New VC fund eyes consumer and SME-focused start-ups

With a team of experienced ex-founders and business angels, Trind VC is looking to invest into 30–40 start-ups, putting more emphasis on cross-border investments in the Northern European start-up ecosystem.

Trind VC, a seed-stage venture fund based in the Estonian capital Tallinn with team members in Helsinki and Munich, has announced the closing of a 55 million euros fund that it intends to invest into 30–40 start-ups with proven traction. 

The fund is backed by institutional investors such as European Investment Fund, Finnish Industry Investment (Suomen Teollisuussijoitus), LHV Pension Funds, and Swedbank Investment Funds.

“We were targeting to raise 50 million euros, but as we already have more commitments, we will go slightly above that in the second closing. Most of our limited partners from Fund I joined Fund II, a sign of trust we truly appreciate. We are honored to have top tier institutions from the region investing in the fund, alongside our expanding angel investor community,” says Reima Linnanvirta, partner at Trind VC.

“Estonia and Finland form one of the strongest start-up ecosystems in Europe, and the region has been producing excellent start-ups. While the funding environment has been getting tougher, we want to offer continuity in the availability of funding by investing through the cycle as we believe that great founders should get funded in all market conditions.”

Trind Ventures was founded in 2018 in Tallinn by Joel Aasmäe, Kimmo Irpola, Taavi Lepmets, and Ivar Siimar who have been working together since 1999 while investing as business angels and as co-founders of LHV bank and New Economy Ventures, the first VC fund in the Baltics.

It’s first fund invested into companies such as Fractory, Neural DSP, Jobilla and Ready Player Me, which earlier this month raised 56 million US dollars in a Series B funding round.

Unblocking bottlenecks

Trind VC’s strategy is to invest in companies with B2C and C2C business models, alongside consumerised B2B software. The CCC strategy, meaning start-ups with consumer or community components, have a lot of small transactions, enabling them to gather much more data than many B2B companies with only a few bigger clients. This gives an advantage by being truly data-driven and offers more accurate insights into customer behaviour.

Trind says it uses its experience from other start-ups on how to utilise this data to develop products, build go-to-market strategy, marketing, and monetisation models to achieve high scalability and be ready for an A-round. A strong team presence both in Finland and Estonia meanwhile gives Trind a vantage point to invest in a region that has been previously known best for its B2B start-up scene.

“Our investment thesis is actually quite simple. We are looking for start-ups with clear traction from a big enough market – general hype or buzzwords won’t get us excited,” says Joel Aasmäe, managing partner at Trind VC.

“We are using the data for both when making our investment decisions, but more importantly in developing the companies. There’s a clear bottleneck for funding for consumer start-ups in the area compared to B2B equivalents.” 

Cross-border investments

Trind VC can act as a lead investor, but especially with European cross-border investments, it’s happy to co-invest, with a local VC leading the round. It will also continue its strategy of co-investing with prominent angel syndicates in order to bring more expertise to the start-up via board positions and advisory work, compared to just its own resources.

The new fund will make initial investments sized up to one million euros, with a minimum ticket size of 100,000 euros. Follow-up rounds will be joined with tickets up to five million euros.

For potential portfolio companies, Trind VC conducts ESG due diligence before investing and continues to monitor and require periodic reporting to make sure that they are ESG compliant. Trind VC is aiming to invest part of its newest fund into start-ups that have a positive impact on the environment.

Unlike many news and information platforms, Emerging Europe is free to read, and always will be. There is no paywall here. We are independent, not affiliated with nor representing any political party or business organisation. We want the very best for emerging Europe, nothing more, nothing less. Your support will help us continue to spread the word about this amazing region.

You can contribute here. Thank you.

emerging europe support independent journalism