Finland has just formed its first Angel Fund, which has announced that it will be looking to invest in between 30 to 50 seed stage technology start-ups over the next four year. Called the Gorilla Acceleration Fund, they say they will be picking from a deal flow of over 1,200 Finnish start-ups. Sounds like they’ve got quite a lot of work ahead of them just picking their favourites, and that’s only the beginning.
The fund will be managed by Gorilla Ventures, where these managers intend to take an active business development role within the companies that agree to be invested in order to maximise the investor return.. We’re told that all these managers have lots of experience as entrepreneurs and have worked for years with startups before. Gorilla Ventures is named as one of the Vigo accelerators in Finland.
The Gorilla Acceleration Fund has seventeen Limited Partners of which sixteen are private angel investors and their private investments have been matched by an investment from Veraventure. The goal of the fund is to invest mainly in start-ups that will not need VC level funding before exit, with the plan to hopefully give further investment opportunities for private angels.
The Finnish business angel scene has seen a surge of start-ups, sometimes attributed to; the collapse of Nokia and the flood of highly trained and qualified people it unleashed; the high quality of teaching and education in Finland that has raised a new generation of pioneers, forced to pioneer in a landscape no longer dominated by a single monolithic company, hello again Nokia; and incubation programs like the one at Aalto Universaity, Startup Sauna. Likewise there has also been an increase of angel activity which has been supported by the forming of the Finnish Business Angels Network (FIBAN), one of the most active angel networks in Europe.
Whether the increase of angel activity is a result of the growth in the number of start-ups or the other way around is something I’ll leave you to debate about in the comments below, but one thing is certain, more and better organised angel funds in Finland can only be a good thing. Right?