Trind VC raises €55m fund to invest in consumer and SME-focused startups

Reima Linnanvirta, Partner at Trind VC

Trind VC, a seed-stage venture fund based in Tallinn with team members in Helsinki and Munich, announced closing of its €55m second fund. Trind VC aims to invest into 30–40 startups with proven traction in four years. The fund is backed by institutional investors such as European Investment Fund, Tesi, LHV Pension Funds, and Swedbank Investment Funds.

Trind Ventures was founded in 2018 in Tallinn by Joel Aasmäe, Kimmo Irpola, Taavi Lepmets, and Ivar Siimar. Founding partners have been working together since 1999 while investing as co-founders of LHV bank and New Economy Ventures, the first VC fund in the Baltics.

What were the executives’ thoughts on the funding?

“We were targeting to raise €50m, but as we already have more commitments, we will go slightly above that in the second closing. Most of our LPs from Fund I joined Fund II, a sign of trust we truly appreciate. We are honored to have top tier institutions investing in the fund, along our expanding angel investor community,” says Reima Linnanvirta, Partner, Trind VC.

“Estonia and Finland form one of the strongest startup ecosystems in Europe, and the region has been producing excellent startups. While the funding environment has been getting tougher, we want to offer continuity in the availability of funding by investing through the cycle as we believe that great founders should get funded in all market conditions.”

Our investment thesis is actually quite simple. We are looking for startups with clear traction from big enough market – general hype or buzzwords won’t get us excited. We are using the data for both when making our investment decisions, but more importantly in developing the companies. There’s a clear bottleneck for funding for consumer startups in the area compared to B2B equivalents,” commented Joel Aasmäe, Managing Partner at Trind VC.

“The selection of funds offered by Swedbank is one of the widest in terms of both II and III pillar pension funds. Cooperation with the Trind Ventures Fund II means that our clients will take part in the growth of developing economic sectors, investments in local companies will increase, and at the same time the client can be sure that their money has been invested sustainably,” said Ene Õunmaa, portfolio manager of Swedbank Investment Funds.

How will Trind VC use the new fund?

Trind VC’s strategy is to invest in companies with B2C and C2C business models, alongside consumerized B2B software. The CCC strategy, meaning startups with consumer or community components, have a lot of small transactions, enabling them to gather much more data than many B2B companies with only a few bigger clients. This gives an advantage in truly being data-driven and gives much more accurate insights into customer behavior.

Trind VC uses its experience from other startups on how to utilize this data to develop products, build go-to-market strategy, marketing, and monetization models to achieve high scalability. Strong team presence in Finland and Estonia gives Trind VC an excellent vantage point to invest in the region that has been previously known best for its B2B startup scene.

Trind VC can act as a lead investor, but especially with European cross-border investments, it’s happy to co-invest, with a local VC leading the round. It will also continue its strategy of co-investing with prominent angel syndicates in order to bring more expertise to the startup via board positions and advisory work, compared to just its own resources. The new fund will make initial investments sized up to €1M, with a minimum ticket size of €100,000.

Follow-up rounds will be joined with tickets up to €5M. For the potential portfolio companies, Trind VC conducts ESG due diligence before investing and continues to monitor and require periodic reporting to make sure that they are ESG compliant. Trind VC is aiming to invest part of its newest fund into startups that have a positive impact on the environment.

It’s first fund invested into companies such as Estonian Fractory, Ready Player Me and Finnish Neural DSP and Jobilla. To support their Finnish-Baltic strategy, Trind VC appointed a new partner: Reima Linnanvirta, the former chair of board of Finnish Business Angels Network.