EQT Ventures celebrates its 5th Anniversary!
Five years ago today, we announced the launch of EQT Ventures. Our first fund was €566m, and our byline was Half VC, Half startup. In 2019 we raised fund two with total commitments of €660m. It’s been a roller coaster ride so far — just like it is for most of the start-ups that we team up with. That’s exactly how we like it: we come from the start-up world, we thrive in the unknown, and we’re passionate about iterating our way to success, just like the founders we want to team up with.
We started with a simple mission: we want to be the kind of VC we would have wanted ourselves when we were in the start-up trenches. We’re now 5 years into this journey, and we’ve been taking time to reflect and put some of our deeply held principles on paper:
1. We come from the trenches. We’re founders and operators at heart and there’s nothing we love more than working with founders in their own startup journeys.
2. We facilitate positive change. We want to help make the world more equal, in both opportunity and success.
3. We use data to train our gut, just like the start-ups we work with. We’ve built our own data-driven investment platform, Motherbrain, to constantly use the modern tech and data stack to improve everything we do at EQT Ventures.
4. We collaborate as a team, every day, to help the founders and companies we back become global success stories. When founders win, we win, and our awesome limited partners get extraordinary returns on their investments. With a founder-centric approach, we can keep this flywheel going for decades to come.
5. We’re transparent and respectful.
It’s not always easy to live up these principles, but we try our absolute hardest to do so at all times. Like many VCs, we struggle with imposter syndrome sometimes, but when we step back and look over our first 5 years, we’re proud of how far we’ve come as a fund. Here are some highlights:
- We’ve teamed up with 80 companies. We led the investment in 78 of them, and in each of those investments we had high conviction that the team would build the global leader in their market. Of the 50 companies that we backed in Fund I:
- 28 (56%) have succeeded in raising uprounds from new investors. Many more companies in our portfolio will be joining this group in the coming years!
- 6 (12%) have been acquired by larger companies, including life-changing deals for the founders of Small Giant Games ($700m exit to Zynga), Peakon ($700m exit to WorkDay) and 3D Hubs ($280m exit to ProtoLabs).
- 4 (8%) were companies where Motherbrain was pivotal in the sourcing process. Of these 4, one has been acquired (Peakon) and one is a unicorn (Handshake) so far.
- 4 (8%) have shut down. As operators, it pains us when even a single company needs to shut down, but this is, unfortunately, the nature of start-up life — without taking risks, there is no reward. We’ll always do our utmost to get the best outcome for the team, whatever happens.
In our second fund (vintage 2019, €660m), we’ve already backed 30 companies, but most of them are still at the very beginnings of their journeys. Some are already showing signs of break-out success, and we are optimistic about the years to come.
Looking toward the next 5 years, we predict that EQT Ventures will:
- Back 100+ early-stage companies, and invest billions of euros and tens of thousands of hours to enable mission-driven founders to go for their dreams.
- Always be a Lead Investor. We are high-conviction investors, and when we find a company and a team we want to back, we want to be a meaningful part of their journey.
- Double down on Series A, but keep investing at Seed and Series B. We’re a multi-stage fund, but with our partnership structure and operational focus, we think we can be most helpful at the Series A. We are here for Founders raising €2m to €50m.
- Optimize for founder success, which we believe is the precursor to our own, and our LPs’, success.
- Continue our generalist approach to investing: we want to back tech founders’ dreams and plans, regardless of sector or industry.
- Be a leader in diversity and inclusion: we proactively want to make the tech industry more diverse and inclusive, and we want to lead by example with our influence.
Thank you to all the Founders, teams, LPs, partners, co-investors, and EQT colleagues who have been a part of our journey for these first 5 years, and we hope to continue the success with you for decades to come.
// The EQT Ventures Partnership
Ali, Ashley, Henrik, Lars, Laura, Ted and the rest of the EQT Ventures team