Introducing the newest addition to FVCA’s members – Tera Ventures backs founders building the infrastructure of our digital lives

James McDougall, Stanislav Ivanov and Andrus Oks founded Estonia-based Tera Ventures in 2016 to continue theirs efforts of creating a leading seed stage VC firm in the region. In May 2017, the company closed Fund I through winning the bid for re-organization of the funds already managed by Tera’s team members under SmartCap. With their second fund, the team now aims to expand Tera Ventures’ geographical scope and seeks to explore new technologies and business models to support founders that are building the infrastructure that will deeply impact the future of our digital lives.

1. How has your investment thesis developed since the earliest days of Tera Ventures? What changes will the Fund II bring to it?

We have learned quite a bit while applying our hands-on approach over the previous decade.

We are proud to be working with some of Europe’s fastest growing and most innovative startups such as: Monese, a challenger bank; Lingvist, an AI based language learning app; and Jobbatical, a platform to help techies and creatives find jobs around the world. We are also proud of our exceptional founders, who led the exits of GrabCadModesat, and Vitalfields among others.

While we focused on Estonia with the first fund, we are now going to cover the whole region – Estonia, Scandinavia, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Our region is a global innovation powerhouse, over-populated with successful startups, scale-ups and exits, yet seed-stage capital is still scarce. Many later-stage, Tier-1, global VCs have recognized this, including those who have invested in our portfolio companies.

With our second fund we will explore new technologies and business models to support founders building the infrastructure that will deeply impact the future of our digital lives. In this quest, we are vertical and business model agnostic.

2. Who are the people behind Tera Ventures? 

Tera has three founding partners. Andrus Oks and Stanislav Ivanov both have entrepreneurial backgrounds and have managed three early-stage funds creating over €150 million in enterprise value in nine exits to date. James McDougall then again has extensive operational experience as CEO and Managing Director for several early-stage, private and public companies, where he has raised over €250 million for his companies from an extensive global network of investors.

Complementing the founders, we have a California-based Venture Partner, Erik Anderson, who cultivated multiple cohorts of early-stage startup teams at Techstars in London and later Wise Guys in Tallinn and Operating Partner, and Martin Hendre, who has extensive institutional equity investor and asset management company management experience, in our team.

3. What are some of the most valuable ways in which you support your portfolio companies?

We build presence and networks in the markets where our portfolio companies want to expand to. With a presence in Estonia, Finland, and California, we are supported by a global advisory network of experienced investors, industry experts, and growth operations people willing to take the long journey with us to the finish line.

Our team has made the journey from the inception to the exit in several technology companies on both operational and investor side.  We are laid back but straightforward, we want our companies and our founders to succeed, whatever it takes.

4. A startup or technology that you are most excited about at the moment?

We are excited about several of current portfolio companies, including the ones listed above.

We are also very happy to syndicate with FVCA’s members and propose discussing dealflow sharing with each one. Presently, we are previewing and liking a company called Veriff.

5. Into which direction you would like to see the Nordic and Baltic venture capital scenes developing?

Besides the aspects mentioned above, we see clear potential and a need for some much better connections throughout the ecosystem – we also do need the Hyperloop!

The traditional economies of our countries have been deeply integrated already for decades. The fact that this has not really happened in the startup ecosystem has many reasons, but most importantly represents a large untapped opportunity.

Tera Ventures and other private equity or venture capital investor members of the association can be found from FVCA’s investor search engine. To stay up to date of newest additions to FVCA’s members and of what is happening in the PE and VC industry in Finland, follow us on our news room and Twitter account @FVCAfi.