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THURSDAY • 22.05.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 Nanordica Medical Raises €1.75M: Estonian startup Nanordica Medical, which develops antibacterial wound care products, raised €1.75M led by Specialist VC, with Superangel and Amalfi participating. Founded in 2019, they created a wound dressing using copper and silver nanoparticles. It heals wounds faster than current silver-based dressings. Plans include a larger trial in 2024 and launching a human product in 2025.

🇪🇪 CARÁ Health Raises €620K: Estonian startup CARÁ Health secured €620K to enhance maternity support services and expand into the DACH region. The round was led by Tera Ventures with participation from StartupIst Ventures.

🇪🇪 Zero Terrain Granted €1.98M: Estonian company Zero Terrain received a €1.98M grant for its pumped-hydro energy storage project in Paldiski. This initiative, supported by the Estonian government, will develop the country's first long-duration energy storage plant, significantly enhancing Estonia's renewable energy capabilities.

🇪🇪 Plural Raises Additional €100M: Estonian venture capital firm Plural, founded by Sten Tamkivi and Taavet Hinrikus, has raised an additional €100M for its fund, bringing the total to €500M. This extra capital will be used to support existing portfolio companies. Plural focuses on early-stage European startups in AI, frontier tech, consumer, climate, and energy sectors.

🇱🇹 Pixevia Raises €1.5M: Lithuanian startup Pixevia secured €1.5M to expand its AI-powered, cashier-less stores in the US and Europe. The funds will support new stores in high-traffic areas like sports arenas and airports.

🇱🇹 Evergrowth Merges with Apolo: Lithuanian startup Evergrowth has merged with Apolo to combine their expertise in SaaS and AI technologies. This merger aims to enhance their market presence and service offerings.

🇫🇮 Enifer Raises €36M: Finnish biotech Enifer secured €36M to build a factory in Kirkkonummi for producing PEKILO fungi-based protein. Investors include Taaleri Bioindustry Fund I, Nordic Foodtech VC, Voima Ventures, Valio, and Laine Holding, along with loans from the Finnish Climate Fund and Finnvera. The factory will produce 3,000 tons of protein annually.

🇫🇮/🇬🇧 Reactive Technologies Raises $25M: UK-Finnish company Reactive Technologies raised $25M in a Series D round to expand its grid stability solutions globally. Investors include Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Eaton, and the European Investment Bank.

🇫🇮 QA Tech Raises €3M: Finnish QA Tech raised €3M in seed funding to develop its software quality assurance solutions. The round was led by Nordic VC firms.

🇫🇮 Nosto Secures Over €7M: Finnish company Nosto received over €7M from Nordic Secondary Fund to enhance its AI-powered Commerce Experience Platform (CXP). This platform helps brands and retailers improve online revenue through personalized customer experiences, supporting over 1,500 brands globally.

🇸🇪 Leya Raises $10.5M: Swedish startup Leya secured $10.5M to advance its AI technology for legal work. The funding will help expand their services, aiming to streamline legal processes with AI integration.

Baltic Public Markets Update

Week 20 in the Baltic financial markets includes Nordic Fibreboard continuing its takeover offer period, and Rīgas kuģu būvētava presenting its 12-month interim report. Amber Beverage Holding and Storent Holding release their audited annual and 3-month interim reports respectively. TextMagic and Rīgas kuģu būvētava hold Extraordinary General Meetings. LHV Group, Enefit Green, Novaturas, and others announce sales figures, annual meetings, and interim reports. Multiple companies, including EfTEN United Property Fund and KN Energies, declare dividend dates and ex-dates.

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

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🏢 London Retains Top Spot for European Financial Investors; Paris Ranks Second: London continues to be the preferred destination for financial investors in Europe, maintaining its position as the primary hub for investment activities. Despite Brexit uncertainties, the city's robust financial infrastructure and global connectivity bolster its appeal. Paris follows closely, emerging as the second-choice destination for investors, driven by efforts to enhance its attractiveness through regulatory reforms and infrastructure development. This ranking underscores the enduring significance of London and the growing competitiveness of Paris in the European financial landscape.

💻 Microsoft Introduces AMD as Alternative to Nvidia for AI Processors in Cloud Services: Microsoft announces the integration of AMD processors as an alternative to Nvidia for its cloud customers' AI computing needs. This move offers customers greater flexibility and choice in selecting hardware for their AI workloads, potentially fostering competition and innovation in the cloud computing market. Microsoft's decision reflects a strategic effort to diversify its offerings and cater to the evolving demands of AI-driven applications, expanding the options available to cloud users for optimized performance and cost efficiency.

🗣️ Scarlett Johansson Alleges OpenAI Used Her Voice Without Consent: Scarlett Johansson accuses OpenAI of using her voice without permission. The actor raises concerns about the unauthorized utilization of her voice for AI-generated content, highlighting potential legal and ethical implications. Johansson's statement brings attention to the complexities surrounding intellectual property rights in AI development and the need for transparent practices in utilizing celebrity voices for synthetic media.

🏈 Private Equity Groups Push for Stake in College Sports Amid Critical Juncture: As college sports face pivotal challenges, private equity groups are actively pursuing investment opportunities in this sector. With shifting dynamics and financial strains exacerbated by the pandemic, private equity firms see potential for lucrative returns by acquiring stakes in collegiate athletics programs. This trend reflects broader industry changes and raises questions about the long-term implications of commercialization on the integrity and governance of college sports.

📊 European Private Equity Groups Extend Asset Holding Periods: European private equity firms are facing pressure to prolong the duration of their asset holdings. This shift reflects challenges in the investment landscape, potentially influenced by factors such as market volatility, regulatory changes, and economic uncertainties. As private equity groups adapt their strategies to navigate these conditions, longer asset holding periods could become a prevalent trend in the European market, impacting investment dynamics and portfolio management approaches.

WEDNESDAY • 22.05.2024

Akim Arhipov:

Hi all Latititude59 members 😊 We meet today at 12:30 on the venue, backyard. Let’s enjoy the drinks, fresh air and sun ☀️ Look for a guy in orange jacket!
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SATURDAY • 18.05.2024

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FRIDAY • 17.05.2024

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Thanks for your huge interest in Modash!

We still have some room. Join the syndicate - first come first served.

👉 Investment memo: https://shorturl.at/gpIT9 👉 Indication of Interest: https://tally.so/r/mDVXVE

THURSDAY • 16.05.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 Vool Raises €300K for EV Charging Solutions: Estonian startup Vool has raised €300K to advance its electric vehicle charging solutions. The investment will help Vool expand its product offerings and support its growth in the EV charging market.

🇪🇪 Skeleton Technologies to Build Factory in France: Estonian company Skeleton Technologies will invest €600 million over five years to build a supercapacitor plant in Toulouse, France. Production is expected to start in 2027, enhancing their battery technology capabilities and expanding their European presence.

🇱🇹 Liledu Secures €500K in Funding: Lithuanian toy subscription service Liledu has raised €500K to expand its operations. The company offers a subscription service for educational toys, aiming to enhance children's learning experiences through play.

🇸🇪 ArgusEye Raises €2.8M: Stockholm’s ArgusEye secured €2.8 million to enhance its Auga sensor system, which uses LSPR technology to improve bioprocessing. This investment will help expand their platform into upstream bioprocessing, transforming biotherapeutic development.

🇸🇪 Grasp Raises €1.7 Million: Stockholm-based Grasp secured €1.7 million to enhance its AI assistant platform for investment banks and consultants. Launched in December 2023, Grasp’s platform automates complex tasks and has quickly gained traction in 15 countries.

🇫🇮 Gorilla Capital Invests in BeiZ Oy (Lola Panda): Helsinki-based Gorilla Capital has invested in BeiZ Oy, the developer of the Lola Panda educational games. With over 40 million downloads in 12 languages, these apps make learning fun for children. The funding will support the new Lola World app to expand their educational reach.

🇫🇮 Voima Ventures Co-Leads €2.8M Investment in ArgusEye: Nordic early-stage investor Voima Ventures and Eir Ventures co-led a €2.8 million investment in Stockholm-based ArgusEye. The funding will support the development of ArgusEye's nanoplasmonic detection sensor systems for real-time monitoring of biological processes, aiding in the creation of new biomedicines.

🇱🇻 AM Craft Secures €600K Pre-Seed Funding: Riga-based AM Craft raised €600K to launch a 3D printing hub in Dubai for aerospace-certified parts. Led by Change Ventures, this hub is part of their plan to create a global network for rapid, sustainable part sourcing.

🇱🇻 Cellbox Labs Raises €935K: Latvian biotech startup Cellbox Labs has raised €935K in a pre-seed round to develop its cell-based assays for drug testing and research. The funding will accelerate product development and support the company's growth in the biotech sector.

🇱🇻 LongeVC Joins $2.35M Round for CatenaBio: Latvian venture capital firm LongeVC has joined a $2.35M seed round for CatenaBio, a startup focused on developing AI-driven drug discovery technologies. The investment will help CatenaBio advance its research and development efforts.

Baltic Public Markets Update

Week 19 in the Baltic financial markets features numerous financial activities. Nordic Fibreboard continues its takeover offer period, while Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė proceeds with a government securities auction. Amber Beverage Holding releases its audited annual report. CrossChem, Baltic Horizon Fund, UAB Legal Balance, and Banga Ltd make coupon payments. Various companies, including Tallink Grupp, Coop Pank, and Merko Ehitus, hold annual general meetings. Interim reports will be released by companies such as Infortar, DelfinGroup, and Tallinna Sadam, with several companies also announcing dividend ex-dates.

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

🔍 Google Unveils AI-Enhanced Search Experience at Google I/O 2024: During Google I/O 2024, Google showcased its revamped search experience, infused with artificial intelligence (AI). The upgraded search engine aims to deliver more personalized and contextually relevant results to users. By leveraging AI algorithms, Google intends to enhance user satisfaction and engagement with its search platform. Additionally, Google introduced new features such as improved voice search capabilities and enhanced visual search, signaling its commitment to innovation in the search space and its ongoing efforts to maintain its position as a leader in the industry.

💻 OpenAI Launches New AI Model and Desktop Version of ChatGPT: OpenAI has introduced a new AI model and desktop version of its popular language model, ChatGPT. This latest release aims to bring the power of AI-driven conversational agents directly to users' desktops, enabling seamless interaction with AI assistants for various tasks. The new model incorporates advancements in natural language processing and understanding, enhancing its ability to generate coherent and contextually relevant responses. By making ChatGPT more accessible through a desktop version, OpenAI seeks to empower users with AI-driven capabilities for productivity, creativity, and entertainment.

📊 Global Investment Trends Reflect Confidence Amid Rate Cut Speculations: In the week ending, investors displayed confidence in global equity funds, driven by expectations of Federal Reserve interest rate cuts following a softer U.S. employment report. European equity funds led the surge with consecutive weeks of net buying, while sectoral equity funds experienced outflows. Concurrently, debt funds and money market funds attracted significant inflows, signaling a cautious yet optimistic sentiment. In commodities, precious metal funds saw withdrawals, contrasting with a slight uptick in emerging market equity fund purchases, indicating a nuanced investment landscape amidst evolving economic uncertainties.

WEDNESDAY • 15.05.2024

🙌Hey everyone!

Just a quick update: our workshop “Organizing the Sale Journey of Your Angel Position" was rescheduled to: 📅 Date: 29.05.2024 ⏰ Time: 17:00 ⏳ Duration: 60-90 minutes

💌 Invitations are in your inboxes. If you didn't receive one, please send me a direct message so I can fix this for you.

Thanks for your understanding and see you there!

TUESDAY • 14.05.2024

Henrik Roonemaa:

Startup people everywhere, here's a question for you 👉👉👉 If you had the chance, what would you like to ask from the prime minister of Estonia?

Find out more
  • Well, now is your chance. Me and Taavi Kotka are recording our podcast's episode LIVE on Latitude59 conference in Tallinn and our guest will be Kaja Kallas, the prime minister of Estonia.
  • The prime minister has agreed to answer questions about startups, economy, the future and everything coming from you guys, the community, both in Estonia and globally. Think of it as 🔥🔥 what I have always wanted to ask the prime minister of the world's best country for startups but have not had the chance 🔥🔥. Let's make it challenging and interesting.
  • So, now is the time to send us the questions / topics. Post them here as comments or if you'd rather do it privately, send them to me as a message or e-mail at henrik.roonemaa@gmail.com.
  • If you're at Latitude59, come see us live on Friday, May 24th 10.00AM-10.45AM at the Podcast Track powered by SEB stage 👍👍 The event will be held in English.
  • And of course, please SHARE this post so that we will get flooded with questions from every corner of the world and why not beyond 🚀🛰️👽🪐🌌

Thank you and let's rock!

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Alvar Lumberg:

Proves to show zero interest rates boosted investments

MONDAY • 13.05.2024

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Shahab Anbarjafari:

Simply amazing. Now challenges are higher and even for investors. Now we should be more careful on durability of startups against quick updates. I think now life become more bearable as technology is mostly just an enabler. It is user experience and business idea which will start to role and I think it will be a bit more difficult to become unicorn also. Beauty of 0’s and 1’s
Summary

Summary of the announcement and demo:

Introducing GPT4o (‘o’ not ‘0’) which is faster and cheaper than 4.0Turbo.

The ground breaking capabilities: •⁠ ⁠Real-time multimodal interaction (audio and video) •⁠ ⁠Audio synthesizing with embedded emotion •⁠ More variety of voices as a result of embedding emotion •⁠ ⁠Vision based facial expression analysis •⁠ ⁠Better code interpretation •⁠ ⁠Real-time code assessment and trouble shooting •⁠ ⁠Real-time language translation between 50 different languages

The most important part is all for free users and paid users will just have way more quote of use (as it was for previous versions)

API of GPT4o is also available so it can be embedded into solutions.

I was playing with GPT4o API and here is the result of GPT4o vs GPT4Turbo:

This is summary of EU AI Act from www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/documen…4-0138_EN.pdf with simple prompt: What is this document about?

GPT4 o: This document is about a Regulation aimed at improving the functioning of the internal market and promoting the uptake of human-centric and trustworthy artificial intelligence (AI) while ensuring a high level of protection of health, safety, fundamental rights, democracy, the rule of law, and environmental protection against the harmful effects of AI systems in the Union. It lays down harmonised rules for the placing on the market, the putting into service, and the use of AI systems in the Union; prohibits certain AI practices; and specifies requirements for high-risk AI systems and obligations for operators of such systems.

GPT4 Turbo: This document is about a regulation aimed at improving the functioning of the internal market and promoting the uptake of human-centric and trustworthy artificial intelligence (AI), while ensuring a high level of protection of health, safety, fundamental rights enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, including democracy, the rule of law, and environmental protection, against the harmful effects of AI systems in the Union. It also aims to support innovation. The regulation lays down harmonized rules for the placing on the market, the putting into service, and the use of AI systems in the Union; includes prohibitions of certain AI practices; and sets specific requirements for high-risk AI systems along with obligations for operators of such systems.

