34 Most Active Estonian Angel Investors
Guest blog by Raimonds Kulbergs, founder & CEO of Funderful,
a Latvian startup & 500Startups alumni, successfully acquired in 2018
Fundraising your first round is a mission impossible without a good list of active investors to reach out to. For every €500k raised you need to talk to 100 investors. That's a good rule of thumb.
But for all the young startups in the Baltics, Ukraine, and beyond, I’ve learned that only a few have a clear process planned and a solid list of investors they wish to reach out to. I get it - I was the same during my first fundraising round. Which was one of the reasons why my first round was so stressful, emotionally draining, and left to chance. But it doesn’t always have to be that way.
For my first startup, Funderful, I raised $1M in investor funding in two rounds, many of which were Estonian angels. In the first round I did exactly what you should NOT do — as Marvin Liao, Partner at 500Startups, would put it - I half-assed the fundraising process.
In my second round I followed the advice of 500Startups focusing most of my time on fundraising for 2 months. Having a good long list of prospective investors was critical to closing the round.
I often hear from my Estonian angel friends and acquaintances — do you know any great startups from Latvia or Lithuania who are looking for funding? And much of this is due to the simple laws of supply demand - it is not uncommon for Estonian startups with little or no traction to be asking for a valuation cap of €3M, while many of the same stage Latvian and Lithuanian startups would be happy with €1-€2M valuation cap, and rightly so. What I loved most about Estonian angels — how well networked they are, and thus speaking to one angel investor opens doors to several others.
So I decided to put together a list of the most active Estonian angel investors, ask them their investment focus, and ticket size. Hope this serves well for young founders to raise funding for their next big idea, and for Estonian angel investors to get a good additional pipeline of strong startup teams to back. Without further ado, here is my list of Estonian angels* to make your fundraising easier:
NB! Today, many of the angels have institutionalized and launched funds with the help of Estonian and Baltic fund-of-funds initiatives. I have not excluded those investors from this list, but added a reference to their investment vehicle.
Andres Märtin - no particular focus. Ticket: €5-20k
Andrus Purde - focus: SaaS and sharing economy/networks. Ticket: €10-25k
Argo Virkebau - focus: tech, adtech, fintech, sharing economy, digital transformation; scalability is important; seed and early stage; preferably having some MRR or close to it. Ticket: €10-50k
Dag Ainsoo, Wise Guys Ventures fund - focus: early stage B2B startups. Ticket: typically €50k
Gerri Kodres, United Angels VC - focus: B2B, SaaS, marketplaces, fintech; stage: from (pre-)seed, preferably with first signs of market traction, to early-A; no longer does angel investments privately, mainly through the fund instead. Ticket: €100k to €1m, typically in the range of €200k-300k
Henri Treude, Spring Capital - focus: prefer seed stage with ca €10K MRR traction or equivalent; the round should give 18 months runway and clear path to series A. Ticket: €100K as part of bigger rounds (typically 300k to 1M)
Ivar Siimar, Trind.vc - focus: does not do angel investments anymore privately; mainly through the fund instead; startup’s primary focus in Baltics, Finland; co-invests with business angels, seed rounds; expects some commercial traction (i.e., €20k revenue/MRR). Ticket: €100k-€3m
Ivo Remmelg - focus: currently has pipeline sources from own circle and intros, also from Estban dealflow; prefers B2B SaaS solutions, pre-seed and seed stages; has invested from 5k to 900k, from preseed to secondary. Ticket: €10-€50k
Jaak Roosaare - focus: preferably has reached some sales from customers; strong background for founders; active with debt financing also. Ticket: €10-50K
Jaan Tallinn, Skype mafia - focus: mainly looking for deep technologies with significant disruption potential; not particularly sector-focused; tends not to lead the rounds, hence mainly looking for a later stage. Ticket: typical ticket size begins from $/€500K
Jevgeni Kabanov - no particular focus. Ticket: €10-€50K
Kaspar Hanni - focus: B2B SaaS and B2B tech-assisted services; mostly pre-seed and seed stage. Ticket: €10-30K
Kristjan Raude - focus: looking for minimum of two-founder startups; founders must not only have great vision, but hard skills as well; prefers a seed investment to a startup, which has already market traction; proof of product/service is needed in the target market; has strong contacts in Africa, LATAM and Estonia. Ticket: €5-50K
Kuido Lepik - focus: likes to invest quite early - premoney valuation up to €1,5M; most important - founders’ motivation and capability to get things done; likes scaleable business (SaaS) and in sectors that he can understand; tries to avoid capital, research intensive sectors. Ticket: lately €5K and €10K
