Lars Jornow: Half Startup, Half VC

Half VC, half startup – that’s how EQT Ventures describes itself. EQT Ventures is a multi-stage VC fund currently managing 566 million euros to help European tech startups go global. With a team of techies from companies like King, Spotify, Uber, Booking, etc, EQT Ventures is committed to helping founders accelerate their journeys. We interviewed Lars Jornow, who is a founding partner of EQT.


How did you start as an investor?

Before startup EQT I spent 6 years at King Digital, the famous gaming company, in various roles: leading the mobile team through the production and launch of King’s first mobile cross-platform games (VP Mobile 2011-2012), including Candy Crush Saga (released Nov 15 2012) and Bubble Witch Saga (released July 2012), produced a few of the first Facebook/social games that King launched (Miner Speed, Bubble Witch Saga, FunFlow), started the Growth team (VP Growth 2013) and King Labs (VP King Labs 2014-15).

King provided a lot of great challenges for me. One of them was a long-term goal to reach 100 million daily active users – a goal that we were fortunate to beat in 2014. Once I felt that my work at King was ‘mission accomplished’ it was time for me to head out and seek some new challenges. That’s when the opportunity with EQT Ventures came about. When I start something, I want to focus fully on it and make an impact, so I teamed up with colleagues that felt the same and founded EQT Ventures, a 566 million euros multi-stage VC fund.

What kind of companies / industries are you most excited about right now?

There are lots of fantastic companies in the market right now. The EQT Ventures fund invests in technology-driven companies across a range of industries. We always want to meet ambitious and obsessive company founders, ideally using technology and data to continuously improve their products or services to transform a large industry.


What do you pay attention when making an investment decision?

There’s a range of factors that are important to pay attention to when looking at companies for the fund to invest in. There needs to be a pragmatic “let’s solve this problem with tech” culture in the team we’re meeting, and we also want to see that the founders are aware of their own strengths and shortfalls and then are complementing this by hiring great people around them. Finally, we have to assess whether the problem they are solving (or the industry they’re in) is big enough to justify the valuation.

In your opinion, what’s the best way for a company to approach an investor?

Ideally, the founders of a startup should be focusing on creating value for their customers and building great products and services. If they are focused and the company is growing well, then investors (like us) will come knocking on their door because they’ve heard great things from these customers. In addition to this, we source potential deals in a range of different ways – we get introduced through our networks, companies contact us directly, and we’ve also built our own AI platform, called Motherbrain, which tracks what’s happening in the market and flags interesting companies to look further into.

Helsinki Business Hub Investor Talks introduce foreign investors active in Finland. To get on their radar, contact HBH Investor Services.