Full Video Version

SUNDAY • 12.05.2024

Valter Võhma:

We are having a US market entry seminar at our office, if you have any portfolio companies interested in the US market, welcome to share the info. Two US lawyers are coming to Tallinn and will do a 1,5 hour seminar.
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SATURDAY • 11.05.2024

Akim Arhipov: Stories from TeamBlind

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Gert Lõhmus:

Hmm, interesting. I think this is more emotion. My perspective on this. If we look at the people who work in OpenAI, they have the best. They are allowed to use the MS infrastructure and have the best assistance there. Of course, we can challenge that to an extent, given that Microsoft is building and launching their own models. Let's be honest. A lot of use cases do not need AI at all. 😀

FRIDAY • 10.05.2024

🫡 New members incoming!

1.⁠ ⁠🇪🇪 Emilie Toomela - https://www.linkedin.com/in/emilie-toomela/ 2.⁠ ⁠🇱🇹 Viktor Vostrikov - https://www.linkedin.com/in/vostrikov-viktor/ 3.⁠ ⁠⁠🇪🇪 Michael Velenko - https://www.linkedin.com/in/mvelenko/ 4.⁠ ⁠⁠🇸🇬 Tony Verb - https://www.linkedin.com/in/tonyverb/

Welcome!

THURSDAY • 09.05.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 Bolt Secures €220M Credit Facility: Estonia's mobility unicorn, Bolt, has secured a €220M revolving credit facility to expand its sustainable transportation solutions, aiming to reduce car dependency and foster more eco-friendly urban mobility options.

🇪🇪 Stargate Hydrogen Raises €42M for Green Hydrogen: Stargate Hydrogen, from Tallinn, secures €42 million to advance its ceramic-based electrolyser technology, aiming to reduce the cost of green hydrogen production significantly.

🇱🇹 TransferGo Gains $10M for Asia-Pacific Expansion: Vilnius-based TransferGo has raised $10 million from Taiwania Capital to expand its money transfer services into the Asia-Pacific region, following a year of significant growth and profitability.

🇱🇹 Contrarian Ventures Invests in Ember: Vilnius-based Contrarian Ventures has joined a $14 million Series A round for Ember, a Scottish startup building an all-electric intercity bus network, aiming to expand sustainable transportation across Scotland and the UK.

🇸🇪 Stilfold Receives €429.3K for MetaFold Academy: Stockholm-based Stilfold has launched MetaFold Academy with a €429.3K grant from the EIT, aiming to boost green manufacturing in the automotive sector across Sweden, Greece, Italy, and Hungary.

🇫🇮 Vexlum Secures €2.4M Grant for Quantum Tech: Tampere-based Vexlum has received a €2.4 million grant from the EIC to enhance its semiconductor laser platform for advancing quantum computing and ultra-precision optical atomic clocks.

🇫🇮 Maire Secures €450K for Demand Analytics: Helsinki's Maire has raised €450K for its predictive analytics platform, providing online demand insights to help businesses optimize their product strategies. The funding supports further development and international expansion.

🇫🇮 Kvanted Leads €2.65M Round for Resoniks: Helsinki-based Kvanted leads a €2.65M investment in Resoniks, a The Hague-based startup using AI and acoustics for quality control in manufacturing. The funding will accelerate growth, enhance product offerings, and expand the team.

Baltic Public Markets Update

Week 18 in the Baltic financial markets features a host of significant events, with many companies presenting their financial results and holding key meetings. Rīgas kuģu būvētava and AgroCredit Latvia continue to make their audited annual reports available. Nordic Fibreboard has announced a takeover offer period. A flurry of annual general meetings will take place, notably for Airobot Technologies, Kauno energija, Ekspress Grupp, and a substantial number of other companies like Šiaulių bankas, Utenos trikotažas, and INVL Technology. Additionally, Šiaulių bankas, Eleving Group, and Grenardi Group are involved in various financial transactions including coupon payments and interim reports. The week will conclude with further coupon payments by Eco Baltia and Integre Trans, and interim reports from companies like Tallinna Vesi and Tallink Grupp, along with the continued government securities auction by Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė.

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

🛴 Bolt Expands U.S. Scooter Operations Amid IPO Preparations: Estonian company Bolt Technology OU, known for its ride-hailing and delivery services, is preparing to launch scooter rentals in major U.S. cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, and Austin. As part of its expansion, Bolt is hiring general managers to oversee these operations and foster relationships with city officials, aiming to enhance e-scooter rider experiences. This move sets Bolt up against competitors like Lime, which is also expanding its fleet with a $55 million investment this year. Both companies are gearing up for potential public offerings, navigating a challenging landscape marked by regulatory hurdles and competitive pressures.

📉 Sweden's Riksbank Cuts Rates to Spur Economy: Sweden's Riksbank has reduced its key interest rate to 3.75% from 4.00%, marking its first rate cut since 2016 and planning two more later in the year if inflation remains mild. This cautious approach aims to stimulate Sweden's economy, which has been under pressure, with a particular concern about a weaker crown impacting inflation. The Riksbank is moving carefully, with broader economic challenges and the potential risks of a devalued currency guiding its policy decisions.

🔍 OpenAI Develops Web-Searching ChatGPT Feature: OpenAI is working on a new feature for ChatGPT that allows it to search the web and provide sourced answers, potentially setting it up as a direct competitor to Google and AI search startup Perplexity. This development would enable ChatGPT to answer queries with web-sourced information, complete with citations to reliable sources like Wikipedia and relevant blogs. An interesting aspect of this feature includes the integration of images that correspond to user queries, such as diagrams for instructional responses. This move is part of OpenAI's broader strategy to enhance ChatGPT’s functionality amidst increasing competition from other tech firms and AI-driven search initiatives.

🌍 Global Clean Energy Milestone Achieved: Last year marked a significant achievement in global clean energy as wind and solar energy production propelled renewable sources to account for 30% of the world’s electricity. This surge, detailed in Ember's Global Electricity Review, indicates a pivotal shift towards clean energy, with a predicted decline in fossil fuel generation starting in 2024. The transition is supported by robust growth in solar energy, which has been the fastest-growing electricity source for 19 consecutive years. Despite high global emissions, the boom in renewables has brought the electric sector's carbon intensity to an all-time low. As renewables push fossil fuel use into decline, the report anticipates even more substantial decreases in fossil fuel reliance, coupled with an increasing role for solar in the global energy mix.

WEDNESDAY • 08.05.2024

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Kustaa Valtonen: https://lu.ma/ozo0mo8u

TUESDAY • 07.05.2024

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Akim Arhipov: Testing Elsavie before we ship their great offer to all fff members. Thank you Britta-Liisa Ait⁩ to make it happen!

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MONDAY • 06.05.2024

fff team:

We have a special online workshop coming up:

🎤 Workshop: "Organizing the Sale Journey of Your Angel Position" 🗣 Speakers: •⁠ ⁠⁨Akim Arhipov⁩ will guide us through the process of organizing the sale •⁠ ⁠Allan Martinson⁩ will share his extensive experience, having been involved in over 100 M&As.

📅 Date: 16.05.2024 ⏰ Time: 17:00 ⏳ Duration: 60-90 minutes

👥 This workshop is a perfect opportunity to understand the detailed steps and strategies involved in exiting your angel investment position.

💌 Invitations: Check your inbox shortly for the invite—details on how to join will be included there.

🎥 We will also record the workshop for those who might miss the live session.

🔔 Set your reminders and prepare your questions!

SATURDAY • 04.05.2024

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Shahab Anbarjafari: In short, this work says the fusion of NLP and GenAI is reshaping the landscape of the investment industry. By providing the tools to effectively analyse unstructured data, these technologies are enhancing the investment process, offering unprecedented opportunities for innovation and growth. To me, it is crucial for investment professionals to understand these technologies, leveraging them to build more robust, efficient, and informed investment strategies. 🙏🏻

Please read this work 😃

More:

The integration of advanced NLP and GenAI technologies is transforming the investment industry. GenAI models, such as OpenAI's ChatGPT, Google’s Gemini, and Anthropic’s Claude, have introduced a new era of efficiency and accessibility in data analysis. These models have the ability to understand context and generate human-like text, providing invaluable assistance in processing and interpreting vast amounts of unstructured data. This capability is particularly beneficial in the investment process, where decision-makers rely on timely and accurate information to identify opportunities and mitigate risks.

A recent survey conducted by the CFA Institute in July 2023 highlighted the rapid adoption of GenAI tools within the investment community. According to the survey, 35% of participants have already embraced GenAI technologies, underscoring the growing importance of these tools in the industry. Furthermore, 18% of respondents indicated that ChatGPT has empowered them to undertake projects they would have otherwise outsourced to specialists, while 12% stated that it has influenced their decisions on whether to develop solutions in-house (build) or procure them from external providers (buy).

The advancements in AI and NLP are technical achievements and they represent a democratization of technology, enabling even those with limited programming expertise to leverage powerful AI tools for investment analysis and decision-making. This shift is changing the traditional dynamics of the "buy vs. build" debate, encouraging experimentation and the exploration of new models and solutions.

Unstructured Data and AI.pdf2109.2KB

FRIDAY • 03.05.2024

📩 You have all received our Weekly Deals Letter yesterday, following up here as we as we have new offer up for Syndication - Modash. 10m€ of the round is full and 1m€ up for grabs. fff.vc has a unique chance to participate.

☝️Modash has been on a remarkable journey of 100% organic growth. Their creator partnerships and payments platform has reached $5M in subscription ARR, with a 101% NRR, serving over 1.2K paying customers, including Farfetch, Montblanc, and Victoria’s Secret. To scale even faster, Modash launched a service that helps brands to pay creators for 3-5% fee.

☝️With the Series A round secured, Modash is targeting $30M in ARR within two years (3x growth YoY). This marks an important stepping stone towards Modash’s big vision of becoming the leading infrastructure hub for the creator economy.

👉 Investment memo: https://shorturl.at/gpIT9 👉 Indication of Interest: https://tally.so/r/mDVXVE

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Avery Schrader's quote:

Hello! 👋

If I was you, there is a few things I’d want to know.

  1. Influencer marketing is big enough to build a multi-hundred million revenue company in. But Modash’s ambitions are much greater than that.

Our objective is to be the flagship company in the creator economy.

  • We start by being the central way brands partner with creators.
  • ⁠We built a payments product that will pay hundreds of thousands of creators every year.
  • ⁠We use payments as free distribution to creators, giving us access to millions of creatorSMBs in a high value context (accepting thousands of euros).

We then earn the right to serve creators, and can build the entire business management stack for creatorSMBs.

But phase 1: become the central place consumer companies partner with and pay creators. We focus hard on this, and it’s working.

  1. In our most important customer cohort (enterprises) Net revenue retention is even stronger. Reaching well above 150% after 2 years.

Sample case: Bolt was one of our first customers, and has expanded every year for 4 years.

Mission critical milestone in the next 18 months is to build a scalable process of turning small accounts into big ones.

  1. I love this space. Most people hear the word influencer and think of Kim Kardashian.

I think of the other 99% Hundreds of millions of people producing content online because they love to tell stories. Because they love some quirky aspect of their life so much they just need to tell the world about it.

We’ve paid creators who make videos explaining hardware electronics, who document their cross - UK motorcycle journies, who are obsessed with jigsaw puzzles and so much more.

Creators are the next-gen SMBs, and they represent all the weird and beautiful things about humanity. If you love humans, you love creators.

If this is too fluffy for you, consider the impact creators have on human rights. If you want people to have a voice, no matter where they are from or what means they have, you want creators.

If you want people to have access to opportunity, you can consider my story. I grew up in a barn in eastern Canada. We do not learn about code in school. We don’t have startups. We do not meet entrepreneurs. Through creators, I learned about entrepreneurships. I learned to edit videos and I eventually ended up in Estonia. I bought a 20 Euro microphone from euronics and I asked Martin Villig if we could do an interview.

Anyone, from anywhere, can tell the stories they care about and access opportunity that should not even be perceivable to them.

That is why we are on a mission to help every creator earn a living.

THURSDAY • 02.05.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 Stargate Hydrogen Secures €42M: Tallinn's Stargate Hydrogen raises €42 million for advancing its ceramic-based electrolysers, aiming to reduce green hydrogen production costs. The round includes notable investors and grants from the IPCEI framework. Taavi Madiberk, founder of Skeleton Technologies, joins as Non-Executive Chairman.

🇱🇻 Orbit8 Raises €155K for AI Career Assistance: Riga's Orbit8 secures €155K towards a €200K goal to develop its AI-powered career guidance platform. Supported by BuilditAcc and local business angels, the startup aims to enhance career decision-making for parents, universities, and companies.

🇸🇪 X Shore Secures €8.5M for Electric Boat Innovation: Stockholm-based X Shore, a pioneer in electric maritime mobility, has raised €8.5 million to advance its sustainable electric boats. The funding will accelerate product development and expansion into new markets, particularly focusing on North America.

🇸🇪 Silo Team Raises $1.16M for Developer Turnover Solutions: Stockholm and UK-based Silo Team has secured $1.16 million in pre-seed funding to address challenges in developer turnover with advanced onboarding tools and AI-driven knowledge management, aiming to enhance productivity and collaboration within development teams.

🇸🇪 NOQX Secures Funding for Goal Management SaaS: Stockholm-based NOQX has raised an undisclosed amount in its first funding round, aiming to expand its goal management and OKR platform globally. The funding will support international sales and the development of its platform, particularly focusing on North America.

🇸🇪 Blykalla Raises €6.8M for SMR Industrialization: Stockholm-based Blykalla has secured €6.8 million to support the industrialization of its lead-cooled small modular reactors (SMRs), specifically the SEALER reactor, which offers a more sustainable and cost-effective alternative to traditional nuclear power for industrial decarbonization.

🇸🇪 Stilfold Launches MetaFold Academy with €5M: Stockholm-based Stilfold has launched the MetaFold Academy, backed by a nearly €5 million grant from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Manufacturing. The academy aims to advance green manufacturing practices in the automotive sector across Sweden, Greece, Italy, and Hungary, enhancing skills in eco-innovation, energy efficiency, and resource management.

🇫🇮 Kuva Space Wins €1.8M ESA Contract: Espoo-based Kuva Space has been awarded a €1.8 million contract from the European Space Agency to enhance border surveillance and crisis management capabilities across the Baltic region, using its advanced hyperspectral satellite technology and AI-driven insights.

🇫🇮 One Click LCA Acquires Buildrz: Helsinki-based One Click LCA, specializing in life-cycle assessment software, has acquired Paris-based Buildrz, known for its generative AI platform for real estate development. This acquisition strengthens One Click LCA’s comprehensive sustainability software platform, enhancing its AI capabilities and expanding its reach in the real estate development sector.

🇫🇮 One Click LCA Acquires Buildrz: Helsinki-based One Click LCA has acquired Paris-based Buildrz, a provider of generative AI software for real estate analysis. This acquisition is part of One Click LCA's strategy to become a comprehensive sustainability software platform for the construction sector, integrating Buildrz's AI capabilities to optimize building designs and enhance sustainability assessments.

