The largest seed fund in the Baltic states: leading investments in the “next startup nations”
At €49M in commitments after the final closing, Change Ventures Fund II is the largest seed venture capital fund ever raised in the Baltic States, a region that has clearly been proven an outlier in Europe. Estonia produces more startups per capita than even Israel. Taken together, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia generate as many startups as mature ecosystems such as the UK. Change Ventures latest report on venture funding in the region shows a record €1.6B in capital invested in Baltic startups in 2021 as well as a maturing of the ecosystem, with over 30 Series A and growth rounds secured last year. This region can clearly be labelled the “next startup nations”, emulating Israel’s long-standing success in growing born-global technology startups. More data about the Baltic startup funding environment can be found in Change Ventures latest report, released today.
Backed by top investors, startup founders and angels
Change Ventures is proud of our limited partner investors. Our anchor investor is the European Investment Fund, Europe’s largest LP, with part of the commitment sourced from Baltic Innovation Fund I, a pool of capital from the three Baltic governments that we not only intend to return with a handsome multiple but are putting to work backing the growth of technology companies and the creation of jobs in the region. Other institutional backers include the EBRD, CBL Asset Management pension fund from Latvia and a superb list of fund-of-funds that have selected Change Ventures as their seed fund to back in the Baltics: Aldea Ventures, Molten Ventures, Multiple Capital and EVLI Growth Partners.
Among our other LPs are experienced founders and angel investors from the region including Mantas Mikuckas (COO, Vinted), James Berdigans (CEO, Printify), Andrius Šlimas (CEO of Oberlo, acquired by Shopify), Tadas Langaitis (co-founder, KiloHealth), Martin Sokk (CEO, Lightyear), Taavi Tamkivi (CEO, Salv), Audrius Zujus (CTO, Argyle), Ģirts Graudiņš (Director Engineering, Twilio), Moaffak Ahmed (angel investor and founder, Cooler Future), Rita Sakus (angel investor) and Aļoša Jenko (CEO, Httpool) among others. Experienced VC fund managers backing us include Silicon Valley legend Tim Draper, Storm Ventures GPs Tae Hea Nahm and Ryan Floyd, Spectrum Equity’s Victor Parker and Guzel Gumerova, former GP of Speedinvest’s FinTech fund. We also kicked off a partnership with Capitalia who set up a feeder fund that enabled a broader range of smaller private investors to participate in the investment opportunity.
A growing team for a growing market
Along with the larger fund size, the Change Ventures team has grown. Kärt Siilats has joined Andris, Rait and Yrjö as a partner, leveraging her 7+ year experience as a partner at Mojo.capital, a fund that backed unicorn success stories such as Tink, iZettle, Wise and Auto1. In fact, both Kärt and the Change Ventures team are separately investors in Veriff, Estonia’s latest unicorn. Prior to Mojo, Kärt spent 15 years in financial services spanning the European Investment Fund, Citi and Barclays. She is a graduate of INSEAD and Harvard University and an accomplished athlete.
Kärt Rääbis also joins as Associate & Community Manager, who worked as first Lift99’s community manager in Tallinn and, prior to joining Change Ventures, managed the BuildIT Green pilot accelerator and fund for ClimateTech hardware startups. She will manage community relations and support the investment team with pre and post-investment research. Gabrielė Poteliūnaitė, lead for our Lithuanian investments, has been promoted to Senior Associate. Change Ventures is excited to be the first venture fund in the region to appoint a female partner and to have the largest presence of women on the investment team.
A diverse portfolio that reflects the ambition of the region’s founders
Change Ventures investments reflect the nature of the ecosystem in the region: born-global startups that tackle big export markets around the world and that can scale to outsize success stories. Our portfolio spans the major sectors in the region: FinTech/RegTech (e.g. Veriff, Planet42, INZMO, Nordigen), E-commerce and retail (Printify, Eurora, Outvio, Algori), B2B (Interactio, MeetFrank), Consumer and EdTech (Humansapp, Dogo, 99math, Memby) and a range of DeepTech/AI startups (Fyma, Timbeter, Aerones, Gelatex, Giraffe360, Asya). Our portfolio companies are growing in large markets across the globe, not just USA and Europe, but also in Latin America and Africa.
Change Ventures demonstrates that our portfolio, like the region in general, is more advanced regarding gender diversity than Europe overall. Our Fund II portfolio has 43% mixed gender teams already and we expect this to reach 50% shortly. In comparison, the Europe-wide metric was only 9%, according to Dealroom.co data from the Atomico State of European Tech report.
Validated by world-class investors
Lastly, the potential of the startups we have backed is validated by the world-class investors that have joined the journey with us to grow these companies to unicorns and beyond: IVP, Accel, Index Ventures, Tiger Global, Founders Fund, Storm Ventures, Eight Roads, Seedcamp, Hoxton Ventures, Notion Capital and many more.
The Change Ventures team wishes to thank the investors who have trusted us to deploy their capital wisely, our community of co-investors and collaborators who support us, and, most importantly, the gritty founders we have backed who prove to us every day that doing the seemingly impossible is actually possible.
The Change Ventures team