Northzone Ventures announced the first close of € 90 million of a new fund, Northzone VI. Targeting € 150 million, the fund will invest in fast growing Euro tech companies. Prominent Nordic and International institutional investors participated in the first close.
This was not only significant because we certainly don’t have too much venture capital in the Nordics, but also because this will mean that some of the better venture capital firms are bullish enough to look outside for new investments instead of just trying help navigate their current portfolio companies through the rough economy. I’m happy that the Finnish Industry Investment, whose Advisory Council I sit at, invested a total of € 7.5m in the new fund (consider this as my disclosure). This shows that the institutional players believe in the asset class despite the lack of an IPO market. I agree that I might read this news as a bigger positive sign than most, given how bad the European let alone Nordic venture capital situation is, but what it highlights is that the best startups will always find the money when they need it regardless of geography or economy. For the real pirates now is always the right time to start a company.
Just as Tellef Thorleifsson, GP at Northzone, commented on the current economic situation and entrepreneurship: “To be frank, we expect the adverse financial market conditions to continue. But in hard times, the best entrepreneurs get going and thus we are actually looking forward to team up with more than our fair share of world class entrepreneurs.” We agree wholeheartedly.
Since the start of the financial crisis, the Northzone portfolio companies have raised more than € 160 million in external funding.
Northzone was established in 1996 and has raised a total of EURO 445 million in six funds to date. The company has offices in Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen and has invested in more than 70 companies since its inception. Northzone is lead investor in companies such as Nimsoft, Tobii, Funcom, and Innotech Solar. Previous successes include companies such as Lastminute, Pricerunner, NextGenTel and Trolltech. Some of Northzones other investments include Spotify, EPiServer, Napatech and Stepstone. You can see the whole portfolio here.