Baltic Public Markets Update

Week 17 in the Baltic financial markets is characterized by a variety of significant financial activities. Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė maintains its presence with multiple government securities auctions. Several companies including LHV Group, Harju Elekter Group, and Telia Lietuva are set to release their interim reports for the first three months, providing current performance indicators. Rīgas kuģu būvētava and AgroCredit Latvia will be sharing their audited annual reports, offering a deeper insight into their fiscal standings. Dividend activities are noted for INVL Baltic Farmland and EfTEN Real Estate Fund, marking important dates for investors. Annual General Meetings are scheduled for Tallinna Sadam, Linda Nektar, and several other companies, which may indicate upcoming strategic decisions. The week also includes several coupon payment dates, impacting stakeholders in companies like DelfinGroup and Partnerystės Projektai Keturi UAB.

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

💼 U.S. IPO Market Surges, PE Firms Lag Behind: The U.S. IPO market has experienced a significant rebound, with the total volume of listings hitting $13.7 billion, more than tripling the amount from the same period last year. However, private equity (PE) firms have missed out on this boom, with only two major PE-backed IPOs raising about $1 billion. This marks a decline from 110 PE-backed IPOs in 2021, reflecting a slow recovery for PE exit strategies in a fluctuating market. Despite the overall market resurgence, PE firms remain cautious, potentially missing opportunities in a strengthening public market environment.

📊 VCs Add Portfolio Sale Clause to Adapt to Market Conditions: As the startup exit landscape tightens, venture capitalists are increasingly incorporating a "portfolio sale clause" in funding round documents. This clause allows VCs to sell their shares without other investors blocking the sale or exercising co-sale rights, particularly useful for liquidating entire portfolios or specific stakes. Initially rare, this clause is gaining traction among funds needing to wind up or shift assets, as seen in Europe’s growing interest in continuation funds. While offering flexibility to VCs, it poses considerations for startups, who must ensure it doesn't lead to unfavorable changes in shareholder composition.

🌐 AI Boosts Cloud Computing Growth for Tech Giants: Recent reports from major technology firms on Wall Street, including Amazon, Microsoft, and Alphabet, reveal better-than-expected sales in their cloud computing divisions, driven largely by burgeoning interest in artificial intelligence (AI). This surge reflects a robust rebound in corporate spending on cloud services, with the market valued at approximately $270 billion. Notably, Amazon's AWS reported a 17% growth rate, surpassing Wall Street's expectations and achieving a $100 billion annual run-rate for the first time. Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud also experienced significant growth, with increases of 31% and 28% respectively. This trend underscores AI's pivotal role in accelerating not only technological advancements but also the broader cloud spending, marking a shift from last year's cost-cutting measures.

🌱 Microsoft and Brookfield's Major Renewable Energy Initiative: Microsoft has partnered with Brookfield Asset Management to develop over 10.5 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity, investing more than $10 billion. This project, set to unfold between 2026 and 2030 in the U.S. and Europe, is described as the largest single electricity purchase agreement between two corporate entities. The initiative, which may expand to Asia, Latin America, and India, will focus on wind, solar, and new carbon-free technologies. This massive renewable energy drive aims to support the increasing electricity demands fueled by AI development, semiconductor manufacturing, and the electrification of transport. Microsoft's goal is to match 100% of its electricity use with zero-carbon energy purchases by 2030.

WEDNESDAY • 01.05.2024

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Don't follow your passion, follow your contribution. What do you think about this statement from Ben Horowitz?

Alvar Lumberg:

His point seems to be, that the domain you feel passionate about doesn't necessarily align with where your impact could be the greatest. I think passion relates more to problems, whereas contribution relates more to solutions, and the ideal opportunity is the best overlap of the two - where can you apply your skills and competences in a way that it solves issues that you feel most passionate about. Where you don't have that alignment between your skills and your #1 passion, it's a question of taking on a new degree and working yourself up into the domain, or rather putting your best self out in your #2 "most passionate" field :)

TUESDAY • 30.04.2024

Congrats Mantas Mikuckas⁩ & Vinted team! 🚀🚀🚀

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MONDAY • 29.04.2024

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Akim Arhipov: State of the economy in one chart :) The performance of key ETFs YTD, MTD and April 16 2014 (total return in USD). Every single ETF ex commodities is down in April.

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The updated one showing the performance of key ETFs YTD, MTD and this week (total return in USD).

This was a very solid week for US stocks after a >5% lurch lower since the end of March. The move was led by the Nasdaq 100 which ramped by 4%. Growth stocks led the way with large-cap growth up 4% while large-cap value was up only 1%.

At the US sector level, gains were concentrated in tech, consumer discretionary and to a lesser extent Industrials while Materials lagged.

Outside of the US, it was a similar story, led by Chinese stocks traded in Hong Kong (+9% this week, but still -8% YTD). Emerging markets in general had a good week.

As for commodities, the spectacular performance of precious metals this year gave back gains, while oil prices bucked a trend of declines elsewhere.

SUNDAY • 28.04.2024

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Summer, sun, lake, magnificent mountain scenery - what could be better for a bicycle adventure?

fff.vc experience🧡 invite you to join us on an unforgettable journey around Lake Garda, in northern 🇮🇹!

Learn more

We gathered to enjoy the magnificent views🏞️, feel the thrill of descending from the heights of our bike 🚵‍♂️ route and experience the adrenaline rush of climbing the mountain 🏔️sides on e-bikes.

Date: 14-17 June 2024 Location: Riva del Garda, Italy Activities: mountain bikes downhill (easy-mid level), electric bikes uphill (easy level), lake sailing, Italian food & wine Cost: €850. This price covers shared accommodation, transfer to both ways, 2 days bike tours. Doesn’t include flight tickets (Milan) & food. People: 6 people How to get in: fill the form https://tally.so/r/woABLe

Day 1: 🫂🍝⛴️ Arriving to our villa, get to know each other. Historical architecture and local attractions of Riva del Garda. Dinner and river tram ride.

Day 2: 🌄🚵‍♂️🍇 After breakfast we will pick up bikes, and enjoy breath taking funicular ride which bring us up to almost 2000 meters above the sea. Then we refresh ourselves with delicious tiramisu and start our daring descents, going down through fields, towns and vineyards watching the sunset and feeling the freedom of the wind in our hair. After all unforgettable dinner in on of the best restaurant in the area.

Day 3: 🏔️🚵‍♀️🏊‍♂️ Uphill tour to a mountain lake with a stop for swimming and lunch. The road up will pass by steep cliffs and waterfalls. Passing by cute villages and historical sites. Exploring the surrounding area on electric bikes. This is the ideal way to conquer the peaks without unnecessary stress.

Day 4: ✈️ Early morning check out, transfer to airport.

Join us!

SATURDAY • 27.04.2024

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Serhat Pala: Good one to watch: Conversation with Groq CEO Jonathan Ross →

Hugues Flament: Do you have any recommendation of chatGPT like tools to select ETF’s ?

FRIDAY • 26.04.2024

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David Clark: Shout out for a Hack for Ukraine in 3 weeks which L59 is co-hosting.

THURSDAY • 25.04.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 10Lines Secures €1.5M for AI-Driven Line Marking: Tallinn-based 10Lines has raised €1.5 million to automate line marking operations using AI and robotics. This round, led by Tera Ventures and Karista, will support the company's expansion in the US market, enhancing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of line marking with its innovative technology.

🇪🇪 Salesforge Raises €470K Pre-Seed for AI Sales Co-pilot: Salesforge, based in Tallinn, has secured €470,000 in pre-seed funding to develop an AI co-pilot for B2B sales. The investment will help build a platform that makes sales processes more efficient by personalizing and automating interactions, aiming to reshape the future of sales.

🇫🇮 HappySignals Raises €12M to Enhance IT Decision-Making: Helsinki's HappySignals has secured €12 million to expand its human-centric IT experience management platform. The funding, led by Mandatum Asset Management, will boost global expansion, empowering organizations to leverage employee experience data and AI to improve IT services and decision-making.

🇫🇮 Daze Raises Pre-Seed Funding: Helsinki-based e-commerce startup Daze has secured an undisclosed pre-seed investment from Antler and Wave Ventures. The funding will aid in team expansion and accelerate product development for Daze's innovative no-packaging, direct pickup return service for online shopping.

🇫🇮 ICEYE Raises $93M in Growth Funding: Finnish SAR satellite company ICEYE has secured $93 million in an oversubscribed growth funding round led by Solidium Oy. The investment will enhance ICEYE's SAR satellite constellation and expand its data products globally. ICEYE, having surpassed $100 million in revenue in 2023, aims to lead globally in SAR technology applications.

🇫🇮🇸🇪 Profilence and RemotiveLabs Partner for Automotive Quality: Finnish company Profilence and Sweden's RemotiveLabs have partnered to create advanced automotive infotainment quality testing solutions. The collaboration combines Profilence's stability analysis and RemotiveLabs' vehicle signal integration to streamline quality assurance processes in automotive infotainment systems.

🇸🇪 Gridly Secures $2.6M for Content Management: Swedish startup Gridly has raised $2.6 million in seed funding to refine its content management platform. This investment will support the enhancement of digital content management, making it faster, cheaper, and more scalable, addressing the increasing complexity brought about by AI advancements.

Baltic Public Markets Update

Week 16 in the Baltic financial markets is marked by a variety of significant corporate events that demonstrate the region's financial dynamics. Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė continues its government securities auctions, highlighting its ongoing fiscal initiatives. Nordecon and Novaturas are set to release their audited annual reports and sales figures respectively, providing insights into their operational success. An Extraordinary General Meeting for Snaigė suggests upcoming strategic developments. Dividend activities are notable this week with Šiaulių bankas and DelfinGroup reaching important dates in their dividend schedules. Other key financial events include coupon payments by Civinity, UPP & CO Kauno 53, and Eleving Group, as well as an annual general meeting for Coop Pank. The week wraps up with additional annual reports from Hepsor and Latvijas Gāze, and another annual meeting by NEO Finance.

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

🚗 Tesla Initiates Price Cuts Amid Intense Market Competition: Tesla has aggressively cut prices across its models in the US, China, and Germany to counteract falling sales and heightened competition in the electric vehicle (EV) market. After reducing US prices, Tesla slashed prices in China by up to 14,000 yuan and in Germany by 2,000 euros. This strategic move aims to boost demand but has impacted Tesla's profit margins and stock value. The price cuts are part of a broader industry trend, with Chinese EV maker Li Auto and others also lowering prices, signaling a fierce price war in the world's largest EV market. Tesla's adjustments reflect challenges from competitors like BYD, which offers more affordable options, and new entrants like Xiaomi.

🥇 Chinese Speculators Drive Gold Rally to Record Highs: Chinese traders have significantly influenced the gold market, propelling prices to unprecedented levels. The rally, particularly robust on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, saw gold futures soar, with one firm, Zhongcai Futures, holding a position worth nearly $4 billion. This surge, driven by geopolitical tensions and a shift from the US dollar among emerging market central banks, saw gold peak at $2,431 per troy ounce. The movement reflects a growing influence of speculative capital from emerging markets in global pricing, overshadowing traditional flows from Western exchange-traded funds.

📈 Eurozone Business Activity Accelerates: Business activity in the Eurozone reached its fastest growth rate in nearly a year this April, with the HCOB flash composite PMI rising to 51.4 from March's 50.3, indicating expansion. This growth, driven primarily by the services sector, suggests steady economic momentum with forecasts pointing to a continued 0.3% GDP growth in Q2, matching Q1's performance. Despite potential challenges from rising input costs and external demand pressures, there is optimism about a possible ECB rate cut in June, albeit with a cautious approach anticipated due to ongoing inflation concerns.

🚀 Microsoft Launches Phi-3-mini AI Model: Microsoft has introduced Phi-3-mini, a new cost-effective and lightweight AI model, as part of its initiative to develop small language models (SLMs) that are more accessible to businesses with limited resources. This model, which is the first in a series that includes Phi-3 Small and Phi-3 Medium, boasts 3.8 billion parameters and is designed for simpler tasks. Aimed at democratizing AI technology, Phi-3-mini is now available on Microsoft's cloud service Azure and other platforms. It's optimized for use with Nvidia's GPUs and integrated with Nvidia Inference Microservices for enhanced performance. This release reflects Microsoft's strategic shift towards providing scalable AI solutions that cater to a broader market, including enterprises facing technological and budget constraints.

TUESDAY • 23.04.2024

🫡 New members incoming, please welcome!

⁠⁠⁠⁠🇱🇹 Domas Šilenskis - https://www.linkedin.com/in/dsilenskis / Investor Relations Manager at Zabolis Partners 🇱🇹 Paulius Mikaliunas - https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulius-mikaliunas-2ab3568a / CPO of Kilo Health

MONDAY • 22.04.2024

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Tim Vaino: We have a new episode of fff.vc Investor Story out and this time we had a session with Kristjan Tamla, Managing Director of efTen Capital.

Since we are exploring opportunities to expand our offering and are also considering the possibility of collectively investing in Real Estate funds, I thought it would be a good idea to delve a bit into this topic with one of the leading RE Funds in the region.

As always, please, show some support by clicking this “like” button on our LinkedIn post to grow the reach! I would appreciate it a lot!

SUNDAY • 21.04.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 Outl1ne Acquired by Net Group: Tallinn-based Outl1ne has been acquired by Net Group to strengthen its capabilities in AI and large language models. Outl1ne will operate as a subsidiary, enhancing its innovative digital service offerings with greater resources.

🇱🇹 CTO2B Secures €1 Million Pre-Seed: Vilnius-based CTO2B raises €1 million pre-seed to automate DevOps on cloud infrastructure, facilitating easier management and operation of cloud resources for businesses, particularly in the fintech and SaaS sectors.

🇱🇹 BlackSwan Space Raises €760K Pre-Seed: Vilnius-based BlackSwan Space has secured €760K in pre-seed funding to pioneer satellite autonomy technologies. The investment will accelerate the development of their Mission Design Simulator and Vision Based Navigation hardware, enhancing autonomous space operations.

🇱🇹 Softloans Secures €1M Pre-seed: Vilnius's Softloans raises €1 million to expand its revenue-based lending solutions for SMEs, particularly those in e-commerce, enabling easier access to working capital.

🇱🇻 InGain Receives €650K Funding: Riga-based fintech InGain raises €650K to finalize its no-code SaaS platform for lending, aiming to make credit more accessible for SMEs across various industries.

🇸🇪 Saveggy Raises €1.76M to Combat Food Waste: Saveggy, a Lund-based startup, secures €1.76 million to advance its edible coating technology for fruits and vegetables, significantly extending their shelf life and reducing food waste.

🇸🇪 OlsAro Secures €2.5M Seed Funding: Gothenburg's OlsAro raises €2.5 million in seed funding to expand its AI-enabled crop breeding platform, focusing on developing climate-smart crops like salt-tolerant wheat to enhance food security and resilience in agriculture.

