Sweden-based venture fund BackingMinds, founded in 2016, likes to think it takes a different approach to venture in Europe. Its new €50 million fund will aim to take a road less traveled by most VCs, looking for “the blind spots” traditional venture capital can often miss because of typical VC herd behavior (such as investing in white men in major capital cities).
Instead, the new fund will look for companies with high potential outside of Europe’s capital cities and entrepreneurs often overlooked by traditional investors.
The investment range of the fund will be €500,000 to €3,000,000 on initial investments, and across the whole of Europe, except the U.K., due to it being outside the EU.
“Sweden is far ahead in terms of demographic and digital transformation and we can apply many insights when looking for overlooked opportunities in Denmark and the Nordics,” said Susanne Najafi, founder of BackingMinds, in a statement.
The fund’s geographical focus is northern Europe, and includes LPs from Spotify, King, Supercell and the H&M family office, but so far no institutional investors.
Those LPs include Supercell’s chief executive Ilkka Paananen, the Persson family that owns retailer H&M and co-founder of Spotify, Martin Lorentzon. Other investors in the new fund include the founders of private equity firms EQT and Nordic Capital, Thomas Hartwig, who is co-founder of King — the company behind Candy Crush Saga. Also the founders of software company Sinch, Robert Gerstmann and Kristian Mannik, and the Olsson family behind the Stena group of companies, including the ferry operator.
After launching in 2016 with an undisclosed fund size, BackingMinds says it has since invested in 13 companies that are either led by women or immigrants, or lie outside the Stockholm region.
“It’s not about charity or diversity investing, it’s about driving societal change and even out injustices by making good returns. We go straight to the solution, challenging bias and put focus on blind spots by delivering returns in companies where traditional investors see nothing but risks,” added co-founder Sara Wimmercranz.
Najafi was previously the founder of more than 10 companies, several of which she exited, including Eleven, one of the largest beauty e-tailers in the Nordics. Wimmercranz previously co-founded the e-commerce company Footway, listed at First North Stockholm. They are joined by partners Sara Resvik and Niklas Thörnestad.
BackingMinds claims that evidence of these homogeneous networks and herd behavior is showing up in the VC data, which shows most Danish VCs only investing in Danish startups, not further afield, while immigrant founders are often ignored.
Investments to date:
- Brain Stimulation: Precision diagnostics and individualised digital rehabilitation.
- CemVision: Re-inventing cement with a product that is economical, environmentally friendly and technically superior.
- Combify: Construction tech specialised in digitalisation and visualisation of data related to construction projects.
- Lingio: Industry-validated language learning to improve operational efficiency in the labour market.
- Serviceform: Makes complex technologies simple and brings them all under one service — for all businesses.
- Skrym: A headless solution for optimising logistics with built-in emissions tracking.