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Solid ships, captains & crews excel in stormy seas

We are truly impressed by our fleet of startups navigating the COVID-19 crisis during H1 2020. Kudos and congratulations are deserved.

Arne H. Tonning
Aug 3 · 5 min read
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Follow-on investments all-time high

H1 2020 ended up being an all-time high for follow-on investment in the Alliance Venture portfolio. Eight companies raised a total of 479 MNOK (approx. 50 MUSD). Six of the funding rounds have already been announced, Apexx Global, Shoreline, Aprila Bank, Boost.ai, Novelda and poLight, while two deals are not yet public. Although we were an active participant, facilitator and supporter for these investments, the vast majority of the capital invested (approx. 90%) came from co-investors. These capital raises were a mix of planned funding rounds and extension rounds put in place to secure the financial foundation and runway for the companies to focus on operations in a challenging market. We are happy that most of the portfolio now has more than 18 months of runway. Six of the H1 funding events were uprounds, while two were flat.

This set of investments is a clear testament to the quality and attractiveness of the companies and opportunities. It also proves the viability of responsible investment practices in a challenging market — a principle endorsed in an earlier blog post.

Funding is of course not the ultimate objective for these companies, nor a guarantee for success, and it may sometimes be a vanity metric. However, it is clear that capital now gravitates to winners more than ever, making the capital markets a bigger separator. Therefore, we view the level, rate and terms of follow-ons in H1 to be a market validation of portfolio quality, as well as an enabler of growth coming through and out of the market turmoil.

Heads-down, agile execution

While funding can be a powerful tool, great execution is the biggest driver of success. Many of our outstanding portfolio companies have been heads-down focused on agile navigation and execution during H1. Examples include:

Observations and the journey ahead

A realization from H1 is that the future is truly unpredictable. COVID-19 is not quite a black swan, as a global pandemic was a known and partially planned scenario. Yet no one expected the recent series of events and responses, nor the current market/economic conditions at the start of 2020. Now, more than ever, it is important to keep a cool head and stay focused on fundamental long term trends and key company objectives, while reading the market to make agile adjustments accordingly.

Looking ahead we believe that:

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We would like to congratulate our portfolio companies and teams on the performance during H1 2020, and we are both thankful and excited. Our faith is strong in the portfolio’s ability to weather the storm and navigate to come out ahead. Hence, we are bullish about the future for our founders, portfolio companies and funds, as well as on the tech market overall.

Alliance Venture

We invest in Nordic startups with global ambitions

Arne H. Tonning

Written by

Alliance Venture

Alliance Venture is a Nordic venture capital firm investing in exceptional early-stage tech companies and purpose-driven founders with global ambitions. Offices in Oslo, Stockholm and Palo Alto.

Arne H. Tonning

Written by

Alliance Venture

Alliance Venture is a Nordic venture capital firm investing in exceptional early-stage tech companies and purpose-driven founders with global ambitions. Offices in Oslo, Stockholm and Palo Alto.

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