🇸🇪 Mimo Raises €18 Million: Mimo, a Swedish financial management platform, secures €18 million to simplify global payments and financial operations for SMBs, aiming to streamline financial management with its innovative B2B payments solution.

🇫🇮 NPHarvest Gains €2.2M for Nutrient Recycling: Finnish spin-off NPHarvest secures €2.2 million to deploy its technology for capturing and recycling nutrients from wastewater, promoting sustainability in agriculture and wastewater management.

🇱🇻 🇪🇪 🇸🇪 Baltic Startups Triumph at TechChill: Startups from Latvia, Estonia, and Sweden clinched the top prizes at TechChill. SUBmerge Baltic from Latvia won €10,000, Estonian Salesforge secured €250,000 in total funding, FleetFox from Estonia got €75,000, and Sweden's Silo Team won a €250,000 investment opportunity.

Baltic Public Markets Update

This week, the Baltic financial markets showcase a series of key corporate events, reflecting the region's robust economic landscape. Government securities auctions by Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė continue, underscoring the state's active role in the financial markets. Corporate governance developments are prominent with the scheduling of Extraordinary General Meetings for Silvano Fashion Group, indicating potential strategic changes. Investment opportunities are broadened with a public offering by Grenardi Group. Meanwhile, several companies, including TextMagic and Tallinna Sadam, are set to release their audited annual reports, providing valuable insights into their fiscal health and performance. This calendar of events highlights the dynamic nature and investment potential within the Baltic financial markets

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

🚀 Top Countries for Startups Revealed: Finland, Estonia, and Lithuania lead as top havens for startups in 2024, according to Business Name Generator's study of 52 countries. These nations excel due to their high quality of life, advanced digital infrastructure, and supportive business environments, despite challenges like high living costs and regulatory complexities. Globally, Hungary, the Netherlands, and the UAE are highlighted as the best places to launch a startup, combining low business taxes, high GDP growth, and favorable living costs. These findings underscore the importance of strategic location choices for startup success, balancing economic opportunities with potential challenges.

📊 Pension Funds Shift from Stocks to Bonds and Private Markets: Amid significant stock market gains, major pension funds are strategically reallocating billions from stocks to bonds and private markets. Following the S&P 500's 10% rise in the first quarter, Goldman Sachs estimates pensions will sell $325 billion in stocks this year, up from $191 billion in 2023. Notably, the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) has reduced its stock target from 42% to 37%, opting instead to enhance investments in private equity and private debt. The New York State Common Retirement Fund is also adjusting its portfolio, reducing its stock allocation from 47% to 39%. These shifts aim to secure gains and mitigate risks amid rising interest rates, reflecting a broader trend towards diversification and stability in pension fund management.

✈️ Telegram Set to Reach One Billion Users: Pavel Durov, founder of Telegram, predicts that the messaging app will surpass one billion monthly active users within the next year, describing its growth as "spreading like a forest fire." Currently at 900 million users, Telegram is a major player in the social media space, particularly influential in former Soviet states. Despite pressures from governments, Durov emphasizes Telegram’s commitment to neutrality, refusing to let the platform become a pawn in geopolitics. This stance, combined with robust security features and strategic management, positions Telegram for continued global expansion and influence.

AI Surge Challenges Electricity Supply: The energy market is grappling with a significant increase in electricity demand due to the rapid expansion of data centers driven by booming artificial intelligence applications. In Sydney’s western suburbs, Endeavour Energy has received numerous connection requests that could potentially triple the power demand in the area. This spike is largely attributed to the escalating requirements for computing power necessary to support AI developments, presenting a critical challenge for both the energy market operator and electricity suppliers to accommodate within their demand projections.

💼 Blackstone's Earnings Rise Slightly in First Quarter: Blackstone Inc, the world's largest private equity firm, reported a 1% increase in first-quarter distributable earnings, reaching $1.27 billion up from $1.25 billion the previous year. This rise was slightly above Wall Street's expectation, with distributable earnings per share at 98 cents versus the anticipated 96 cents. The increase was supported by a 12% rise in fee-related earnings to $1.2 billion, driven by strong fundraising activities. However, the firm saw a 25% drop in net profit from asset sales, totaling $293.3 million, as it cashed out fewer assets from its private equity and credit portfolios.

THURSDAY • 17.04.2024

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fff members also attend TechChill Riga 2024 / Photo by Sven Illing

WEDNESDAY • 17.04.2024

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Davis Siksnans: Hey there, I attended DefenceTech Meetup #2 in Tallinn, and Akim asked me to write summary for the community. I attended to learn about the industry and evaluate investment opportunities.

Insights below

A representative from the Estonian Information System Authority spoke about the importance of working on cybersecurity not only for your company but also for your partners, as attacks on partners to get to you are increasing. I had firsthand experience at one of our companies where our security was good, but several of our partners were hacked, sending fake invoices to catch our accounting department off-guard and divert money to the wrong account.

There were multiple speakers on drones, including representatives from the Latvian-led drone coalition planning to invest up to 1 billion EUR in drones to send to Ukraine. Experts discussed how drones need to be increasingly autonomous due to improving signal jamming techniques; currently, only about 10-15% of FPV drones reach their target. The conclusion was that drone companies investing in automation fare better than those solely focused on anti-jam capabilities.

Other tech trends discussed included using laser beams and microwaves to disrupt UAS sensors, optical and acoustic drone detection networks, and solid-state batteries to enable longer ranges. There is also a growing need for military drone pilot training schools.

Reportedly, there are around 1,000 drone companies in Ukraine, while Russia is taking a concentrated, top-down approach and doubling down on systems like Lancet and Orlan. I believe we don't need dozens of new drone companies but rather a few scale-ups.

Overall, drone technology is advancing rapidly, and companies that don't test their products in Ukraine risk becoming outdated quickly. There were several startups that pitched, Lendurai (ex-Bolt guys), Marduk (EE), Skyeton (UKR) seemed the most impressive.

Military startups are long-term investments, requiring significant capital to start. Their customers, governments, operate slowly, and most countries prefer purchasing local defense tech, limiting the scalability of regional startups. Exiting such ventures can be cumbersome, as all customers must approve equity transfers or changes. Nevertheless, this sector is increasingly important in the current geopolitical situation which will see governments increasing defense spending for decades to come.

Vadim Nehkai: Being a representative of Ukraine here, and also representative of Ukrainian startup ecosystem I can only echo what is said above. There are a number of proven mil-tech companies currently in Ukraine and a huge number of early stage mil-tech startups joining in. While it is relatively doable to attract angel and pre-seed capital, some of the startups with proven products need series A+ size of capital for further scale and that is where the struggle is.

Helery Pops: I think an important part to add here from yesterday is that while everyone is busy building drone companies, most of them do not succeed in the front lines. So if you’re thinking about an investment, ask whether they’ve tested it with actual troops or not. Secondly, we have severely overlooked the capabilities we have in flying those drones. Taavi Kotka is starting a school (not just for young girls) for everyone to be able to assemble and fly drones for when things get complicated here.

TUESDAY • 16.04.2024

This is more relevant for the non-Estonian members but I came across this page, which was put together by Sten Tamkivi, back in 2013. He mapped out and highlighted what happened with people from a famous “Skype-mafia” post Skype. A good overview and still somewhat relevant to get the context: https://sten.tamkivi.com/2013/08/first-decade-of-skypemafia/

MONDAY • 15.04.2024

Tim Vaino:

👋

I wanted to briefly outline the principles of the updated Newsletter that has landed in your mailboxes yesterday. It comes along with the added layer of the fff.vc that is being built as we speaks.

Within there you have three types of deals highlighted (more available in the WEB).

1.⁠ ⁠Syndication deals - These are the deals that the fff.vc team is putting an SPV together for. We will try to keep you in the loop of the latest allocation in those and indicate the latest updates, such as QnA with a founder, etc. 2.⁠ ⁠⁠Vetted Deals - There are the deals that the fff.vc team is not syndicating themselves. They are mostly shared by our partners or are coming our way via inbound. Vetted, in this case, means that the majority of the allocation is being already fulfilled, DD done by one of the participating funds, and the last bit is available. 3.⁠ ⁠⁠Non-Vetted deals- There are the deals that fff.vc teams has not spent time and has found them at the events or received from founders directly. This was actually a huge request from our members as it shows what teams are getting on our table. (there are actually even more but lets start with 3-5 weekly)

In addition

We have also added the latest founding rounds from the region to this email not to spam you with two separate ones. Make sure to check the News (economy, finance & tech) and indicators this week, that are being posted here in the group and also accessible at our feed in one click from the Newsletter.

We hope this format will fit your expectations and there is more good news coming your way in the coming time!

Thanks for being with us, participating and sharing feedback.

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👇 Top40 of L59 pitching competition, Salu among those👇

SUNDAY • 14.04.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 SmartCap Revises Investment Strategy for Green Fund: Estonian fund management company SmartCap announces strategic changes to its Green Fund, increasing investment amounts and focusing on later-stage green technology startups. With a fund volume of €100 million, SmartCap aims to foster significant advancements in sustainable technologies, ensuring access to crucial capital for growth and expansion.

🇱🇹 TransferGo Receives $10M for APAC Expansion: Lithuanian-founded, UK-based fintech TransferGo secures $10 million from Taiwania Capital to expand its services in the Asia-Pacific region. Known for enabling easier cross-border payments, TransferGo aims to accelerate its growth and tackle the large remittance market dominated by traditional players like Western Union.

🇱🇹 BlackSwan Space Gains €760K for Satellite Autonomy: Vilnius's BlackSwan Space secures €760K in pre-seed funding to advance its autonomous satellite technology for complex space missions, enhancing in-orbit servicing and real-time satellite constellation simulations.

🇸🇪 Gilion Secures €10M for Growth Platform: Stockholm's Gilion raises €10 million in equity to expand its innovative growth analytics platform. This funding supports Gilion’s mission to provide startups with advanced tools for performance analysis and non-dilutive financing options, promoting sustainable business growth.

🇸🇪 Scayl Raises €100M for Fintech Lending: Stockholm-based Scayl has secured €100 million to revolutionize fintech lending across Europe. By providing a platform that connects fintech lenders with banks and credit institutions, Scayl facilitates faster and more efficient funding for SME and consumer loans.

🇸🇪 Alrik Secures €1M Seed Funding: Stockholm’s Alrik, specializing in fleet management software for the construction industry, raises €1 million from Pi Labs. The funding will enhance Alrik's software solutions, helping to reduce emissions and costs in construction logistics across Europe.

🇫🇮 Basemark Raises €22M for AR Driving Tech: Helsinki-based Basemark clinches €22 million in Series B funding to advance its automotive AR software, aiming to enhance safety in driving with augmented reality applications, gearing up for expansion in Europe, the US, and Asia.

🇫🇮 Alvar Pet Acquires Verkkokauppa Kivuton: Helsinki's Alvar Pet enhances its footprint in the Nordic pet health market by acquiring online retailer Verkkokauppa Kivuton. This acquisition, paired with a partnership with Juuri Partners, establishes the largest online store for pet health products in the Nordics, focusing on sustainable and tailor-made pet diets.

Baltic Public Markets Update

This week, the Baltic financial landscape is vibrant with significant activities across multiple sectors. The series of government securities auctions orchestrated by Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė are a prominent feature, illustrating solid state-backed financial initiatives. Noteworthy corporate events include the Extraordinary General Meeting for Silvano Fashion Group, highlighting key strategic developments within these corporations. Additionally, the investment scene is enriched by public offerings from Grenardi Group, opening new channels for investor participation. Furthermore, critical financial disclosures are anticipated, with firms such as INVL Technology, Invalda INVL, and Rokiškio sūris expected to release their audited annual reports, providing essential insights into their operational performance and strategic planning.

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

💼 Big Tech's Cash Dilemma Amid Regulatory Scrutiny: Leading tech giants—Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook—boast a collective $570 billion in cash and investments, dwarfing other nonfinancial S&P 500 companies. Despite their wealth, leveraging these funds proves tough due to intense regulatory oversight, which has thwarted acquisitions like Amazon's and Intel's recent attempts. Google, holding the largest reserve at $98 billion, contemplates a bold $40 billion bid for HubSpot, risking further regulatory backlash given its dominant market position.

🌐 Global Equity Funds See Outflows Amid Economic Speculation: Global equity funds experienced $2.08 billion in outflows for the week ending April 3 due to uncertainties about potential Federal Reserve rate cuts. U.S. and European funds saw significant withdrawals, while Asian funds drew $2.02 billion. In contrast, bond funds garnered $14.71 billion in inflows, the most in four weeks, reflecting investor caution and a preference for bonds. Money market funds also saw significant interest, attracting $104.32 billion, the largest intake since January.

🌍 Global Food Inflation Dips to Pre-War Levels: Food inflation in the OECD's 38 member countries fell to 5.3% in February, continuing a 15-month trend of declines from 6.3% in January. This decrease signals easing inflationary pressures, with food prices in the UK notably rising by only 5% over the past year, the lowest since early 2022. While food inflation cools, core inflation remains high at 6.4%, reflecting ongoing price stickiness in the services sector.

🤖 Elon Musk Foresees AI Surpassing Human Intelligence by 2026: Elon Musk predicts that artificial intelligence (AI) could exceed human intelligence as early as 2026, sparking widespread debate among experts. In a recent interview, he suggested that the rapid advancement in AI might lead to machines that are smarter than any human within a few years. This prediction raises significant ethical and safety concerns, including fears about AI-generated misinformation and the potential existential risks posed by superintelligent AI systems. Skeptics argue that true intelligence requires consciousness, something AI has not yet achieved, and believe Musk’s timeline may be overly optimistic.

🔌 Intel Introduces Gaudi 3 AI Chip to Challenge Nvidia: Intel has unveiled its new AI chip, Gaudi 3, which claims to be over twice as power-efficient and 1.5 times faster than Nvidia’s H100 GPU. Set for a Q3 release, Gaudi 3 is part of Intel’s push to capture a larger share of the AI chip market, currently dominated by Nvidia. The chip supports various configurations and is designed to train and deploy AI models more effectively. Intel is also fostering collaboration with tech giants like Google to develop non-proprietary software solutions, enhancing flexibility for AI developers.

SATURDAY • 13.04.2024

How do you spend your Saturday, Fellow Founders?

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WEDNESDAY • 09.04.2024

Rainer Loopere: I am joining Esgrid to lead the product, and I couldn't be more excited about this new challenge 🤩

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TUESDAY • 09.04.2024

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Download LMSys Leaderboard here

Indrek Vainu: One of the things that gets too little attention is the cost of these models in production at scale. ELO ratings are nice but that’s only one side of the coin. A good standard for value is GPT3.5Turbo, offers reasonable performance and reasonable cost. GPT4Turbo is better but also around 20x more expensive. Anthropic’s Opus is 30x more expensive. As most GenAI projects are still in PoC or limited usage then using the best models is ok. But the moment you get to scale, costs do matter because otherwise unit economics with GenAI products just does not work. And we are talking 20-30x differences in model cost, not 20-30%. So for the next few months what will be interesting to see is: a) what will be the price of GPT3.5T/GPT4T once GPT5 is released and b) how well will LLama3 perform.

