Superhero Capital, a Helsinki, Finland-based venture capital firm today announced the first close of its $39.1 million (€30M) second fund at €30M to invest in early-stage startups in Finland and the Baltics. The fund, which targets startups that create competitive advantages by refining data into insight, aims to invest in 25 startups over the next 4 years. The fund will remain open for new investors until the end of 2020.
Founded in 2015 by Jakob Storå, Juha Ruohonen, Jussi Harvela, and Moaffak Ahmed, Superhero Capital is an early-stage VC investing mainly in B2B software startups. To date, the firm has made investments in at least 31 promising startups. Superhero Capital is to founders what Alfred is to Batman – the help from behind the scenes. The fund has four full-time ‘Alfreds’ helping in building scalable tech, metrics and insight, business model, and storytelling. The team has collectively founded, worked at, and invested in over 60 startups in various fields including eCommerce, fintech, healthtech, and industrial tech.
The Second Fund targets startups that create competitive advantages by refining data into insight. Superhero refers to startups that fit the bill as being ‘insight-driven’. The fund is backed by institutional investors such as Finnish Industry Investment (Suomen Teollisuussijoitus) and Kasvurahastojen Rahasto III (Fund-of-funds KRR III). The fund’s investors also include founders of companies such as Marketing Clinic, Fellow Finance, and Nitor.
“There has been a lot of talk about data being the new oil. But how much is data really worth before it is refined into actionable insight? We look for startups that focus on that next step from data to insight,” says Jakob Storå, Partner at Superhero Capital. “We have been investing in insight-driven startups such as Leadfeeder and Zadaa since the launch of our first fund in 2015. There are insight-driven startups in many different industries, but they have a common approach to creating value.”
“You might be a startup that processes your customers’ data to create value for them or you might have your own dataset that you leverage to create valuable insight. Some startups have it in their DNA and company culture to systematically track their own activities as a method for growth. These are the types of startups we are excited about,” says Juha Ruohonen, Partner at Superhero Capital.
The fund’s investment theme stems from the Superhero’s team members’ background and passion for data and insights. They have previously worked in roles across the whole data-to-insight chain – from collecting and analyzing data to creating actionable insights – both as entrepreneurs and elsewhere.
“I spent 11 years as co-founder and CTO of Eniram, a software startup that provided fuel-saving solutions for the shipping industry,” says Jussi Pyörre, Partner at Superhero Capital. “In 2016, Eniram was acquired for €43M by a stock-exchange listed company because we could refine data into insight that translated into fuel savings and less pollution.”
While their main focus remains on Finland, Superhero will increasingly look for startups in the Baltics. As part of this strategy, Estonia-based serial entrepreneur and angel investor Ivo Remmelg and Latvia-based serial entrepreneur Ernests Stals have joined Superhero Capital as Venture Partners.
“The number of startups in the Baltic countries increased by 44% from 2018 to 2019. I think a change like that in one year says something about the current Baltic opportunity,” says Ivo Remmelg, who also is the acting President of EstBAN, the Estonian Business Angels Network.
The new fund will make initial investments sized up to €1M, with typical investments being around €0.4M. Its first investments include Lithuanian urban delivery platform Ziticity, which has already expanded to 11 cities across three countries. Superhero also led a round with a group of investors, including Japan’s top football player Keisuke Honda, in the seed investment of Attractive.ai, a user experience startup founded by Finnish serial entrepreneur Kristoffer Lawson.
“We have invested in 4 startups during COVID-19, are actively looking for more, and encourage founders to reach out to us. Don’t hesitate, it is never too early to have a chat,” says Kasper Suomalainen, Investment Manager at Superhero Capital.
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