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Smart’s Taavet Hinrikus and Teleport’s Sten Tamkivi partner in new investment firm — just don’t call it a VC fund

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Smart’s Taavet Hinrikus and Teleport’s Sten Tamkivi partner in new investment firm — just don’t call it a VC fund

Taavet Hinrikus, the primary employee of Skype and co-founder of fintech giant Smart (beforehand TransferWise), is teaming up with Teleport co-founder and latest Topia CPO Sten Tamkivi to create a new investment vehicle.

Each are already seasoned investors — Hinrikus is certainly one of Europe’s bona fide large angels, with over 100 investments to his name — and have already done a want of tickets collectively. The new as yet unnamed challenge will glance the pair’s investment activities formalised as an equal partnership and be supported by a team of six of us based in Estonia, including an investment analyst.

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Just don’t call it a VC fund.

“I’m detached no longer setting up a fund, but am partnering to assist manufacture more of the same on the investing facet,” Hinrikus advised me last week in a text message.

For the last few years — perhaps precipitated by swapping the position of CEO of Smart for chairperson — there’s been speculation within London’s increasingly chatty challenge capital scene that he may raise a fund of his maintain or join an A-list VC firm as a partner. The Smart founder actually spent about a year as a challenge partner at Mosaic Ventures, which ended last summer season and went unreported.

“Whereas you say fund, this means other of us’s money and a specific mandate (i.e. invest in seed or late, in biotech or fintech, promise to approach back the cash in a certain time, and so on.),” Hinrikus said in an email earlier this week. He also explained that the new firm aren’t seeking outside LPs and will be “evergreen”, enabling it to make considerably longer-time frame bets than many VC funds. Instead, Hinrikus and Tamkivi are happy to engage investments for 10-20 years.

“This structure is both liberating and differentiating, because without strict external mandates we can trot after the missions we really feel passionate about and be really patient about how lengthy we stay involved in our companies,” said Tamkivi in an email.

“[We] aren’t the one pushing a founder to promote,” underlines Hinrikus. “Will always stay on the founder’s facet as we’ve been in that position ourselves”.

The pair’s combined portfolios focal point principally on Europe but also additional afield, including the U.S., Japan and Singapore. Mutual investments (or shareholdings) include Smart, Toddle, Veriff, LHV, Xolo, Oyster HR, Pactum, Starship, Curve, Dawn and Acapela.

Hinrikus and Tamkivi have also jointly contributed to several “mission driven” nonprofit endeavours such as Jõhvi College of Abilities, Apt Deed Education Fund or Vabamu Museum of Freedom and Occupations, which they, and the new firm’s back place of labor, will continue to toughen. Most lately, Hinrikus co-based Certific, which is building the rails for residence health testing.

Hinrikus and Tamkivi say their new investment firm will back tech companies with a €250,000 to €1 million seed investment, but also has the freedom to apply on apt up to an IPO. In most instances, it doesn’t query to lead rounds but hopes to be viewed as more collaborative than competitive.

“In fast, we can be doing more of the same: give founder-backing to more upcoming founders,” said Hinrikus. “What excites us most is the lengthy hasten ahead and finding positive missions that give a boost to our future. So far it’s been a entire lot way forward for labor, way forward for finance, but in the lengthy hasten we’d acquire to think more about way forward for health and climate as properly”.

“It will take a bit more awake effort to determine out what our theses and strategy will be for utterly new areas,” adds Tamkivi. “As humans, we both care about longevity, health, education, democracy — if we find ways transfer these giant situation spaces along with capital, we are very eager to learn”.

The pair are also willing to take positions in crypto tokens, real assets or any alternative financial instruments.

“On a high stage you can think of DeFi as just a natural extension of our broader ‘way forward for money’ financial freedom thesis,” said Tamkivi. “When it involves technical execution, we’ve benefited a lot from the freedom to invest no longer just in equity of established companies, but to also take token positions, exhaust on-chain yield strategies or work with specialized challenge funds. Whatever helps our founders”.

To that finish, the new investment fund is breaking cowl with very little fanfare — and, as talked about, it doesn’t even have a name yet. “’Have you talked to Taavet and Sten yet?’ may detached work fine for now,” quipped Hinrikus, in his maintain deadpan variety of humour I’ve turn into accustomed to over the years.

“Extra severely, we are just getting started collectively,” clarified Tamkivi. “[We’re] detached figuring out what kind of structure, processes, new talent and other things, such as additional branding, we’ll want as we scale up the activities from our lives as individual angels to date”.


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Smart’s Taavet Hinrikus and Teleport’s Sten Tamkivi partner in new investment firm — just don’t call it a VC fund