MONDAY • 08.04.2024

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Akim: Here is the code with 20% off for the Techchill - FFFxTechChill24 (Used at the checkout)

SUNDAY • 07.04.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 Elcogen Secures Over €140M for Clean Energy Expansion: Tallinn's Elcogen raises more than €140 million to boost its green hydrogen and electricity production capabilities. The funding, from investors including Hydrogen One Capital Growth, HD Hyundai, and strategic investor Baker Hughes, aims to scale up manufacturing in Tallinn and propel its innovative solid oxide technology, supporting the global transition to cleaner energy.

🇪🇪 SuperSimple Raises $2.2M for No-Code Data Platform: Tallinn-based SuperSimple has garnered $2.2 million from investors like Tera Ventures and Specialist VC. The startup's platform allows users to interact with data through a no-code UI or plain English, aiming to become the operating system for data integration and insights across companies.

🇪🇪 Flowstep Granted €1M by Enterprise Estonia: Tallinn-based Flowstep receives a €1 million grant from Enterprise Estonia to boost its UX copilot tool, aiding users in creating superior designs. This funding will accelerate their AI and Design research, supporting Flowstep's mission to enhance design processes with innovative technology.

🇸🇪 Gaia Biomaterials Attracts $5M for Eco-Friendly Alternatives: Helsingborg's Gaia Biomaterials secures $5 million in a rights issue led by Almi Invest Greentech, focusing on Biodolomer, a compostable material made from limestone, to replace fossil-based plastics globally.

🇸🇪 Skåne Ventures Collects €2.9M for Startup Ecosystem: A collaborative initiative by Minc, Ideon Science Park, Hetch, and Krinova, Skåne Ventures has raised €2.9 million to support early-stage startups in Sweden, aiming for innovation and societal impact.

🇸🇪 Ironic Biotech Secures €1M to Combat Iron Deficiency: Lund-based Ironic Biotech raises €1 million in pre-seed funding from Nordic Foodtech VC. The startup develops plant-derived proteins for high iron bioavailability, targeting global iron deficiency and anemia with a scalable, side-effect-free solution.

🇸🇪 Telness Tech Raises €5M for US Expansion: Stockholm's Telness Tech secures €5 million to expand its digital solutions for mobile operators into the US, funded by Industrifonden and Viltor (JCE Group). This investment fuels their mission to revolutionize telecom with full automation platforms, now serving 18 operators globally.

🇸🇪 Scayl's €100M for European Fintech Lenders: Emerging from stealth, Stockholm-based Scayl announces a massive €100 million funding to empower European fintech lenders with efficient, transparent financing. Founded by seasoned fintech veterans, Scayl aims to bridge the lending gap and foster financial innovation across the continent.

🇫🇮 Onego Bio's €37M Series A for Egg-free Protein: Helsinki's Onego Bio, advancing sustainable food solutions, secures a €37 million Series A led by NordicNinja VC. Their Bioalbumen, an animal-free egg white alternative, promises significant environmental benefits and aims to revolutionize the food industry with scalable production.

🇫🇮 Polar Night Energy's €7.6M Seed for Sand Battery Tech: Tampere's Polar Night Energy raises €7.6 million in seed funding, led by Jonathan Oppenheimer, for its innovative Sand Battery technology aimed at boosting renewable energy usage and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. This marks a major step towards their global expansion and tech enhancement.

🇫🇮 Klu Wins €200K at Arctic15 Helsinki: In an impressive win at Arctic15 Helsinki, Finnish data management startup Klu secures €200K, spotlighting their revolutionary approach to data accessibility. Their aim to streamline business data handling is poised for significant growth and enterprise adaptation.

Baltic Public Markets Update

This week in the Baltic financial markets sees a flurry of corporate and governmental activity, underlining the region's vibrant economic landscape. Government securities auctions by Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė demonstrate ongoing efforts in state financial stewardship. Notably, the Silvano Fashion Group and Grab2Go convene Extraordinary General Meetings, signifying pivotal moments for corporate governance and strategic direction. The financial markets are also attentive to public offerings from Grenardi Group and Citadele banka, introducing fresh opportunities for investors. Amidst these developments, a series of annual general meetings, dividend announcements, and the release of audited annual reports from key players such as TextMagic, EfTEN Real Estate Fund, and Tallinna Sadam provide comprehensive insights into the fiscal health and future prospects of Baltic enterprises.

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

📈 Historic Quarter for US Equity Funds: In a record-breaking quarter since 2007, 64% of actively managed U.S. equity funds surpassed their Russell 1000 benchmarks, significantly up from 38% last year. This performance coincides with the S&P 500's remarkable 10.2% rise, its best start since 2019. The shift from megacap tech to broader stock gains was a key factor, with notable underperformance from Apple and Tesla benefiting funds underweight in these stocks. BofA highlights the potential for further market expansion and suggests leaning into value stocks.

🌐 Eurozone Economic Recovery Gains Momentum: The Eurozone's economic recovery is gaining pace with the private sector experiencing a ten-month high in growth, thanks largely to a surge in the services sector. While optimism in business reaches a pre-pandemic high with Spain and Italy leading in service sector growth, rising oil prices present a potential challenge to future ECB rate decisions and inflationary pressures.

🇬🇧 UK's Private Equity Sector Faces Potential Tax Hike: In 2022, UK private equity dealmakers earned £5bn in carried interest, spotlighting the debate over the taxation of such payouts. With the Labour party proposing an increase in the tax rate from 28% to 45%, there's concern over the potential impact on the industry and the risk of professionals moving abroad. The plan aims to raise an additional £400mn for the Treasury but could lead to significant financial implications.

💼 Intel Faces $7 Billion Operating Loss in Foundry Business: Intel revealed a $7 billion operating loss in its foundry business for 2023, a stark increase from the previous year's $5.2 billion loss. This announcement marks a pivotal moment as Intel continues to advance its strategy under CEO Patrick Gelsinger, aiming for a turnaround by the mid-2030s, supported by significant funding from the CHIPS and Science Act and commitments from major companies.

🔍 Google to Introduce Paid AI Search Features: Google is set to revamp its business model by offering paid "premium" AI enhancements to its search engine. Targeting subscribers of Google One and Workspace, this move is part of Google's strategy to integrate AI into its services without compromising its ad-supported search engine. The initiative aims to maintain Google's competitive edge in the AI landscape while safeguarding its substantial search advertising business. This move reflects Google's efforts to balance the adoption of AI innovations with the preservation of its $175 billion search advertising business amidst the growing competition from AI technologies like OpenAI's ChatGPT.

WEDNESDAY • 03.04.2024

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There are 246 companies in the latest Y Combinator batch (W24). 72 of them use Supabase.com: 29% of the batch.

Recommend to your founders!

YC Demo Day Insights

Akim: We work on digital family office and I see that this YC batch shows a distinct trend in AI tools for wealth management. Our fff.vc team is developing AI agents to make our managers more efficient to serve the needs of our future clients. That's why I found it interesting.

At least 9 companies try to help wealth managers, financial advisors, and family office managers provide better customer experience:

1.⁠ ⁠portfolio analysis taking into account market, concentration, inflation and currency risks - feed with data and suggest signals 2.⁠ ⁠highly custom reports prep; 3.⁠ ⁠⁠create / improve workflows; 4.⁠ ⁠⁠enhanced due diligence & asset tracking. 5.⁠ ⁠⁠and more.

Few interesting companies from this batch:

TUESDAY • 02.04.2024

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Jeff Bezos of Amazon granted Lex Fridman an exceptional two-hour interview on space exploration.

Check Akim's summary under the toggle:

Childhood Insights 1.⁠ ⁠My grandfather was self-reliant on the ranch, caring for cows and repairing bulldozers, instilling in me the value of autonomy. 2.⁠ ⁠The Apollo program was a monumental human achievement, consuming 2% of the U.S. GDP annually, comparable to the construction of the Pyramids of Giza. Von Braun's caution about the word "impossible" left a lasting impression. 3.⁠ ⁠At Princeton, the brilliance of theoretical physics majors propelled me towards programming, showcasing the diverse forms of intelligence and nurturing my inventive nature and intuition.

Blue Origin's Vision 1.⁠ ⁠Founded in 2000, Blue Origin, now employing over 11,000 people, symbolizes Earth's delicate blue appearance from space, a perspective first captured by Gagarin. 2.⁠ ⁠⁠The New Glenn rocket honors John Glenn, reflecting our commitment to pioneering space exploration. 3.⁠ ⁠I envision a future where a trillion people live across the solar system, fostering a renaissance of creativity and intelligence on space stations made from lunar materials. My goal is to pave the way for this vision, despite knowing I won't see its fruition. 4.⁠ ⁠I invest Amazon's profits into developing the necessary space infrastructure for future generations, aiming to make space exploration as foundational as e-commerce innovations like user reviews and one-click shopping. 5.⁠ ⁠Earth's unique ecosystem and biodiversity underscore the urgency of expanding into space, where unlimited energy resources can support our growing needs. Blue Origin's Blue Ring project exemplifies this ambition, offering satellite capabilities for a range of space-based operations. 6.⁠ ⁠My personal journey to space aboard the New Shepard was a testament to our focus on safety and the mesmerizing experience of weightlessness.

New Glenn and the Path Forward 1.⁠ ⁠The New Glenn rocket, with its advanced capabilities, represents a leap forward in reusable space technology, aiming for a 2024 launch. Its efficiency echoes the engineering advances since the 1960s, democratizing space access. Mark1 carries 3 tons to the Moon and doesn't return. Building Mark2 within NASA's Artemis moon program for $93 billion, it will carry people 2.⁠ ⁠Our lunar initiatives, including cargo deliveries and human missions under NASA's Artemis program, highlight the practical steps toward sustainable lunar exploration and the broader aspirations for human settlement in space. 3.⁠ ⁠While I may not journey to space myself, the development of a spacefaring civilization, alongside entities like SpaceX, is a collective human endeavor.

Amazon's Legacy and Future 1.⁠ ⁠Leading Amazon with a set of 14 principles, I transitioned from CEO to devote more energy to Blue Origin, driven by a sense of urgency to innovate. 2.⁠ ⁠Decision-making within Amazon emphasizes flexibility and efficiency, valuing detailed analysis and open discussion over hierarchical delays. 3.⁠ ⁠Personal routines and a commitment to continuous learning and adaptation underscore my approach to productivity and leadership. 4.⁠ ⁠As we look to the future, embracing long-term thinking and the enduring impact of our decisions will be crucial for addressing humanity's challenges and opportunities. 5.⁠ ⁠⁠I prefer clear text docs with complete sentences over slides with bullets. We sit in silence for half an hour reading (nobody does in advance) a 6-page memo (which could have taken 2 weeks to write) and then have a chaotic discussion -> this is how we find the best answers. 6.⁠ ⁠⁠Wearing someone out is not the search for truth. Compromises neither. Truths are often uncomfortable or anecdotal or from people's intuition. In meetings, I speak at the end, so no one holds back, looking to my views.

Productivity 1.⁠ ⁠I start my day smoothly, coffee, wife, fitness almost daily: 30 min cardio, 45 weights - annoying, but then I have more strength for a long time 2.⁠ ⁠No strict calendar 3.⁠ ⁠I try to refresh and rebirth, "every day is day one": deciding what to do without traps, who and what I was before. Away with any self-consistency 4.⁠ ⁠Anti inertia. Not to get stuck in metrics, they become outdated anyway

Future 1.⁠ ⁠The world needs to learn long-term thinking: decisions have long-term consequences. Like the 10,000-Year Clock project in Texas since the '80s. 2.⁠ ⁠People will remain, countries will not.

Justas: This is a complimentary book on the process they have during meetings & how Amazon operates. Highly recommended read. Order here →

MONDAY • 01.04.2024

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Our member, Sergei Anikin, wrote an interesting article: Sustainability vs. Efficiency in the Age of AI.

Check this out

I must confess, I have a problem with the word “productivity.”

When someone asks about the productivity of employees, I run through many different emotions, from disgust to anger.

I've learned not to react to those emotions and first try to clarify the meaning and the actual problem the person is trying to solve. Many times, it is the lack of visibility and fear of lack of control that force people to focus on the so-called “productivity.”

People believe that by focusing on productivity, it is possible to squeeze more work out of the workers.

Now, in the age of AGI, there's a new twist to this old tale of productivity woes. With the rise of AGI, also known as artificial generative intelligence, the pressure to boost productivity has intensified. But here's the thing: as we dive deeper into the age of AI, the battle between sustainability and efficiency is becoming increasingly apparent.

Let's break it down. Efficiency, in its simplest form, is about doing more with less. It's about maximizing output while minimizing input - a seemingly noble goal. But when taken to the extreme, efficiency can lead to a relentless pursuit of optimization, often at the expense of sustainability.

Take, for example, the race to automate tasks using AI. On the surface, it seems like a no-brainer: AI can perform repetitive tasks faster and more accurately than humans, leading to increased efficiency. But what about the social and environmental costs of mass automation? What about the loss of jobs and livelihoods?

This is where sustainability comes into play. Sustainability is about balancing the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It's about taking a holistic approach to productivity, one that considers not just short-term gains, but long-term consequences as well.

In the age of AI, achieving sustainability requires a shift in mindset. Instead of blindly chasing efficiency gains, we need to ask ourselves: is this sustainable in the long run? Will this technology benefit society as a whole, or only a select few?

Fortunately, there are signs of progress. More and more companies are embracing sustainable practices, from reducing waste to investing in renewable energy. And as AI continues to evolve, there's hope that it can be harnessed for good, helping us solve some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity.

So, as we navigate the complexities of the age of AI, let's remember the importance of sustainability. Let's strive for efficiency, yes, but not at the expense of our planet and future generations. After all, true progress is not measured by productivity alone, but by our ability to create a better world for all.

Disclaimer: This post was co-authored in collaboration with AGI. While the core idea is original, a portion of the text has been generated.

SUNDAY • 31.03.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇸🇪🇫🇮 Netigate Merges with Lumoa for Market-Leading Solution: Stockholm's Netigate acquires Finnish Lumoa, creating a top experience management platform with Generative AI. Serving over 1,500 clients like Santander and Spotify, this merger aims to revolutionize how businesses understand customer and employee feedback across Europe.

🇫🇮 Benjamin Capital Partners Raises $5.5M: Benjamin Capital Partners gathers $5.5M for its cash rewards app, aiming to expand its innovative platform that allows users to earn through everyday activities.

🇸🇪 Arevo AB Secures €6.6M: Arevo AB raises €6.6M to enhance plant growth and reduce environmental impact through precision nutrition, marking a significant stride in sustainable agriculture.

🇸🇪 Candela Charges Ahead with €25M: Candela secures €25M to accelerate production of the world's first electric hydrofoil ferry, the Candela P-12, cutting emissions by 97.5% compared to diesel vessels.

🇸🇪 NEOGAP Therapeutics Gains €433K: With a €433K grant from Eurostars, NEOGAP Therapeutics collaborates on a project to advance personalized cancer immunotherapy analysis, promising innovative treatment options.

