investors, especially experienced lead angels.

Hubs in Vilnius

Rockit – In the west side of old town, at the end of Gedimino street. At the entrance is a cafe that’s open for everyone to visit and enjoy the startup atmosphere. Private rooms of members are behind a gate at the back of the cafe. Has a slight emphasis on fintech and sustainability.

Talent Garden Vilnius – In the center of old town. Modern vibe. Need keycard to enter. Private offices are fully booked, but got dedicated or open seats available. Good premises for hosting events for up to 200 people, with top-line technology included. Interested in event partnerships for relevant audiences.

Vilnius Tech Park – 10 min drive from Vilnius center. The area used to be the gardens of a palace, and is great for walking and thinking. There are multiple cafes and restaurants in the area. Tech Park is interested in partnerships in relevant areas such as education, logistics, security, media, fintech, and corporate cooperation. They’re opening a couple of new hubs and rebranding some, and I’ll update this once that has happened

Organizations

Bank of Lithuania – They play an active part in the booming fintech startup sector. Lithuania has the highest number of new banking licenses granted in EU (was second only to UK pre-brexit). They’re shaping their approach to be very startup-friendly and support the ecosystem’s development. Many international startups have found it practical to apply for PSD2 and other banking licenses in Lithuania instead of their home countries.

Changemakers’ON – An acceleration network for social impact startups, organizing bootcamps, events, mentoring and other programs especially in Kaunas and elsewhere outside Vilnius.

Civitta – A consultancy company that plays a big part in organizing a lot of the innovation and startup ecosystem activity in Vilnius. They compete for and organize projects with public funding, including but not limited to hackathons. They also consult many public officials on the topics.

Go Vilnius – The other of the only two organizations on this page I haven’t met yet. I’ll update this after I connect with them.

GovTech Lab – Drives the innovativeness and startup cooperation of Lithuanian public sector in general. Organizing multiple pilot calls this and next year, first of which will be announced soon.

Ignitis – Energy sector innovation organization. The other of the only two organizations on this page I haven’t met yet. I’ll update this after I connect with them.

Invest Lithuania – Helps corporations expand into Lithuania.

Mobility Innovation Center – Drives the innovativeness and startup cooperation of Lithuanian post, railways, and road maintenance organizations. Contact them if you have an innovation you’d like to sell to these organizations. They’re also organizing multiple pilot calls together with GovTech Lab, which will be announced soon.

Startup Lithuania – Organizes the startup visa, provides ecosystem information, has created an extensive online course on how to make a successful startup, and supports the startup ecosystem in multiple other ways. They work together with embassies’ commercial attachés to support startups interested in moving to Lithuania or opening a sales/R&D/other office there.