In 2017 Change Ventures started investing in the Baltic states, establishing the first truly pan-Baltic seed/pre-seed fund. Since then we have backed over 33 startups, which keeps demonstrating an ability to generate outsize startup success stories relative to population and size of the regional economy. The “next startup nations” is a clear analogy to the world’s pre-eminent startup economy success to date — Israel — as we believe that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania can repeat that level of success in this region over the next 10–20 years. Our third fund continues our focus on founders from the Baltic states or Baltic diaspora.
With our €20M target size Fund III, we are doubling down on pre-seed investing. Almost half of our total initial investments to date have been at the pre-seed stage. It is where we are most excited to join a startup’s journey, the stage when almost everything depends on the founding team’s ability to navigate the circuitous path to achieve product-market fit and then to scale a business. We looked at our anti-portfolio of investment misses and it is clear that in those cases we over-analyzed product and market and undervalued a great team.
Therefore, our Fund III strategy is to focus on founder-driven pre-seed investing based on our deep network in the region. We will continue to back a diversified portfolio of startups by sector, as before, investing in software and hardware, e-commerce, AI, B2B software, SaaS and consumer businesses and many more. Our initial investments will be between €100-500k with about half the fund reserved for follow-on investments. While in the past Change Ventures was almost always the lead investor, we will now take a more flexible approach, often co-investing alongside pre-seed funds and angel investors, occasionally taking the lead role.
Andris and Rait are partners in Fund III. Yrjö will continue to work with us on Funds I and II. Our amazing Finance Manager, Aveli Nurk, who joined us two years ago and has become the backbone of our fund administration, compliance and finance efforts, is now Chief Financial Officer & Compliance Officer.
In February this year Zane Kampa, our Analyst, came on board, having worked in Silicon Valley for Plug & Play Tech Center before, visiting there on a Baltic-American Freedom Foundation scholarship. Based in Latvia, Zane focuses on Latvian and Lithuanian investments with Andris.
Our other new team member is Tim Vaino, co-founder of Fund Fellow Founders, an angel syndicate group based in Estonia, before which he was COO for the VNTRS investment platform. Tim will lead Estonian investment efforts along with Rait as Investment Manager.
Our first Fund III investment was a warehoused investment in Trace.Space, a Latvian team that spun off from Lokalise to re-invent product requirements document management software. We have three more investments in process and no shortage of exciting Baltic teams to talk to.
Baltic founders, and would-be founders, please come find us this week at Latitude59 or other events or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. No conversation is too early for us. We want to get to know the next Veriff, Printify, Giraffe360 and Aerones founders as early as possible!