🇸🇪 Dema Empowers E-commerce with €7M: Stockholm's Dema secures €7M to enhance its AI-driven e-commerce analytics platform. Funded by J12 Ventures and Daphni, Dema's platform provides predictive insights for profitable growth, offering a deep dive into performance metrics beyond superficial analyses.

🇸🇪 Buddywise Raises €3.5M for AI-Powered Safety: Stockholm's Buddywise clinches €3.5M for its AI and computer vision technology, transforming workplace safety. The seed round, led by Kvanted and J12, supports Buddywise's mission to mitigate risks and promote a zero-injury workplace across Europe.

Baltic Public Markets Update

This week in the Baltic financial markets, Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė continues its securities auctions, highlighting active financial management. Key companies like Silvano Fashion Group and Tallinna Vesi are holding Extraordinary General Meetings, reflecting important corporate activities. With coupon payments from DelfinGroup and BluOr Bank and audited annual reports from several firms, the week is filled with financial obligations and strategic insights. Public offerings from Grenardi Group and Citadele banka further energize the market landscape, marking a vibrant period in the Baltic financial scene. Nasdaq Baltic investor calendar - week 13/2024 →

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

🍏 Apple to Unveil AI Strategy on June 10: At the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference scheduled for June 10-14, Apple is set to introduce its latest AI strategy, focusing on the ambitious iOS 18 upgrade. The conference, continuing its digital format since COVID-19, will feature major software updates across Apple devices, with AI enhancements playing a central role. Although not launching its own AI chatbot, Apple is exploring partnerships with entities like Google and OpenAI for generative AI services. The iOS 18 is expected to be the most comprehensive overhaul of iPhone software, alongside updates for the Apple Watch and Vision Pro headset. Read here →

🌌 Microsoft and OpenAI's "Stargate" Supercomputer: Slated for 2028, "Stargate" emerges as the pinnacle of their collaboration, aiming to redefine AI computing with a $100 billion investment. This ambitious project plans to deploy millions of specialized server chips to massively boost AI capabilities. Despite the enormity of the task, including challenges in chip supply and energy demands, the initiative highlights the significant future investment in AI, potentially leveraging nuclear energy for power. Stargate's success hinges on groundbreaking advancements in server chip efficiency and cooling technologies. Read here →

💸 Fed Records $114.3 Billion Loss in 2023: The Federal Reserve experienced a historic loss due to increased interest expenses from its rate hikes aimed at controlling inflation. Despite a shift from a $58.8 billion net income in 2022 to a $114.3 billion loss in 2023, the Fed assures that its operational and policy-making capabilities remain intact. The loss is managed through a deferred asset, emphasizing the Fed's unique financial resilience. Future profitability will aim to reduce this deficit and resume returning profits to the Treasury. Read here →

💰 BlackRock's CEO Warns of Retirement Crisis: Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, highlights a looming retirement crisis as pension savings lag behind the increase in life expectancy due to medical advances. Despite significant medical breakthroughs that extend life, like obesity drugs Wegovy and Ozempic, financial planning hasn't kept pace, risking economic strain as the global population ages. Fink stresses the urgency of bolstering retirement savings, suggesting that investments through financial markets, supported by government and corporate efforts, are crucial. He proposes raising the retirement age and points to Australia's superannuation guarantee as a successful model for accumulating retirement savings. Fink's message underscores the need for a more proactive approach to ensuring financial security for longer lives. Read here →

FRIDAY • 29.03.2024

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🇱🇹 fff.vc Investor Story Lithuanian Edition is back!

🤘 Our second guest is Jone Vaituleviciute, a General Partner at FIRSTPICK

🙏 Show some love by clicking the “like” button if you can, please: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7179415187249061890

💥 This is a Lithuanian Special series of fff.vc Investor Story. Across the series we will be talking with the leading VC funds and companies of the Lithuanian tech eco-system to bring their stories closer to you.

🎙 We talked about:

  • ⁠ ⁠The now and the future of FIRSTPICK;
  • ⁠ ⁠How to get access to early-stage teams before others;
  • ⁠ ⁠What deals not to suggest to other funds;
  • ⁠ ⁠Launch of the Plug and Play accelerator in Lithuania;
  • ⁠ ⁠Power of community around as a bridge to foreign markets.

THURSDAY • 28.03.2024

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🚨 New Deal Alert!

🩺Salu - a licensed clinic with its own medical team, offering a wide range of online & offline medical services being focused on expats as the target group. Operational in EE, FI, ES.

🫰Salu is raising 500k on the valuation of 5m (Pre-Money) and as of now, round is available only for the fff.vc community. Direct Equity. (more background within the investment memo)

🔎 In addition to expanding the business to Finland and Spain, Salu also validated the operational part can be self sustainable. They proved the concept of serving foreign markets from EE and are ready to scale. The given round is needed to extend the runway for 10 month prior to seed round of 1.5m€.

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One of the best deal on the local market based on my opinion. Look into the growth rate:

Salu will provide their medical concierge services to all fff members through our digital family office. Everyone will get access soon.

Stay tuned!

WEDNESDAY • 27.03.2024

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Akim Arhipov: Very comprehensive article for founders considering selling their company: key factors & a timeline for M&A

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SUNDAY • 24.03.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇸🇪/🇪🇪 Crypto Rogue Games Gathers $1.5M for Web3 Gaming: Umeå and Tallinn-based Crypto Rogue Games secures $1.5M in seed funding to forge the future of web3 gaming. With a focus on developing immersive blockchain-powered games, their first title, "Crystals of Naramunz," promises a unique gaming experience combining action RPG elements with blockchain technology.

🇸🇪 BLIXT Sparks €5M Seed Investment: Stockholm's BLIXT electrifies the market with a €5M seed investment for its groundbreaking software-controlled electricity technology. Their innovations aim to enhance the efficiency and reliability of power systems, enabling smarter energy use and integration of renewable resources.

🇸🇪 CemVision Secures €10 Million for Green Cement: Stockholm-based CemVision bags €10M to lead innovation in the net-zero cement game. Their technology focuses on reducing the carbon footprint of cement production, a significant source of global CO2 emissions, aiming to transform the construction industry towards greater sustainability.

🇸🇪 Candela Charges Ahead with €25 Million: Candela, the Stockholm-based electric vessel maker, accelerates production with a €25M funding round. Their cutting-edge electric boats combine speed, range, and sustainability, setting a new standard for maritime transport and underscoring Sweden's leadership in clean energy solutions.

🇸🇪 Ingrid Secures €21M for E-commerce Innovation: Stockholm's Ingrid raises €21M to revolutionize e-commerce deliveries, led by Verdane with Schibsted Ventures participating. The funding will boost Ingrid's expansion across Europe, optimizing the retail and delivery experience.

🇫🇮 Perfat Technologies Innovates with €1M Seed: Helsinki-based Perfat Technologies secures a €1M seed round to revolutionize the food industry with its health-focused fat alternatives. Their innovative approach aims to create fats that not only taste good but also contribute to consumer health, marking a significant step forward in food science and nutrition.

🇫🇮 Steady Energy Warms Up with €10M: Steady Energy, based in Helsinki, raises €10M to develop nuclear-based carbon-neutral heating solutions. This funding will enable them to bring sustainable heating technologies to homes and offices, promising a greener future by reducing reliance on fossil fuels for heating.

Baltic Public Markets Update

This week, the Baltic financial markets are buzzing with key events, including government securities auctions by Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė and a public offering from Storent Holding across Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius. Important corporate gatherings are on the agenda, with Tallinna Kaubamaja Grupp holding its Annual General Meeting and INVL Baltic Real Estate, Coop Pank, and LHV Group presenting their audited annual reports. Meanwhile, Summus Capital and REFI Energy are set for coupon payments, and Tallinna Vesi is preparing for an Extraordinary General Meeting. These activities highlight a week filled with significant financial disclosures and meetings in the Baltic states. Nasdaq Baltic investor calendar - week 12/2024 →

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

🛍️ Investors Rally Behind European Consumer Stocks as Economic Optimism Surges: With growing confidence in the European economy, investors are flocking to European travel, retail, and luxury goods shares, anticipating a consumer spending spree on holidays and high-end items. Major companies like Renault and Stellantis have seen their stocks soar over 25% since early February, with Eventim and Pandora also enjoying significant gains. This investment trend is buoyed by the belief that central banks have managed to curb inflation without inducing a downturn, alongside expectations for the European Central Bank to cut rates soon. The Stoxx indices for European consumer discretionary shares and carmakers have risen notably, broadening the rally of the Stoxx Europe 600 index. Fund managers favor retailers and luxury groups, anticipating a brighter economic future for Europe, supported by a drop in natural gas prices and a reservoir of excess savings.

🍏 Apple Considers Google's Gemini for iPhone AI: Apple Inc. is in discussions to integrate Google's Gemini, a set of generative AI models, into the iPhone's software to enhance new AI-driven features. Besides Google, Apple has also engaged with OpenAI as a potential AI model provider. This collaboration could extend the longstanding search partnership between Apple and Google, blending Gemini's capabilities with the billions of devices under Apple's ecosystem. While the specifics of the deal are still under negotiation, this move signals Apple's search for robust cloud-based generative AI functionalities, including image creation and text generation, to complement its own AI models focused on device-based operations.

📊 Buyout Firms Seek Private Credit Solutions for Asset Liquidity: In the face of challenges offloading companies due to higher interest rates and valuation disputes, buyout firms are turning to the $1.7 trillion private credit market for solutions. Firms like Blackstone Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Neuberger Berman Group are offering a lifeline through preferred equity investments, enabling private equity firms to return cash to investors during a period marked by slow asset sales and IPOs. This approach not only provides necessary liquidity but also allows private equity to bypass valuations that might not reflect their assets' perceived worth. With preferred equity investments yielding returns of 13% to 15% for credit firms, this strategy is emerging as a mutually beneficial solution amidst the current exit environment.

🤖 AI Funding Soars but M&A Activity Lags: While venture funding for AI startups surpassed $50 billion in 2023, M&A activity in the sector has slowed, showing a 31% decline from the previous year. Despite high valuations and significant public market interest, with companies like Nvidia gaining prominence, most AI startups are seeing mergers and acquisitions as a more likely exit strategy than public offerings. However, this anticipated route has been quieter than expected, with fewer deals closing than in past years. This trend suggests a cautious market, where potential buyers may be waiting for valuations to adjust. The current environment poses challenges for startups seeking exits at peak valuations, indicating a potential reevaluation of investment strategies in the AI space.

SATURDAY • 23.03.2024

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Burak Buyukdemir⁩ recorded the podcast with Steve Blank. It’s veeeery good - check this out.

FRIDAY • 22.03.2024

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Tim Vaino: 🙏 Thanks to those who already indicated interest!

❓There have been questions about founders’ take on the future and potential exit. I am posting a quick quote on this below and you will have a chance to get more in-depth response during the QnA call which I will put in place soon.

❗️ Miroslav Kobetski (founder): ”Plan is to follow our vision we land in a world where every transaction where fit is of interest (In Store or Online) includes shoppers accessing their fit profile and getting the right fit and size for them - similar to Klarna helping with each transaction, Volumental helps with each size/shape decision leading to the transaction.

When we deliver on that Vision, I believe that this case is much more suitable an(US-based) IPO than for acquisition or PE (mainly due to the scale and valuations involved).

THURSDAY • 21.03.2024

Tim Vaino:

❗️We have several talks ongoing but since the Anthropic AI deal is hot, I would like to know if there is significant interest towards it? If interest is there I will get back with potential options in the coming time.

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Good overview of Anthropic Claude:

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WEDNESDAY • 20.03.2024

Sam Altman gave an interview to Lex Fridman this week, which lasted for two hours (the first one took place a year ago). I watched it and made a summary:

New Commodity •⁠ ⁠By 2030, processors will become the currency of the future, the most valuable asset. •⁠ ⁠The path to AGI will become a massive power struggle. •⁠ ⁠A significant amount of energy is required. Yes, the demand for processors in smartphones won't increase 10x for the same 8 billion population, but in the cloud for AI, it will be like the demand for energy - as it becomes cheaper, the demand for AI will increase exponentially.

On the Exponential

  • ⁠ ⁠They are releasing in stages (though they could release versions like v.3.51, 3.52 - within GPT-4 there are 200 different modules they tweak), to allow the world to adapt/get used - people are far from understanding exponentials and Kurzweil. They'll roll out something big this year, and he is NOT talking about GPT-5. •⁠ ⁠Not everyone needs the size of the context window for tokens, but some might want to cram their entire life into it? •⁠ ⁠The video generator SORA essentially built a 3d model of the world from 2d data, which is the breakthrough. Where did they get the data? It's a secret. The disturbance among artists is understandable, but the economy always upgrades - like how artists receive royalties from Spotify, we'll see a similar model with AI. The invention of cameras initially scared everyone, but it ultimately enhanced creativity. And by the way, GenAI does not create specific faces, but rather generic faces. •⁠ ⁠Young people are more daring in experimenting with ChatGPT. For those who care about zero glitches - well, OK, they will do fact-checking. •⁠ ⁠How to link LLM and search queries is still unknown. Privacy: those who care will not upload confidential information to services. •⁠ ⁠They are working on humanoid robots, stay tuned.

Business •⁠ ⁠Open vs. closed - the world will see a mix as with other software - both open source and proprietary models are necessary for exploring products and business models with partial/high returns. •⁠ ⁠Google Gemini? They're not building a direct competitor to search... Something new, the world is already overloaded with advertisements (though Google made banners into text, which was a pleasant change). •⁠ ⁠At YCombinator, as CEO, Sam superficially followed many industries and saw the intersections, but now he deeply immersed in just one. •⁠ ⁠Companies in the valley are very polarized in culture wars, but OpenAI is not.

AGI •⁠ ⁠Sam used to enjoy speculating, but there's no fixed definition of AGI, and they change: if Turing saw ChatGPT, he'd have to upgrade his definition of AGI. •⁠ ⁠Sam would ask AGI to "tell me the unified theory of physics," etc. - because real AGI will accelerate the pace of scientific discoveries. Economic growth is fundamentally built on scientific progress. •⁠ ⁠AGI will allow humans to better understand their own intelligence.

SUNDAY • 17.03.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 BotGuard OÜ Raises €12M for Cybersecurity: Tallinn-based BotGuard secures a €12M Series A investment led by MMC Ventures to protect SMEs from malicious bots. The funding will drive technology development, team expansion, and global scaling efforts.

🇪🇪 Latitude59 Announces Pitch Competition 2024: Estonia's premier tech conference, Latitude59, sets a €1M prize for its 2024 Pitch Competition, inviting entrepreneurs from Ukraine. It stands as the largest competition of its kind in the Nordic countries and Baltics, fostering innovation and collaboration.

🇪🇪 GScan's €3M Seed for Advanced Scanning: Estonian deep tech GScan garners €3M in seed funding for its cosmic ray muon tomography technology. Supported by notable investors, the company seeks to offer non-intrusive scanning solutions across various sectors, including defense, healthcare, and national security.

