Wave Ventures, a Finnish VC run by students, marked the formal launch of its second €2 million fund today, with capital from high-profile Finnish unicorn founders.
Unicorn founders of Supercell (Ilkka Paananen), Smartly (Kristo Ovaska) and Wolt (Miki Kuusi) are among the investors for this second vintage which follows the first Wave Ventures fund, which raised €1.2 million as of September 2017.
Wave Ventures is spearheaded by students from Finland's Aalto University and University of Helsinki.
Founded in 2016, Wave Ventures tends to back pre-seed investments for companies which originated from Nordic academic institutions.
With the second fund, Wave Ventures is looking to address Generation Z founders from around the Nordics, often determined to follow regional success stories, like Finnish refurbished iPhone startup Swappie, or on-demand food delivery platform Wolt, but who need the resources to get started.
Of particular interest are what Wave Ventures sees as the region's "super founders" who've demonstrated enough talent to pull in investment earlier than most startups.
Erik Kymäläinen, the newly-appointed CEO of Wave Ventures, said "We want to make the leap easier for promising aspiring founders by investing in them earlier than any European VC has done before.
“Currently, there are some so-called “super founders” who have proved themselves and can attract the attention of VCs and angel investors very early.
"The challenge is that there is no systematic approach to how to help, validate – and invest in people at the earliest stage.”
Wave's latest fund will back 20 to 25 Gen Z founders, investing at the earliest possible stage, before the concept has been validated or in some cases pre-concept.
Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen added that entrepreneurship-minded communities on academic campuses were a "significant factor" driving Finnish startup innovation.
"Wave Ventures is in a great position to back aspiring entrepreneurs within the student community, who could otherwise be left unnoticed by later-stage investors,” Paananen added.