Supported by the great performance of Icebreaker 1 teams, we have raised €120M more to continue our work supporting founders from day 0.
We completed the final closing of our second fund at €100M and also raised a separate €20M Opportunity Fund that we will use to continue investing in our fund 1 portfolio companies.
The teams we backed in our first fund over 2017–2019 have so far turned €6M of initial investment tickets into €63M in follow-on funding led by later stage investors. That amount is growing on a monthly and sometimes even weekly basis. The latest highlights have been Flowhaven raising $16M from Sapphire Sport and GFC, Sellforte raising $4.8M from Sonae IM and Bonnier Ventures and Osgenic raising €5M with Springvest.
We keep meeting strong, amazing teams with deep insights into the problems they are solving, and a vision of the future they want to be part of building. Partnering with them very early and working hard to build a solid ground for fast growth together has shown strong results. With the new €100M fund we continue with the same focus; no stage is too early for us to invest and we want to support founders from the day they start thinking about founding a company. Our community supports founders even before they know what they want to build or have a team…
The most important thing for us is how well we can support early teams. So far, 64% of our angel stage teams and 65% of pre-seed stage teams have succeeded in raising a successful “3x3” follow-on funding round within 24 months. (Read more on how we calculate the success rate at the end of the article)
Angel stage (<€200k initial investment)
Angel Success Rate
Pre-seed stage (€200–800k initial investment)
Pre-seed Success Rate
These are the numbers we live by and what we strive to do. We want to be the best at supporting companies from 0 to Seed, meaning angel- and pre-seed stage companies.
We’ve gone quite broad with our investments from day one, focusing on strong founding teams with complementary skills (or helping build those), strong technology and global markets. The paths are quite different, but strong teams are able to create the future and capitalize on changes in the market.
So what do we do?
We’ve created what we call our “portfolio development practice”, its cornerstones being our systems for Founder Development, Hiring, Growth Program and how we support in planning and strategy. We collaborate internally, sharing knowledge and learning from our mistakes and successes. In addition to the investment team we have a core operational growth team, and we connect with the best external parties for specific topics in hiring, branding, law, etc.
So what are the key learnings so far for founders?
Team development. What we think is most important, is the development of the founding teams and from there the whole startup’s team. When founders can learn rapidly and accelerate different aspects of company building, nothing can stop them. We’re heavily focused on this at Icebreaker. It’s not easy or obvious but something we are getting better at. One thing we work hard on is supporting teams going through the “founder’s dilemma”, also identified by the founder of Flowhaven, Kalle Törmä: “When a company and its team grows, you need to continually reassess how you are spending your time and avoid becoming a bottleneck.” Read more about Kalle’s journey here. Many funds focus on investing in serial entrepreneurs who have demonstrated company-building skills. We’re not afraid to back first-time entrepreneurs and supporting them in developing those skills.
Growth doesn’t matter. Ok, funny right, of course, growth matters. But what matters much more is learning from/with your customers and growing your team. It’s not always obvious where to focus, but it makes sense to take the time to figure it out. Growth at all costs usually ends up costing you your business, because you lose sight of who you actually should have as a customer and what is most important for them.
Hiring, hiring, hiring. Even from the very beginning, taking the time to connect with people and focusing on building a great team is never time wasted. You need to build as well and have the necessary skills for that on your team. Juho Kallio from IPRally shared some of his recruitment learnings touching on the benefits of writing meaningful content and the rationale behind always keeping your hiring pipeline open in this Icebreaker.vc article.
We’re very thankful for the support of the investors in our funds, our Limited Partners (“LPs”) for supporting us. We’re committed to providing great returns for them and supporting in building strong and sustainable tech companies from day 0.
*This is usually too early for companies to aim for profitability without impeding growth. We invest in companies that aim for global markets, which means building global teams. Hence they need funding.
How we calculate our success rate:
Success rate: Raised / Total that have raised
The number of companies that have made a successful 3x fundraise (3x on invested amount and 3x valuation)
Total that have raised:
We calculate all investments made, subtracted by companies where the initial fundraise was made less than 18 months ago.
-> We expect the numbers to get better as there are several companies that we believe will still have a successful fundraise even though their last fundraise was >18 months ago.