🇪🇪 Themo Secures €1.3M for Smart Energy Solutions: Estonian startup Themo, specializing in smart thermostats, raises €1.3 million in funding, led by renewable energy investor Sunly. Successful testing with Finland's Fingrid ensures Themo strengthens its market position, focusing on intelligent energy solutions that optimize electric heating based on market prices and allow participation in energy reserve markets.

🇱🇹 HeavyFinance Partners with EIF and InvestEU: Lithuanian fintech HeavyFinance teams up with the European Investment Fund and the InvestEU program, securing €50M to support agricultural SMEs' transition to greener farming practices in multiple European countries.

🇱🇹 Broswarm Raises $100K for Mine-Detecting Drones: Lithuanian startup Broswarm secures $100K to develop drones for landmine detection. The investment, led by ScaleWolf, aims to enhance demining operations worldwide, with a focus on saving lives and restoring land safety.

🇱🇻 Mapon's €3M Bond Issue for Fleet Management Growth: Riga-based Mapon raises €3M through a bond issue, aiming to finance acquisitions and bolster its European expansion. The fleet management solution provider plans to strengthen its market position and explore new territories.

🇸🇪 Younium's €2.7M Boost: Stockholm's Younium clinches €2.7M to enhance its SaaS platform for subscription management. Backed by Partinc Capital, Younium aims to solidify its European presence, supported by a strong performance with €4.8M in recurring revenue and 60% growth.

🇸🇪 Voi Accelerates with $25M Funding: Stockholm-based micromobility provider Voi raises $25M to expand its e-scooter and e-bike fleet across Europe. This round, participated by existing shareholders, fuels the company's fleet growth and sustainability goals, following a year of over 68 million rides and significant tenders in key cities.

🇸🇪 Legitify Raises €1.5M for Online Notarization: Stockholm and Dublin-based Legitify closes a €1.5M seed round to redefine the online notarization process. Verb Ventures leads the investment, aiming to streamline cross-jurisdictional certification and notarization for businesses and individuals with AI enhancements.

🇫🇮 Teamspective Secures €900K for Employee Engagement: Helsinki's Teamspective raises €900K in pre-seed funding to revolutionize employee engagement with its network-aware solutions. Backed by angel investors and Business Finland, the startup aims to enhance organizational health and performance through AI-powered insights.

🇫🇮 Sooma's €5M Funding for Depression Treatment: Helsinki-based Sooma secures €5M to expand its at-home depression treatment solutions. The investment, led by Voima Ventures and Verge HealthTech Fund, supports the development of Sooma’s neuromodulation devices for accessible mental health care.

🇫🇮 Tesi Exits Ultimate: Finnish Industry Investment Ltd (Tesi) exits Ultimate, an AI company acquired by Zendesk. This move integrates Ultimate's AI solutions into Zendesk's customer experience offerings, marking a successful journey of Finnish expertise in AI reaching global markets.

🇫🇮 Infinited Fiber Company Gathers €27M: Finnish Infinited Fiber secures €27M to advance its technology that transforms textile waste into sustainable fibers. Backed by prominent investors including Inditex Group, this funding propels the company towards launching its first commercial-scale fiber production facility.

🇫🇮 NordicNinja Leads $24M Round in Griffin: Finnish VC firm NordicNinja spearheads a $24M investment in Griffin, a UK-based Banking as a Service platform. This investment will scale Griffin's operations and enhance its banking infrastructure.

Baltic Public Markets Update

This week's financial agenda in the Baltic region is bustling with activities, ranging from government securities auctions by Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė to sales figures announcements from Enefit Green, Coop Pank, and LHV Group. Noteworthy events include the initial listing of Sun Finance Treasury Limited and an investors event by Storent Holdings. Additionally, Storent Holdings is engaging in a public offering, and K2 LT is set to disclose its audited annual report, alongside scheduling a general meeting. A dividend payment date for Arco Vara and sales figures from Novaturas round off a week full of diverse financial events across the Baltic states. Nasdaq Baltic investor calendar - week 11/2024 →

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

📈 VCs Turn to Secondary Markets in 2024 for Liquidity: Amid a quiet IPO scene in Q1 2024, VCs are increasingly leveraging secondary markets for liquidity, sidestepping traditional public offerings. With major IPOs scarce and market conditions less than ideal, the secondary market's growth offers a compelling alternative. Companies like Stripe highlight this trend, opting for secondary sales over IPOs, while VCs and LPs find flexibility in managing their investments. This shift underscores a strategic pivot towards alternative liquidity avenues in the face of ongoing market challenges.

🏘️ Real Estate Investment Alert from Blackstone's President: Blackstone Group President Jon Gray advises that now is the prime time to invest in real estate, suggesting the market has reached its lowest point and is on the brink of recovery. With interest rate cuts on the horizon, Gray sees current negativity as an opportunity for savvy investors. He notes the slump was driven by remote work impacts and rising interest rates but believes central bank rate cuts will soon boost the property market. Gray emphasizes seizing the moment in sectors like logistics, digital infrastructure, and student housing to capitalize on the coming uplift.

📉 Global Corporate Defaults at a Peak Since the Financial Crisis: S&P Global Ratings reports an alarming increase in corporate defaults worldwide, reaching the highest pace since the global financial crisis, fueled by high interest rates and stubborn inflation. With 29 defaults recorded since the year's start, surpassing the early-year numbers since 2009, the crisis touches various sectors, notably health care and media. European companies are defaulting at a notably high rate, with eight defaults already, indicating a troubling trend. This surge in defaults, including notable names like AMC Entertainment, signals a challenging economic landscape ahead, with expectations for defaults to remain high, especially in Europe.

📅 Fed Meeting March 2024: Holding Steady on Rates: The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is set to meet on March 19-20, 2024, with expectations to maintain the current interest rate at 5.25%-5.50%. Despite previous aggressive rate hikes aimed at curbing inflation, the Fed signaled a potential for future rate cuts, depending on inflation's trajectory and economic conditions. This meeting follows a pause in rate changes since July 2023, reflecting a careful approach amid concerns about the banking sector, stock market stability, and global economic uncertainty. Investors and economists are keenly watching for any shifts in policy that could influence market dynamics and economic growth.

🚗 Breakthrough in EV Battery Technology with Microsoft's Help: Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have made a significant leap in electric vehicle (EV) battery tech, potentially reducing lithium usage by up to 70%. By harnessing AI, researchers sifted through 32 million materials to find a solid-state electrolyte named N2116, marking a major step toward more sustainable EV batteries. This innovation addresses the environmental concerns associated with lithium mining and could lead to batteries with longer ranges, faster charging, and safer usage. The discovery of N2116 could pave the way for future batteries that eliminate the need for lithium, aligning with global efforts to find more eco-friendly power sources for EVs.

New fff members

🇱🇹 Aivaras Simkus ⁠🇪🇪 Allan Martinson

SATURDAY • 16.03.2024

Ai_Primer_Social_Capital 202401.pdf3167.9KB

VC Chamath Palihapatiya created a nice deck for the very AI beginners

  • ⁠ ⁠⁠Replicating Human Brain: the goal of AI to pass the Turing Test & how human intelligence is processed through neurons in the brain •⁠ ⁠⁠Computer Circuitry 101: transistors, binary digits, multi-core processors in computers, parallels between computer & brain •⁠ ⁠⁠Computer Logic 101: history/evolution of AI logic systems, basic statistics & probabilities to complex forms like neural networks •⁠ ⁠⁠Neural Networks: intro, their structure, function, relating them to human brain function •⁠ ⁠⁠Types of Networks: various models, including CNNs for images & other specialized types •⁠ ⁠⁠LLMs: intro, architecture, relevance in AI •⁠ ⁠⁠GenAI: its ability to create new content + value in different sectors •⁠ ⁠⁠Artificial General Intelligence/AGI: concept, potential, how close we are to achieving it •⁠ ⁠⁠View on future of AI / forecasts
  • a bunch of links on each topic

FRIDAY • 15.03.2024

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Figure 1, the humanoid robot from AI robotics startup Figure. Figure is trying to take its humanoid robots to the next level by integrating language - and the results are quite impressive.

THURSDAY • 14.03.2024

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🚨 New Deal Alert!

👟 Volumental - a Swedish FitTech company that offers shoe recommendations for millions of shoppers by leveraging a combination of 3D foot scans, retail purchase data and AI.

The company has been founded in 2012 and has raised ca. 18m$ up to date. Operating in the US as the primary market. Last year ARR was ca.9m$.

Akim Arhipov: A disclaimer: I worked on a 3-month project for Volumetal last year - we validated their online business (Shopify plugin) and it skyrocketed.

Personally, I know the founders and team - best minds from KTH University who get insights and build products on top of millions of data points.

At that time, there weren't any sellers of the company's shares for me to buy. After chasing the guys for a year! we finally got it.

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🇱🇹 fff.vc Investor Story Lithuanian Edition!

🤘Our first guest is ⁨Tomas K⁩emtys, a General Partner at Contrarian Ventures!

👉 Apple Podcast: https://shorturl.at/crvJ8

💥 This is a Lithuanian Special series of fff.vc Investor Story. Across the series we will be talking with the leading VC funds and companies of the Lithuanian tech eco-system to bring their stories closer to you.

🎙 We talked about:

  • ⁠ ⁠How is it to operate a Pan-European fund from Lithuania;
  • ⁠ ⁠The perception and the evolution of the ClimateTech industry;
  • ⁠ ⁠Where is Contrarian Ventures getting its inspiration being one of the leading ClimateTech funds themselves;
  • ⁠ ⁠Power of the community;
  • ⁠ ⁠Is ClimateTech a bubble?

WEDNESDAY • 13.03.2024

Shahab Anbarjafari: In general, Claude 3 has come with a slap on the face of GPT models. Some of my UK colleagues are using it. The reasoning is almost the same but the overall impression is simply wow.

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TUESDAY • 12.03.2024

Here we go agaaaaaain 🚀

fff.vc retreat 🧡, proudly brought to you in collaboration with our member, Martin Villig!

Set against the backdrop of serenity and nature, this exclusive retreat awaits you immediately following Latitude59, from May 24th to May 26th.

Dates: May 24-26, 2024; Location: Uus-Meremäe Nature Resort, Westen-Estonia, 1.5h drive from Tallinn Activities: meditation, sauna rituals, cooking masterclasses, light sport activities, workshops around health & wealth; Cost: €690, billed to your OÜ. This all-inclusive price covers food, accommodation, everything you see in the program; People: 20 top founders, executives and angels Vibe: check agenda and photos below; How to get in: fill the form https://tally.so/r/nGdM4z

Morning routines with coaches: 🌊 Morning sea meditation and experiences sharing sessions

Learn & talk sessions with industry professionals: 1.⁠ ⁠🍎 Advancements in health & wellness: navigating latest research, tools and services 2.⁠ ⁠📈 Healthspan Optimisation 101 3.⁠ ⁠👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Playbook for setting up your family office. Why it’s important for you, your kids and the next generation?

Afternoon sports: 🏅Unleash your competitive spirit with afternoon sports activities including padel, golf, and discgolf.

We will be divided in teams for a small competition.

Evening activities: 1.⁠ ⁠🧑‍🍳 Cooking class: scientifically proven dish make people live longer; 2.⁠ ⁠Masterclass: natural wine & healthy soft drinks; 3.⁠ ⁠Sauna rituals; 4.⁠ ⁠Soulful conversations by the fire.

All comes with the best food 🥘and great connections 🫶.

Follow the link to secure your place at the fff.vc retreat and embark on a journey of self-discovery, connection, and transformation.

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MONDAY • 11.03.2024

Lithuania Independence Restoration Day 🇱🇹🇱🇹🇱🇹

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SUNDAY • 10.03.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 Beast Powers Through to Poland: Estonian eco-friendly Tesla rental Beast zips into the Polish market, aiming to electrify with its sustainable mobility charm. Already cruising in 7 European territories, Beast is accelerating the green revolution, one Tesla at a time.

🇪🇪 Estonia Supports UK Startups Facing Regulatory Challenges: Estonia's Accelerate Estonia program offers a lifeline to UK startups struggling with regulatory and legal changes. It fosters experimental collaborations between businesses and one of the world's most digitally advanced governments, promising a sandbox for innovation and a potential route to EU scalability.

🇱🇹 Vinted's Fashionable Expansion: From Vilnius to Copenhagen, Vinted acquires Trendsales, Denmark's largest second-hand fashion marketplace. It's a stylish stride towards Nordic dominance, further weaving Vinted's mission to make second-hand the first choice across Europe.

🇱🇹 Argyle Nets $30M Series C: The US-Lithuanian Argyle secures a hefty $30M, led by Rockefeller Asset Management, turbocharging its automated income and employment verification platform. It's a data-driven dash towards operational efficiency, with Argyle's sights set on financial fluidity by 2026.

🇸🇪 eComID's AI-Driven €2.75M Debut: Stockholm's eComID lands a hefty €2.75M in pre-seed funding. This AI maven is on a mission to slash e-commerce returns, sweetening the deal for retailers and planet alike with smarter, sustainable shopping decisions.

🇸🇪 Rescue for Cake by CEO Espen Digernes: In the wake of bankruptcy, Cake, a Swedish electric motorbike manufacturer, has been acquired by Espen Digernes. The acquisition's impact on the company's future and its previous employees remains to be seen as it navigates through bankruptcy proceedings and aims to sustain its innovative electric motorcycles.

🇸🇪 Cellcolabs Raises $8.7M for Stem Cell Innovation: Swedish biotech startup Cellcolabs secures $8.7M to make high-quality stem cells accessible and affordable. Aiming to revolutionize healthcare with stem cells known for their regenerative properties, the company is backed by significant investment to scale up its operations and development.

🇫🇮 Kvanted Ignites €2M in SynergyXR: Finnish fintech Kvanted spearheads a €2M investment into Danish SynergyXR, powering up the future of XR-driven industrial transformation. It's a blend of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality, reimagining workplace training and collaboration.

🇫🇮 Nordic Science Investments Unveils €60M Fund: Finland's NSI opens the lab doors with a €60M fund, aiming to transform Nordic university spin-outs from scientific sketches to market stars. It's a bet on deep tech's brightest minds, turning revolutionary research into commercial triumphs.

🇫🇮 SpinDrive's Magnetic €2.5M Lift: Lappeenranta's SpinDrive attracts a €2.5M grant from the EIC Accelerator. Their goal? Spinning the industry on its head with advanced magnetic bearings, promising frictionless futures and eco-efficient revolutions.