Lauri Isotamm (Siena)
Lev Dolgatsjov - focus: technology startups. Ticket: €5-10K
Madis Müür - focus: invests full time, mostly on Funderbeam platform, 20+ investments like Cleveron, LeapIN/Xolo, Ampler; mostly looks for simpler B2C stuff that maybe doesn't grow so fast, is easier to understand for everyday investor but has less risks also, looks for companies that can help raise a meaningful round on Funderbeam, so starting also from €5k+ MRR
Madis Pajo - focus: looking for great teams with strong sales skills. Ticket: €1K to €20K
Martin Henk - focus: mostly B2B, SaaS. Ticket: ~€50K
Martin Villig - focus: early stage startups with working prototypes in platforms/mobile space; can consider other types of startups with very strong team and traction. Ticket: €10-50K
Märt Kelder - focus: likes to focus on B2B, SaaS; although marketplaces/Uber-like stuff are also of interest. Ticket: €25K-50K
Ott Kaukver - focus: mostly invests in cloud-based startups and services; looking for a clear hypothesis for a product - clear customer pain with a solution to solve that pain; tends to pass on the startups that are very early in their journey (idea phase, no validation). Ticket: doesn't differentiate investment by ticket size, evaluates each deal separately
Ragnar Sass - focus: mainly B2B SaaS + moonshots that can have a huge impact on human lives globally. Preferably with clear first traction. Super fine to join as a first investor who can follow up with 30+ intros to VCs & angels. Investments include: Veriff, Printify, Restream, Hugo, Klaus, AXdraft, Dashbird etc. Ticket: €10-50k
Raido Pikkar, thorgateventures.com - focus: privately-backed boutique incubator that takes you up to the A-round & hand-over to friends who handle larger rounds; B2B, SAAS, early-stage up to even only a thousand in MRR; likes to invest where he has experience - https://thorgate.eu/industries/. Ticket: likes to be no more than 33% of any round; €25k-€50k first, and then followup up to €150-€200k
Raigo Õunapuu - focus: interest is mainly around SW startups, no specific sector; has not ruled out any sectors; prefers early or very early stage companies. Ticket: €5-€15k
Rain Rannu, Superangel - focus: does not do angel investments on his own, only through Superangel; early stage. Ticket: €50-€500k
Rain Tamm (Siena)
Rait Ojasaar - focus: crafts, foods & bewerages, food-tech, cosmetics, general consumer products, electronic gadgets/devices, games, etc. Ticket: €5k - €20k
Rando Rannus - focus: mostly B2B SaaS, but keeping an eye open for other areas as well; mainly early stage with more favourable valuations; pre-revenue - needs to see some traction; life sciences & physical products probably a no-go; tries to select companies where can contribute with hiw know-how, network etc. Ticket: €5-€10k
Rein Lemberpuu, Contriber - focus: 1-year startup de-acceleration program that focuses on startup founders' personal development instead of the company; any startup and technology company that is facing a scaling period either from a team (30+) or revenue (50k+ monthly) perspective would be a sweet spot. Ticket: €50-€200k
Riivo Anton (United Angels VC)
Sten Tamkivi - focus: focus on the thesis behind Teleport: creating a more open and borderless world, making it easier for people to figure out where to live and work, etc. Transferwise, Veriff, Xolo (former LeapIN), SafetyWing, Roam, Teleport/Topia as past examples of investing into a borderless world thesis. Ticket: €25-50k; plus follow-ons later
Taavi Tamkivi, Focus: teams & sectors where could contribute: crime detection, compliance, regtech- data-driven challenges - modelling, machine learning, challenging metrics & KPI's, emotional match & network connection to founders; Ticket: €10-25k
Veiko Visnapuu - focus: prefers a team primarily based in Estonia or nearby; pre-seed, seed, early stage, no sector bias. Ticket: €10-€100k
* This list is still growing! Anyone left out who should be in the list? Let us know!
Other Estonian investment sources worth considering would be going through EstBAN itself and Funderbeam. That said, there are plenty of Latvian and Lithuania angels and micro VCs who you should consider, don’t avoid them. Having a solid list will allow you to quickly weed out who is a good fit for you and who is not, and be able to brush off investors rejecting you — which you will hear a lot. It’s part of the process.
Now all you need to do is prepare for the process — create your reach out email templates, pick your CRM, work on your pitch deck, and stack calls/meetings back to back so that you can have 3–5 investor meetings per day for a few weeks.
But that’s a topic for a different time :)
PS! Ragnar Sass and his amazing team behind Lift99 — the fast growing community of founder teams in the region — are putting together an even more comprehensive list of investors with no bullshit founder reviews included — accessible only by founders. To gain access you need to become a member of their founder network, now known as Salto - more info and & application here.
Originally published at https://onstartupexits.com on September 2, 2019.