byFounders Fund I

How we raised a EUR 100 million first-time fund to support the next generation of Nordic and Baltic founders
byFounders Fund I
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Ida Åsle
Former Director of Platform

In the fall of 2017, we announced that we were raising 100 million Euro to invest in early-stage tech startups from the Nordics and Baltics. Backed by an impressive Collective consisting of the founders behind successes like Skype, Kahoot, Zendesk, Unity, Tradeshift, Sitecore and Vivino, the ecosystems were excited.

Having been through a challenging, exciting, at times gruelling and at the end very successful fundraising period, we can now proudly announce that we have managed to reach our goal of raising a EUR100 million fund. For a first-time fund, this is exceptional.

See also TechCrunch from April 3rd: https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/02/byfounders/.

Access to a unique family of founders

Our portfolio companies are given unique access to deep industry and operational knowledge as well as an extensive network. When receiving an investment from byFounders, entrepreneurs are welcomed into a family of founders, and with it, easy access to competencies, advice and network crucial to the success of their companies.

"byFounders provides early-stage founders with unrivalled access to knowledge, expertise and insight from some of the most successful Nordic entrepreneurs. The support and operational guidance available from such a broad group is unique, and has the potential to play a major factor in the success of the next generation of startups from the region." - Morten Primdahl, Co-Founder of Zendesk

Whether it's scaling, introductions, referrals, recruiting, global expansion or raising further funding rounds, our portfolio companies always find the advice they need in the 50-strong and growing Collective.

"When it comes to running a startup, everyone has an opinion, but all that really matters is being in the business and operating effectively. Every member of the Collective will have overcome the same challenges you face whether that’s hiring, entering new markets or product fit. Being able to tap into that knowledge is priceless!" - Jacob Hansen, CEO & Co-Founder, Cobalt

Building bridges between the Nordics & Baltics and Silicon Valley

With offices in both Copenhagen and San Francisco, we serve as a springboard to the world for companies with global ambitions, whether they want to move to Silicon Valley or scale from the Nordics.

"byFounders has been instrumental in making introductions not just in Europe, but in the US as well." - Lars Maaløe, Co-founder & CTO, Corti

Until now, Nordic and Baltic startups have tended to relocate to the US once they’d reach a certain size, the primary reason being the lack of local funding sources.

"With the emergence of funds such as byFounders, the situation has changed. With the current level of accessibility of talent, capital and knowledge, there’s no reason you can’t now both build and grow a unicorn in every Nordic country." - Niklas Zennström, founder of Skype and Atomico

This is attractive to founders who would like to have a foot in both camps:

"…in that sense byFounders is perfect for us. We think their project — a collective of the best Nordic founders investing in the next generation — is inspiring. The network provides a big value for us we couldn’t get elsewhere. We have great faith that byFounders will quickly become the most attractive fund in the region for this reason." - Sondre Rasch, CEO & Co-Founder of SafetyWing

Listening to the Nordic & Baltic ecosystems

Through our team and the byFounders Collective we’re well-connected to the Nordic and Baltic tech ecosystems, the latter of which generates a good portion of byFounders’ deal flow. Through their investments in the fund, and oftentimes individually alongside us as well, we ensure that our interests are always aligned:

"Through the byFounders Collective we were introduced to Peter Hartzbech who really clicked with us and chose to invest. We love his vision for our company, and his unique network has opened a lot of doors for us." - David Kofoed Wind, Co-Founder of Peergrade

Raising a EUR 100 million first-time fund

Alongside the byFounders Collective, we've reached our first-time fund size of EUR 100m by working closely with a powerful constellation of investors. Our single largest investor is the Danish Growth Fund, one of the most active fund of funds in the Nordics. Support from the likes of global funds like Isomer Capital, Draper Esprit and Digital Garage, as well as a number of prominent family offices from around the Nordics has also been instrumental.

"We are thrilled to partner with Tommy, Eric and the byFounders team as their new fund enters the market with a founder-friendly approach, strong entrepreneurial and operational experience. An exciting new generation of Nordic technology companies will benefit from the prodigious wisdom, experience and network of their Collective, building further on the tradition of Nordic technology and innovation excellence." - Joe Schorge, Managing Partner, Isomer Capital

Just before writing this, we were furthermore happy to finally welcome Danske Bank into our funder base. An early supporter, the largest bank in Denmark has been through some internal reorganizations before being able to finally commit to byFounders:

"The partnership with byFounders is very important to us in Danske Bank. For one, we want to strengthen the Nordic startup scene, but we also want to gain a deeper understanding of how byFounders work as this represents a new strategic dimension to us." - Frederik Vinten, head of Group Development at Danske Bank.

Giving back to the ecosystem

byFounders was established on the firm belief that founders are well equipped to become excellent investors. We believe that having been in the entrepreneur’s shoes does makes a difference when providing critical support to early-stage founders.

"We chose byFounders because it is a true partnership. Because Eric and Tommy have already walked this path they want to hear your ‘gruesome truths’ so they can engage and help you resolve them. That has been very helpful in supporting us so far." - Lars Maaløe, Co-founder & CTO, Corti

Thanks to the increasingly mature and competent ecosystems, both the quantity and the quality of Nordic startups is higher than ever. Still, the road to success for an entrepreneur is not easy. Raising early-stage capital continues to be a challenge. Networking with the right people isn’t easy either. But the hardest part of all is getting the right help at the right time from the right people.

