Helsinki-based Icebreaker, a venture capital firm and community for pre-founders & founders, has closed its second fund at €100M. In addition to that, it has also raised a separate €20M Opportunity Fund that will be used to continue investing in their Fund 1 existing portfolio companies.
Growth is everyone’s business
Riku Seppälä, co-founder and partner, Icebreaker, says, “We keep meeting strong, amazing teams with deep insights into the problems they are solving, and a vision of the future they want to be part of building. Partnering with them very early and working hard to build a solid ground for fast growth together has shown strong results.”
He further adds, “With the new €100M fund, we continue with the same focus; no stage is too early for us to invest, and we want to support founders from the day they start thinking about founding a company. Our community supports founders even before they know what they want to build or have a team…”
This marks the final closing of the Icebreaker Fund II, almost a year since first close (at €50M).
Icebreaker – a place for people to start, build, and join strong tech companies
Icebreaker has created what it calls “portfolio development practice”. It is a system developed for Founder development, hiring, growth program, and how they support in planning and strategy. The firm collaborates internally, sharing knowledge and learning from mistakes and successes.
The fund invests €150K – €800K in Nordic and Baltic companies at idea, angel, and seed stages.
In addition to the investment, Icebreaker also has a core operational growth team that aims to connect with external parties for specific topics in hiring, branding, law, etc.
Seppälä says, “The most important thing for us is how well we can support early teams. So far, 64 per cent of our angel stage teams and 65 per cent of pre-seed stage teams have succeeded in raising a successful “3×3” follow-on funding round within 24 months.”
The firm focuses on strong domain-expert founding teams with complementary skills (or helping build those), strong technology, and global markets. “The paths are quite different, but strong teams are able to create the future and capitalise on changes in the market,” adds Seppala.
Icebreaker’s First fund developments
According to Icebreaker, its €6M invested from the first fund over 2017-2019 has so far turned €63M in follow-on funding led by later-stage investors – this amount is growing on a monthly and sometimes even weekly basis.
For instance, its portfolio companies, including Flowhaven, have raised $16M from Sapphire Sport and GFC; Sellforte raised $4.8M from Sonae IM and Bonnier Ventures; and, Osgenic raised €5M with Springvest.
What are the key learnings so far for founders?
After four years of supporting teams from the get-go, the Icebreaker.vc team has a few key learnings to share. These include:
1) Team development
Most important is the development of the founding teams and from there the whole startup’s team. One specific aspect the Icebreaker team is working on is supporting teams going through the “founder’s dilemma”. It is identified by the founder of Flowhaven, Kalle Törmä, “When a company and its team grows, you need to continuously reassess how you are spending your time and avoid becoming a bottleneck.”
Learning from your customers and growing your team is what matters. Growth at all costs usually ends up costing businesses because they lose sight as they fail to see who their actual customers are and what is important for them.
Taking time to connect with people and focusing on building a great team is never time wasted. You need to build as well and have the necessary skills for that on your team.
“We’re committed to providing great returns for them and supporting in building strong and sustainable tech companies from day 0,” concludes Seppälä.