Sorry Mr. Putin, but there’s a race on for Russian and Eastern European founders. And right now, those awful capitalists in the corrupt West are starting to out-gun the opposition! But seriously… only the other day a $100 million fund aimed at Russian-speaking entrepreneurs appeared, and others are proliferating.
Now, London-based Untitled Ventures plans to join the fray with €100 million / $118 million for its second fund to invest in “ambitious deep tech startups with eastern European founders.”
Untitled says it is aiming at entrepreneurs who are looking to relocate their business or have already HQ’ed in Western Europe and the USA. That’s alongside all the other existing Western VCs who are -- in my experience -- always ready and willing to listen to Russian and Eastern European founders, who are often known for their technical prowess.
Untitled is going to be aiming at B2B, AI, agritech, medtech, robotics and data management startups with proven traction emerging from the Baltics, CEE and CIS, or those already established in Western Europe.
LPs in the fund include Vladimir Vedeneev, a founder of Global Network Management. Untitled also claims to have Google, Telegram Messenger, Facebook, Twitch, DigitalOcean, IP-Only, CenturyLinks, Vodafone and TelecomItaly as partners.
Oskar Stachowiak, Untitled Ventures managing partner, said: “With over 10 unicorns, €1 billion venture funding in 2020 alone, and success stories like Veeam, Semrush, and Wrike, startups emerging from the fast-growing regions are the best choice to focus on early-stage investment for us. Thanks to the strong STEM focus in the education system and about one million high-skilled developers, we have an ample opportunity to find and support the rising stars in the region."
Konstantin Siniushin, the Untitled Ventures MP said: "We believe in economic efficiency and at the same time we fulfill a social mission of bringing technological projects with a large scientific component from the economically unstable countries of the former USSR, such as, first of all, Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, but not only in terms of bringing sales to the world market and not only helping them to HQ in Europe so they can get next rounds of investments."
He added: “We have a great experience accumulated earlier in the first portfolio of the first fund, not just structuring business in such European countries as, for example, Luxembourg, Germany, Great Britain, Portugal, Cyprus and Latvia, but also physically relocating startup teams so that they are perceived already as fully resident in Europe and globally.”
To be fair, it is still harder than it needs to be to create large startups from Eastern Europe, mainly because there is often very little local capital. However, that is changing, with the launch recently of CEE funds such as Vitosha Venture Partners and Launchub Ventures, and the breakout hit from Romania that was UiPath.
The Untitled Ventures team:
Konstantin Siniushin, a serial tech entrepreneur
Oskar Stachowiak, experienced fund manager
Mary Glazkova, PR & Comms veteran
Anton Antich, early-stage investor and an ex VP of Veeam, a Swiss cloud data management company
acquired by Insight Venture Partners for $5 billion
Yulia Druzhnikova, experienced in taking tech companies international
Mark Cowley, who has worked on private and listed investments within CEE/Russia for over 20 years
Untitled Ventures portfolio highlights - Fund I
Sizolution - AI-driven size prediction engine, based in Germany
Pure app - spontaneous and impersonal dating app, based in Portugal
Fixar Global - efficient drones for commercial use-cases, based in Latvia
E-contenta - based in Poland
SuitApp - AI-based mix-and-match suggestions for fashion retail, based in Singapore
Sarafan.tech - AI-driven recognition, based in the USA
Hello, baby - parental assistant, based in the USA
Voximplant - voice, video and messaging cloud communication platform, based in the USA (exited)