"I’m looking forward to helping the next generation of entrepreneurs find product-market fit and sharing what I’ve learned to help accelerate their journeys." - Heini Zachariassen, founder of Vivino
"byFounders Collective allows me to take part in shaping the founders of the future and highlighting the innovative and un-traditional companies that dare to think different and proves that the way to success doesn’t have to include a basement or a White Party." - Frederikke Schmidt, founder of Roccamore

The philosophy underpinning byFounders is all about “paying it forward” to the ecosystems that fostered the Founders’ initial success. Smaller and weaker back then, the ecosystems now feature a rich set of knowledgeable and experienced people eager to give back.

"A necessary sign of a healthy and growing tech ecosystem is the increased amount of serial entrepreneurs who are able and willing to fund the next wave of world-conquering founders. byFounders is an excellent example of this starting to happen in the Nordics at an ever-increasing rate." - Janne Korpela, Ex-Chief of Investor Operations at Slush and Co-Founder at Wave Ventures
"I joined byFounders Collective because i believe that it is exactly what the local startup community needs. Paying it forward to support future founders and technology has always been important to me and I feel that the individuals and purpose behind byFounders are combining this with solid funding options in a very meaningful way." - Camilla Ley Valentin, founder of Queue-It
"byFounders successfully closing their first fund is great for Nordic startups in general and Norwegian startups in particular. We at StartupLab are strong believers in that the Nordic region will continue to produce a disproportionately high number of successful startups, but in order for that to happen the region also needs more great funders. byFounders is a great addition to the Nordic ecosystem — their founder-friendly approach, wide network and high ambitions will without a doubt lead to more startup success stories from the region." - Kjetil Holmefjord, Partner, StartupLab

Investment focus

With our first-time fund size of EUR100 million, we’re well-positioned to support the next generation of globally ambitious startups through several rounds, however, our sweet spot is seed stage companies. We always prioritize to bring additional investors or syndicates on board, so as to create strong platforms for our portfolio companies’ future capital rounds and growth.

You can read more about what we look for when investing here.

More about the author(s)
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More about the author(s)
Ida Åsle
Former Director of Platform

Ida is our former Director of Platform. A formative member of our team, she leveraged our community's potential to establish resources that facilitated growth for our brand and portfolio companies.

Ida furthermore steered our external communications, amplifying our reach, while wielding her expertise to aid our founders with their PR strategies.

Her wide-ranging interests and empathetic understanding of the founder's journey are hallmarks of her approach, and the assets she crafted, including her insightful blog posts, continue to be treasured resources.

October 3, 2022

Say hello to byFounders' fall intern: Idil Tuysuzoglu!

With a background in operations & product at climate tech giants, Northvolt and Einride, and an engrained go-get-'em attitude brought on by her New Jersey roots, Idil comes with an impact-driven personality and focus to byFounders.
September 7, 2022

byFounders welcomes machine learning and HealthTech enthusiast, Magnus Hambleton, and expands the team into Stockholm

We’re humbled to announce that Magnus Hambleton has joined the byFounders investment team. Currently sitting with us at our headquarters in Copenhagen, Magnus will be one of the first employees to join the Stockholm office, which is due to open its doors in late 2022.
February 28, 2022

Sara Rywe becomes the third partner of byFounders

Do you know how difficult it is to find a needle in a haystack? That's how Tommy and I felt when we started to search for a third partner. Today, we're excited to announced that we actually managed to find the needle in the haystack. Please welcome Sara Rywe as the third partner of byFounders.
December 16, 2021

byFounders strengthens its investment team by welcoming Camille Zivré

We’re so excited to welcome Camille Zivré to the investment team and look forward to seeing in action the passion and dedication she has toward founders.
February 24, 2021

Our 2020 Investments

2020 was a year like no other. But moving behind the screens did not slow us down: we still welcomed seven new startups to our portfolio! From an AML software company working to ‘make money good’, to AI that makes negotiating more honest and responsible, without further ado, let’s meet our newcomers!
February 21, 2021

Sebastian is Listed as One of Europe's Top 30 Young Investors

Sebastian stepped into the world of VC after helping Swedish SaaS startup Fieldly with their fundraise while doing his bachelors at the University of Warwick. He’s now at byFounders, a fund focused on the Nordics and Baltics. We're proud to have him onboard!
December 17, 2019

Our Investments in 2019

The past year has been fun and intense for the byFounders team. We've made a total of 14 investments, of which 11 are brand new entries to our portfolio. Ranging from AI-trained robots to computer vision prototyping, sustainability-as-a-service, a global social safety net, automated contract handling and more, it’s safe to say that we’re staying true to our agnostic investment focus.
May 15, 2019

Our First 10 Investments

Since our inception, we’ve invested in the brilliant founders behind 11 awesome companies. We're looking forward to meeting, following, and investing in many more from across the New Nordics in the years to come!
April 10, 2019

Juuso Koskinen Joins byFounders

This month we didn't only close our first-time EUR 100 million fund — we're moreover thrilled to welcome Juuso Koskinen to the byFounders team!
April 3, 2019

byFounders Fund I

How we raised a EUR 100 million first-time fund to support the next generation of Nordic and Baltic founders
December 5, 2017

Houston — we have lift off!

byFounders' first launch
September 4, 2017

Introducing: For Founders byFounders

byFounders is a “for founders by founders” fund built on the foundation and backing of a strong Collective, comprising some of the most successful Nordic entrepreneurs investing in and supporting a new generation of globally ambitious Nordic and Baltic founders.

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