icebreakervc
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icebreakervc

Life at Icebreaker.vc

Icebreaker.vc is a team of 16 individuals from different backgrounds brought together by a passion to support phenomenal founders to take their ideas forward and build the world’s strongest tech companies. Since 2017 we have invested in over 70 (and counting) amazing teams from Finland, Estonia and Sweden. In the center of everything we do is people; founders, their teams and how we can support them to take their visions from zero to seed and beyond.

In addition to investing in and supporting idea- and pre-seed stage founders, we focus on supporting pre-founders and current operators — aspiring entrepreneurs and experienced professionals, who we believe can unleash their potential when given the right kind of resources, environment and people. This we do through our community which is a network of hundreds of driven professionals all passionate about founding, building or joining tech startups. The idea of Icebreaker Community is first and foremost to bring people together offline and online (mostly online during the past 1.5 years) in events such as the Pre-Founder Project, Icebreaker afterworks and dinners.

As we strongly believe in taking bets on people and unleashing their potential and that’s why we also run a Growth Hacking Internship program where we train motivated individuals from various backgrounds to be the future growth leaders. During the two years we’ve been running the program we’ve witnessed amazing success stories and found great talent to help our portfolio founders to accelerate their growth to the next level.

Who are we?

We are a team of passionate, creative and driven people who won’t take things too seriously. We value different backgrounds and perspectives and that can be seen in our current team which is a combination of entrepreneurs, techies, growth hackers, an ex-restaurant worker, an ex-investment banker etc.

We are..

  • Aleksi, Lasse, Leo & Riku; Four General Partners with entrepreneurial track records and several exits
  • Caroline, Lukas, Rasmus, Tunde, Ying-Ying; Investment team of five individuals all with unique take on finding the next unicorn
  • Portfolio support team of three: Head of Growth Mari, Head of Community Kristian and Head of Software Jesse all bringing their own magic to our portfolio development
  • Internal operations marketing multitasker Anni
  • Head of Art Tiitus — because who wouldn’t need an in-house artist painting dogs and sausages??
  • Chairperson Mikko and co-founder & advisor Teddie
From top left to right: Lasse Lehtinen, Aleksi Partanen, Riku Seppälä, Leo Giertz, Rasmus Klärck, Ying Ying Huang, Tunde Adekeye, Lukas Malmberg, Caroline Gattner, Mari Luukkainen, Kristian Pentti, Jesse Tinell, Anni Pyhäjoki, Teddie Wardi & Mikko-Jussi Suonenlahti.

Our culture

Our culture is not just fancy words; our culture is built on what we actually do and these are our five key culture attributes:

I Autonomy & Ownership
Autonomy is truly an awesome perk! It means you are able to decide the pace and structure of your work without anyone lurking over your shoulder. There is no baby-sitting nor hand-holding which means that you are trusted to get your work done and ask for help and support if needed. Autonomy, however, does not mean you are left alone — think of autonomy as flexibility on steroids; it gives you a ton of freedom with a sense of making an actual impact.

II Hunger to Win
Not that anyone particularly likes to lose but we really love winning. It doesn’t mean we are aggressive or will do anything to win.It means we have a shared ambition to win and in everything we do, we aim for improvement as a team and as individuals. Someone described it as being on a grand mission together. We want to be the best in supporting the teams we invest in so that they will become the world’s best companies — and winning = being the best.

III Founders First
Founders and their companies always come first. At the very core of our culture is how we proactively work towards supporting the portfolio the best way possible. Sounds great, right, but what does that mean in practice? It means we support whatever support is needed with; from OKR-setting to building narrative to hiring pipeline to singing background vocals in karaoke. We also pride ourselves on taking bets on people and having an ability to see the potential in founders and their ideas.

IV Openness & Always Learning
We are all about ideas over hierarchy. We are working hard to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas and opening discussions on different topics. We talk a lot about the importance of psychological safety and how no one should ever feel like they couldn’t voice their opinions. In terms of the always learning part, we proactively share our learnings — whether successes or failures — we try to turn everything into a useful piece of information.

V Wellbeing
This is pretty self explanatory; of course we want everyone to be well, we’re not monsters. But wanting something and actually doing something are two different things. We have been talking about our wellbeing initiative since 2018 but we do more than just talk. Some of the concrete actions we have taken are:

  • Wide insurance packages and health care for all full-time employees
  • Company-paid mental coaches and gym memberships
  • Wellbeing included in our OKRs

Now, does all of this work perfectly — No, but we keep improving it.

Our offices

We have a total of three unique office spaces in Helsinki, Tallinn and Stockholm. Our Helsinki office — the Icebreaker HQ — is located at Maria01 campus and was partly turned into an art gallery after the pandemic drove us all to work from home. Some of us now back working from the office and get to enjoy the amazing art on daily basis. In addition to being home to amazing art the Helsinki office provides a great environment to host events for our portfolio teams and our community.

Our Stockholm office is located in the beautiful Södermalm neighborhood and although still a bit of work in progress the plan for the space is to make it the Icebreaker hub of Sweden where our team-Sweden can work but also host events for our Swedish founders and community members,

Last but not the least we have our Tallinn office located in the heart of Old Tallinn. Due to the pandemic we haven’t had a chance to host a proper housewarming party yet but the office is fully functional and our Principal Rasmus is making sure all team members will have a wholesome breakfast when visiting the Tallinn office.

What are we looking for in a candidate?

Your background or previous work experience doesn’t really matter to us that much. Obviously it’s great if you have some previous experience with early-stage tech startups but it isn’t a must-have. We are looking for proactive self-starters who are passionate about entrepreneurs and technology. We want curious, enthusiastic and creative people who aren’t afraid to execute.

A non-exhaustive list of what kind of traits and qualities we’re looking for:

  • Willingness to learn
  • Creativity and analytical mindset to solve problems
  • Empathy and curiosity
  • Ability to embrace chaos and fast moving environment
  • Team player with good interpersonal skills
  • Open mindedness, willingness to collaborate and talk with people
  • Desire for personal growth and development

Perks and Benefits

  • Great office spaces in Helsinki, Tallinn and Stockholm
  • Possibility to work fully or partially remotely
  • Superb quarterly off-sites — think for example Japanese Spa in Stockholm’s archipelago, Finnish summer cabin retreat with great food and karaoke.
  • Excellent healthcare benefits
  • Ownership, responsibility and freedom
  • A supportive environment to develop yourself
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Fun and passionate colleagues
  • A unique opportunity in an exciting, growing industry

We want to work with the best people, regardless of their background so if you’re keen to join our mission, you’ll fit right in.

Open Roles

We don’t currently have open positions.

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An early-stage VC focused on idea-stage and pre-seed teams in Finland, Sweden and Estonia. This is where we share our latest news, portfolio insights and tips and trick on fueling your startup’s growth. Find out more on icebreaker.vc.

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Icebreaker.vc

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