Made in emerging Europe: eAgronom, Specialist VC

Emerging Europe’s start-up scene is thriving: new money and new ideas are coming onto the market all the time. To keep you up to date with the latest investments, innovations, movers and shakers, each Monday Emerging Europe brings you a round-up of the region’s start-ups which recently closed financing rounds, sealed partnerships, or dropped new innovations.

eAgronom: AgTech start-up from Estonia raises 7.4 million US dollars

eAgronom, an Estonian start-up that provides farm management software (FMS) and AI-backed consulting services for farmers, has raised 7.4 million US dollars of funding in a Series A equity round led by Yolo Investments and ZGI Capital, with participation from Trind VC, Iron Wolf Capital and United Angels VC.

eAgronom is also the recipient of a 600,000 US dollars EU grant. The new funding brings the total raised by the start-up so far to 12 million US dollars.

Founded in Estonia in 2016, eAgronom is the biggest AgTech company in Baltics and Poland. The company continues providing FMS in the region but in 2021 decided to set a global focus on carbon sequestration.

eAgronom already helps over 1,500 agri businesses that cover over a million hectares of arable land across Europe to achieve higher yields and income with technology and consultancy services.

With this latest funding, the start-up aims to pivot the majority of its business to its farming-based carbon credits platform, while continuing to expand to new markets (including outside of the EU), improve its carbon tracking technologies, and launch the new Solid World DAO. The idea behind it is to provide liquidity and transparency for high-quality carbon projects. Powered by blockchain and the Web3 community, it will help farmers and other carbon projects finance CO2 sequestration.

Robin Saluoks, co-founder and CEO of eAgronom, says: “Through our experience helping farmers with technology, we are uniquely positioned to capture the global agri-carbon opportunity. To fight climate change, we have to provide transparent tracking and access to capital to all nature-based companies. We believe there is an outcome that can provide a win to farmers, consumers, the environment, and businesses looking to enhance their green credentials while incorporating the most rigorous standards to measure and certify carbon sequestration. We aim to become the leading developer of high-quality carbon credits.”

Specialist VC: a 50 million euros dual strategy fund to back start-ups in the Baltics and beyond

Specialist VC – formerly United Angels VC – has announced the first close of a new 50 million euros fund at 42 million euros. While the main focus of Specialist VC Fund II is on pre-seed and seed stage start-ups, the fund is the first of its kind in the Baltic region to implement a dual strategy of integrating secondary transactions into a traditional venture capital fund.

Specialist VC, founded and managed by Riivo Anton and Gerri Kodres, is one of the top tech investors in Estonia. Specialist VC is often the first institutional investor to its portfolio companies, investing alongside top local angel investors and unicorn founders. The combined portfolio of its founders and the previous fund (United Angels Fund I, launched in 2018) includes over 45 investments in unicorns, such as Bolt and Veriff, and other notable start-ups, such as Starship, COMODULE, Monese, and NFTPort.

“We are continuing our mission to help the founders of this region build impactful global companies. The region has been a remarkably successful breeding ground for startups, with Estonian startups alone raising close to a billion euros of funding in 2021. We see Latvia and Lithuania following the same path,” says Specialist VC Founding Partner Riivo Anton.

The new fund will invest in over 40 start-ups from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland, including founders from these countries who are building their start-up elsewhere in the world, and founders from Ukraine and Belarus who are building their businesses in the European Union. The fund will focus on, but is not limited to, investing in tech start-ups raising pre-seed and seed rounds in B2B, SaaS, fintech, platforms, software-enabled hardware, Web3, and deep tech verticals. A third of the fund volume is reserved for opportunity investing in secondary transactions into companies beyond Series A.

Gerri Kodres, founding partner of Specialist VC, adds: “Our more than 10 years of investment experience and extensive network in the region gives us access to a wealth of proprietary deal flow. We can see an increasing inbound demand for secondary transactions by founders and investors, with more and more companies maturing into Series A+ and nearly 80 per cent of capital in the Baltics is raised in post-A rounds. Secondary transactions benefit the ecosystem as they provide liquidity for founders and early investors and employees. Besides, the proceeds from such transactions are often reinvested in new early-phase start-ups.”

The final close of Fund II is scheduled for the end of May 2022. The new fund is already backed by founders and early employees of Bolt, Vinted, Veriff, Wise, Pipedrive, Slack and F-Secure, and institutions, such as LHV Pension Funds and Avaron Asset Management.

The fund is anchored by the European Investment Fund through the Pan-European Guarantee Fund (EGF) and the Baltic Innovation Fund 2 (BIF2).

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