byFounders, an early-stage VC firm based in Copenhagen and San Francisco and backed by over 50 startup founders, has closed its first fund at €100 million. The firm plans to make about 30 investments — primarily in seed-stage and Series A startups — in the Baltics and Nordics over the next three years.
Among byFounders’ backers are the founders of the likes of Skype, Zendesk, Kahoot, Unity, Tradeshift, Sitecore, and Vivino. Its largest LP is the Danish Growth Fund, while the rest of institutional investors include Isomer Capital, Draper Esprit, Digital Garage, and Danske Bank.
“Most of the early-stage companies need much more than just a cheque,” said Tommy Andersen, managing partner at byFounders. “Being at pre-seed and seed level is like guerilla warfare every day. You kind of fight for your life when you show up at work in the morning and during the day — you don’t really have a product, you may not know exactly what your market is and who your potential customers are.
“Most of these companies need the guidance of someone who’s done it before. And that’s what the byFounders’ collective is about. These people who’ve grown companies from five to a hundred, or even a thousand people can be a resource pool that we can tap into; they can assist the portfolio companies with much more than just money.”
The VC firm has established offices in Copenhagen and San Francisco and promises to support its portfolio companies in scaling both in Europe and the US.
“It’s natural for every tech ecosystem to compare itself to Silicon Valley but the Nordics have established itself as a true birthplace for unicorns and high-growth companies with numerous billion-dollar exits,” Andersen said. “The region can and will compete with any other place in the world when it comes to fostering and growing companies, and I believe the opportunity for large exits will only increase over time.”
byFounders has already invested in 11 startups: Corti, Peergrade, Simple Feast, Cobalt, Spiio, SafetyWing, Drugstars, Omnio, Qurasense, Tame, and Uizard.
In the photo, left to right: Tommy Andersen and Eric Lagier, the co-founders of byFounders