‘We’ve already seen the real impact a well-funded start-up scene can have on economies in small countries like Estonia — now it is time to scale this GDP level impact across the whole of Europe.’
Four major players on the European tech funding scene have launched Plural, a new, 250 million euros early stage venture investment platform ready to back the next generation of founders with global ambitions.
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Set up by Estonians Sten Tamkivi and Taavet Hinrikus alongside Ian Hogarth and Khaled Heloui – as well other recognised founders who will announce themselves soon – Plural is a scalable investment platform made up exclusively former founders and operators with decades of company building experience.
“We’re the investors we would have liked to have when we were building our own companies,” says Hinrikus, Skype’s first employee and a co-founder of Wise, which floated on the London Stock Exchange last year at a valuation of nine billion UK pounds.
“Founding a company is a craft and the best way to learn that craft is to work alongside those who have done it before.”
Between them Tamkivi, Hinrikus, Hogarth and Heloui have founded four start-ups – Wise, Songkick, Teleport and Certific – and played a significant role in building three companies, including Skype, Bigpoint and Topia.
All four operators-turned-investors have also been angel investing for years, with significant success.
Companies in their portfolio include Deliveroo, Hopin, Pipedrive, Chorus, Uber, Zego and Bolt.
As Plural, they have already invested in 14 companies including Feather, NFTport (an NFT infrastructure company which earlier this month closed its Series A funding at 24.9 million euros), energy storage company Field, metaverse company Ready Player Me, and student banking challenger MOS.
Scaling the Estonian model across Europe
Plural’s founders feel that across Europe the vast majority of investors lack experience of building tech businesses.
In Europe just eight per cent of investors are former operators, in contrast to more than half of tech investors in the US. Plural’s founders believe that the scar tissue from building tech companies is invaluable in helping the next generation of founders to build companies with global potential.
The new fund’s intention is to be a more hands-on investor, with a focus on leading early stage rounds between one million and ten million euros.
“We are huge optimists for the potential of technology coming from Europe which can benefit the whole world, as well as improve the lives of people across the continent,” says Tamkivi, co-founder of Teleport.
“We’ve already seen the real impact a well-funded start-up scene can have on economies in small countries like Estonia — now it is time to scale this GDP level impact across the whole of Europe.”
Estonia currently has 10 unicorns — one for every 130,000 people in the country.
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