Northzone, the Scandinavian VC that was an early backer of music streaming service Spotify and other notable startups out of the region, today announced that it is raising a new, €200 million ($272 million) fund, which it will use to invest in more startups with “Nordic DNA”. It says that €150 million ($204 million) has been secured so far.
Northzone VII is the VC’s biggest yet. That is a measure not just of Northzone’s own track record, but also of the growing interest among investors to tap into more startups outside of their traditional heartland of Silicon Valley, which is overcrowded not just with companies but also sharp-elbowed VCs jockeying for pole position to fund them.
In many cases, that will mean Northzone will be focusing on founders building companies in countries like Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark; but it can also mean startups in cities like London that have been established by people who cut their teeth working with Nordic-influenced startups. (For example, one of the Northzone’s recent investments is London-based SpaceApe Games, co-founded by the ex-head of product for Playfish, and former head of monetization for Skype in its more formative years).
The unifying themes of these companies also extend into a distinct set of characteristics, Northzone says. “Three key components stick out when it comes to companies from this region: they think global from day one, they’re lean, and they put a user-friendly design at the forefront of their agenda. This makes the products and businesses scalable from very early on,” the VC writes.
“Over the past eighteen years, we have been fortunate to be involved in the growth of companies such as Spotify, Avito, Tobii, Pricerunner, iZettle and many more,” said partner Pär-Jörgen Pärson in a statement. “We see many attractive investment opportunities driven by an increasing rate of innovation and a large and growing pool of dedicated and talented entrepreneurs coming out of the Nordic region. Thanks to the commitment of new and longstanding limited partners, we will continue to play a key role in this development.”
Northzone says that existing investors have participated in the fund, alongside a few notable new additions, SEB Pension Fund and AP6.