Finnish VC agency Lifeline Ventures closes $163M fund for early-stage startups

Enterprise capital (VC) agency Lifeline Ventures right this moment introduced a contemporary €150 million ($163 million) fund aimed toward early-stage startups throughout Finland.

Based in 2009, Helsinki-based Lifeline Ventures has invested in round 115 corporations thus far, with greater than a dozen exits to its identify together with activity-tracking app Strikes, which Fb acquired again in 2014; meals supply firm Wolt, which DoorDash snapped up in a $8.1 billion all-stock deal two years in the past; and gaming big Supercell, which Tencent doled out $8.6 billion for a majority stake in 2016. Lifeline Ventures has additionally backed unicorns equivalent to open supply enterprise infrastructure firm Aiven, which hit a valuation of $3 billion final yr.

Lifeline Ventures usually invests on the “angel” and seed-stage, with some follow-on investments within the Sequence A realm. Whereas “angel” normally refers to rich people investing with their very own money, on this occasion the corporate signifies that it typically backs corporations at a super-early stage, earlier than they’ve something significant to indicate from a product perspective. Such investments have included blended actuality headset maker Varjo and good ring maker Oura, which not too long ago claimed a valuation of $2.55 billion.

“We invested in Oura ‘pre-PowerPoint’ — which means we’ve been there earlier than an precise product was ever made,” Lifeline Ventures founding associate Timo Ahopelto instructed TechCrunch.

With its new fund, the corporate says it can look to make investments starting from wherever between €150,000 and €2 million. And while the overwhelming majority of its investments (95%, TechCrunch is knowledgeable) are aimed toward home Finnish startups, it has been identified to take stakes in corporations hailing from elsewhere, together with Germany, France, the U.Okay., and U.S. when invited to take action. 

Lifeline Ventures’ founding companions Petteri Koponen and Timo Ahopelto Picture Credit: Lifeline Ventures

Sowing seeds

Whereas VC funding has usually declined throughout all levels, information suggests that earlier-stage funding has been a bit of extra resilient. Definitely, we’ve seen a spate of contemporary early-stage funds rising in Europe of late prior to now few months alone. For instance, London’s Playfair Capital closed a $70 million pre-seed fund, whereas France’s Emblem and Ovni Capital every introduced new €50 million ($54 million) funds. Elsewhere, the U.Okay’s Amadeus Capital Companions partnered with Austria’s Apex Ventures for a €80 million ($87 million) fund focused at early-stage deep tech startups.

“The early stage is essentially the most recession-proof enterprise, each for founders and buyers, as you’re more likely to all the time develop sooner than markets can go down,” Ahopelto mentioned.

Lifeline Ventures’ newest fund represents its fifth thus far, with its inaugural €29 million fund closing in 2012, adopted by fund two in 2014 which amounted to €17 million; a €57 million fund three in 2016; and a €130 million fund three years later. Whereas quite a bit has occurred on the earth since 2019, Ahopelto says that it’s just about enterprise as ordinary from an funding perspective.

“Nothing has actually modified for us by way of funding technique — we’re nonetheless the primary buyers in lots of circumstances,” he mentioned. “We’re nonetheless seeing plenty of startups being based, in Finland particularly. The ecosystem in Finland is in its early days and can develop two-to-three instances by way of high quality and measurement throughout the subsequent 5 to 10 years. There’s room for that type of development in Finland.”

Lifeline Ventures’ most up-to-date funding was in Origin by Ocean, an Espoo-based startup working to rid the oceans of dangerous algae by reworking it into useful items spanning meals, cosmetics, textiles, and extra. And that is one space particularly that Ahopelto reckons will proceed to thrive within the years forward.

“We really feel that local weather startups will elevate their heads much more as time passes,” he mentioned. “Equally, we are going to see extra local weather funds investing within the sphere.”

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