Baltic Public Markets Update

This week in the Baltic financial markets is packed with pivotal events across Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Highlights include Ekspress Grupp's extraordinary general meeting, a series of government securities auctions by Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė, and additional listings by Saunum Group. Investors should also watch out for Tallink Grupp's sales figures, AUGA group and MADARA Cosmetics' investor events, and a range of dividend dates and coupon payments from companies like Arco Vara and Attīstības finanšu institūcija Altum. This week exemplifies the vibrant activity and diverse opportunities within the Baltic financial markets. Nasdaq Baltic investor calendar - week 10/2024 →

Upcoming events

April 17-19, TechChill Riga 2024 - One of the most important tech and startup events in Baltics, bringing together over 2,300 participants, including startups, investors, and speakers for networking, knowledge sharing, and workshops in Riga, Latvia. https://www.techchill.co/ →

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

💪 In February, the U.S. economy boasted the addition of 275,000 jobs, nudging the unemployment rate to 3.9%. The surge in employment was led by health care and government sectors, adding 67,000 and 52,000 jobs, respectively. Remarkably, the job market for teenagers and adult women showed a noticeable shift, with their unemployment rates climbing to 12.5% and 3.5%. This period also highlighted the stability of long-term unemployment, representing 18.7% of the total unemployed, pointing to enduring challenges in the job market. Read here →

📈 Global equity funds witnessed inflows of $6.5 billion in a week, spurred by hopes of interest rate cuts, influenced by weak U.S. manufacturing data and Federal Reserve policymakers' comments. This enthusiasm drove the MSCI World Stock Index to a record peak. Asian, European, and U.S. funds enjoyed substantial inflows, with the tech sector leading at $1.45 billion. In contrast, the financial sector saw withdrawals. Bond funds experienced their largest weekly influx since April 2021, with a notable $18.04 billion, while precious metals and energy funds faced outflows. Emerging market debts continued to see a sell-off, marking a cautious stance among investors. Read here →

💻 Tech stocks experienced their largest weekly outflow on record, with investors withdrawing $4.4 billion, as per Bank of America's analysis using EPFR data. This historic sell-off occurred in the same week that U.S. tech shares, including Apple, plummeted after reports of declining iPhone sales in China. Despite this, tech shares have somewhat recovered, with the S&P 500 reaching new highs, largely driven by major tech firms. Meanwhile, investment grade bonds and cash saw significant inflows, $13.3 billion and $32 billion respectively, marking a shift towards more secure assets. This move reflects a broader trend of investors seeking safety in cash equivalents, bolstered by attractive yields. Additionally, real estate and crypto funds saw notable inflows, highlighting diverse investment strategies amid fluctuating market sentiments. Read here →

New fff members

🇱🇹 Nerijus Paulauskas 🇱🇹 Kestutis Dalinkevicius 🇱🇹 Kristupas Kukarskas 🇱🇻 Sergejs Andrijevskis 🇬🇧/🇪🇪 Mark Cowan

SATURDAY• 09.03.2024

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👋 Good Morning to all!

👉 Audrius Milukas⁩ was featured in Sifted, have a look!

FRIDAY • 08.03.2024

🧡

Happy International Women's Day to all the incredible women in our community(and not only)!

Your strength, wisdom, and compassion make the world a brighter place every day.

May this 8th of March bring you joy, recognition, and the celebration you truly deserve!

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TUESDAY • 05.03.2024

fff.vc team announces new website 🫡

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MONDAY • 04.03.2024

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A good read shared by Tim Vaino:

In charts: why European stock markets are in crisis

☝️☝️☝️

SUNDAY • 03.03.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 Roofit.Solar Wins iF Design Award: Estonian startup Roofit.Solar, known for its solar roofs, has won the prestigious iF Design Award. The award recognizes the company's innovative combination of steel roofing and solar technology, marking a significant achievement in sustainable building products. Congratulations @⁨Raimond Russak⁩

🇪🇪 Rendin Secures €1.8M: Operating in Estonia and Poland, Rendin has raised nearly €2M in preparation for its Series A funding round and expansion into current and new markets. The funding round was led by Tera Ventures and included contributions from approximately 100 landlords through the Startup Wise Guys fund.

🇱🇹 EF EVE Acquired by Djinn Technologies: Lithuania & UK-based volumetric capture pioneer EF EVE has been acquired by Djinn Technologies and rebranded as SpatialScan3D. This move enhances Djinn's 3D scanning and streaming capabilities, promising advanced solutions in volumetric video technology.

🇱🇹 Walk15 Secures €1 Million: Vilnius-based Walk15 raises €1M for its sustainable mobility app, planning to expand into the German market. With over 640,000 users, Walk15 aims to promote health and sustainability globally.

🇸🇪 Bionamic Raises €350K: Lund's Bionamic secures €350K to fuel its AI-driven biopharma solutions, aiming to revolutionize antibody research with its platform. The funding will support European expansion and enhance research efficiency.

🇫🇮 Boksi Acquires The Influencer GmbH: Helsinki's Boksi enhances its European reach by acquiring German influencer marketing agency The Influencer GmbH. This strategic move strengthens Boksi’s presence in Central Europe, leveraging advanced software solutions for improved campaign efficiency.

🇪🇺 EIC Accelerator Fuels Finnish Innovation: The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator's latest funding round pours €285M into deeptech ventures across Europe, spotlighting Finnish startups at the cutting edge of technology. With grants and equity investments, the EIC propels these pioneers towards global impact: 🇫🇮 IQM Finland, 🇫🇮 SpinDrive Oy, 🇫🇮 Basemark Oy, 🇫🇮 VEXLUM Oy.

Baltic Public Markets Update

Week 09 of 2024 at Nasdaq Baltic is packed with significant events, featuring government securities auctions, a wide array of financial reports, and numerous investor activities. Highlights include government securities auctions by Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė, annual and interim reports from companies like Infortar, LHV Group, INDEXO, and Ignitis grupė, alongside multiple investor events for Infortar, INDEXO, and Tallinna Sadam. The week also sees an extraordinary general meeting by Ekspress Grupp and numerous coupon payment dates, showcasing a diverse and active week in the Baltic financial markets: Nasdaq Baltic investor calendar - week 09/2024 →

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

🌍 Immigration Fuels Economic Comeback: The U.S. economy is bouncing back with a vengeance, and immigrants are at the heart of this revival. Between January 2023 and January 2024, they've been pivotal, accounting for half of the labor market's expansion. Immigrant workers are quickly filling the voids left by the pandemic, securing jobs faster and enjoying substantial wage increases. While the topic of immigration often sparks debate, its boon to the economy is unmistakable. Projections are optimistic, anticipating a 5.2 million increase in the labor force by 2033 through net immigration, potentially adding an astonishing $7 trillion to the economy over the next decade. Read here →

🤖 Microsoft's AI Game-Changer for Finance Folks: Meet Copilot, Microsoft's latest AI marvel designed for the finance sector. Embedded in Excel and Outlook, Copilot is here to simplify everything from variance analysis to data reconciliation, and it's friendly with SAP and Microsoft Dynamics 365 too. While we're still waiting on the price tag, the promise is clear: less time on mundane tasks, more on strategic decisions. Dentsu, the Japanese ad agency, is among the early adopters, highlighting the tool's potential to free up employee time for more strategic work. Read here →

🔬 Hong Kong's Tech Ambitions Skyrocket with HK$24B Investment: Hong Kong's not just dipping its toes but plunging into the tech pool with a HK$24 billion investment aimed at the 2024-25 innovation sector. This hefty sum will kickstart various schemes, including a HK$10 billion New Industrialisation Acceleration Scheme and a HK$3 billion AI Subsidy Scheme, focusing on health tech, AI, and new energy. It's a clear signal that Hong Kong is serious about becoming a leading global tech hub and fostering high-quality economic growth through innovation. Read here →

New fff members

🇱🇹 Viktorija Vaitkevičienė| 🇱🇹 Jaunius Danielius 🇱🇹 Andrej Cyba 🇱🇹 Rokas Iščiukas

THURSDAY • 29.02.2024

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🚨 It is out!

🔎 Very inspiring and honest talk with Kristjan Novitski⁩ (thanks for joining) about himself, Private Equity, and the Livonia Partners acquisition of Stebby - the largest wellness marketplace in the Baltics.

🙏 Show some support by clicking the “like” button on LinkedIn to spread it!

WEDNESDAY • 28.02.2024

A very simple yet very useful table, combined by our member Serhat Pala for founders, business school students, and those who want to learn more about investment:

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And a quick summary of the Healthspan Optimization 101 workshop, conducted by Dr. Desmond Wilson. Stay Healthy!

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TUESDAY • 27.02.2024

🌟 Workshop Reminder: Healthspan Optimization 101 🌟 Good evening, fff! Just popping in to remind you that tomorrow, February 28, 2024 at 19:00 Estonian time, is the day of our workshop with Dr. Desmond Wilson on Healthspan Optimization. We're on the brink of diving deep into the essentials of living a healthier, longer life, free from chronic diseases. 🍀

📌 A Very Quick Recap: Dr. Desmond will be covering such interesting topics like Understanding Healthspan vs. Lifespan, Bridging the Health Gap, Chronic Disease Insights, Optimization Toolkit, and Exploring Future Frontiers.

💌 Check Your Inbox! We've noticed that several of our members haven't responded yet. Please make sure to check your inbox for the invitation. It’s an opportunity you wouldn't want to miss. If you haven't found the email or have any questions, please reach out ASAP.

Let’s make it a day of learning, growth, and health! 🙌

MONDAY • 26.02.2024

The fff.vc team is developing a digital family office for tech professionals. We are seeking 🔟 heroes to test the platform.

Wealth for an individual in the 21st century can be understood in a multi-dimensional way, encompassing not just financial assets but various aspects such as financial 💰, investing 📈, health 🍎, education 📚, social capital 🤝, travel ✈️ and experiences 🌄

High net worth individuals pay $$$ to at least 5 advisors to manage those for them. Our experience leading a real family office with $100 million AUM led us to realize we can build a new generation wealth platform for all fff.vc members.

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What's your choice?

SUNDAY • 25.02.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 Cognitiwe's €1M Funding: Estonian AI startup Cognitiwe raises €1M for its Vision AI to help retailers reduce food waste, enhancing efficiency and sustainability in daily operations.

🇱🇹 Evergrowth's €2M Pre-seed: Vilnius-based Evergrowth secures a €2M pre-seed investment for its AI-powered B2B sales platform, aiming to eliminate spam in sales and expand across the US and Europe.

🇫🇮 Desentum Raises €12M: Espoo-based Desentum secures €12M from Springvest Oyj for advancing allergy vaccine development, targeting improved treatments for various allergies with its innovative hypoallergens.

🇫🇮 TILT Biotherapeutics' $2M Grant: Helsinki's TILT Biotherapeutics receives a $2M grant from the US Department of Defense for ovarian cancer immunotherapy research, marking significant progress in their clinical trials for TILT-123.

🇸🇪 Dealguru's €900K Funding: Lund's Dealguru attracts €900K from Finnish VCs Gorilla Capital and Innovestor, aiming to become Sweden's largest community for shopping deals, with plans for an app to simplify offer navigation.

🇸🇪 Serverpod's €1.7M Pre-seed: Stockholm's Serverpod, enhancing the Flutter framework for app development, lands €1.7M in pre-seed funding from PSV Tech01, aiming to simplify and accelerate app development processes.

🇸🇪 Digmi's €0.5M Round: Swedish SaaS company Digmi raises €500k, revolutionizing the beauty industry with digital solutions for hairdressers, planning for national and international growth.

🇸🇪 Codicent's Investment: Gothenburg-based AI startup Codicent secures its first funding round to develop AI-driven logbooks for effective knowledge management and sharing within organizations.

Baltic public markets update

Week 08 of 2024 at Nasdaq Baltic features a diverse array of financial events, including government securities auctions and a series of notable corporate activities. Key events encompass coupon payments by Eco Baltia and Latvenergo, comprehensive annual and interim reports from companies like Bigbank, Tallinna Kaubamaja Grupp, and Harju Elekter Group, alongside extraordinary general meetings by Snaigė and Latvijas Gāze. Additionally, several investor events by companies such as Akola Group, Tallink Grupp, and Baltic Horizon Fund are scheduled, highlighting a week rich in investor communications and corporate disclosures: Nasdaq Baltic investor calendar - week 08/2024 →

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

⁠🥵 Overheated markets: the article provides a comprehensive analysis of current market conditions and financial trends.

Key insights include:

  • ⁠ ⁠Investment-grade and high-yield credit default swaps reaching lows not seen since early 2022, indicating market optimism or potential underestimation of risk.
  • ⁠Significant capitalization gains in tech giants like Nvidia, pointing towards a surge in market valuation amid speculative trends.
  • ⁠De-risking and deleveraging activities impacting the Chinese stock market, highlighting concerns about sustainability and stability.
  • ⁠Analysis of global and US monetary policy directions, suggesting potential long-term debates on the effectiveness and timing of these policies.
  • ⁠Observations on the state of financial markets, including stock, credit, and commodity markets, suggesting a broad range of overheating signals across asset classes.

🇺🇸 US dominance: the article outlines the increasing dominance of US equities in the global market.

Key points include:

  • ⁠ ⁠US stocks make up about 70% of the MSCI global stocks index, with major US tech companies leading.
  • ⁠The S&P 500 has surpassed the 5000 level, emphasizing the value concentration in US markets.
  • ⁠Challenges in the Chinese and European markets have indirectly bolstered the relative strength of US equities.
  • ⁠The rise of technology as an economic force and innovations, including AI, further cement US dominance.
  • ⁠The liquidity and prestige of US markets attract international companies to list in the US, reinforcing this trend.

Podcasts are back

Stay tuned 🎙️

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SATURDAY • 24.02.2024

Elagu Eesti 🇪🇪 Happy Independence day!

Let's keep this unity and celebrate Estonia’s Independence Day together!

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THURSDAY • 22.02.2024

Workshop Announcement Reminder

Hello everyone! Just a gentle reminder that we're less than a week away from our exciting workshop on Healthspan Optimization 101 with Dr. Desmond Wilson, MD. This workshop is a must-attend for anyone interested in health & longevity topics. 🍀

🗓 To remind you what’s that about:

🍋 Introduction to HealthSpan: Exploring the vital difference between healthspan and lifespan, and the importance of living a life free from chronic diseases.

💡 Bridging the Gap: Understanding the increasing disparity between our lifespan and healthspan, with a focus on integrated strategies for better health outcomes.

👀 Chronic Disease Impact: An insightful discussion on how chronic diseases affect our lives and preventive measures we can take.

🧰 Toolkit for HealthSpan Optimization: A comprehensive look at the tools and strategies available for optimizing our healthspan, including lifestyle changes and scientific advancements.

♾️ Future Frontiers: Delving into the latest research on aging, the role of cellular senescence, and the potential impact of senolytics on extending our healthspan.

Please check your inbox for the invitation to be part of this informative session. If you haven't received your invitation, or if you have any questions, don't hesitate to let me know! Let's make the most of this opportunity to learn and grow together. 🌟

Looking forward to seeing you all there! 🙌

WEDNESDAY • 21.02.2024

Our super-star Patrick Van Hoof has been selected as a Techstar All-Star Mentor. Congratulations!

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Also, Congrats ⁨JB Daguené with raising the mega pre-seed. Grow Evergrowth and come to fff.vc for the next one!

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SUNDAY • 18.02.2024

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

By fff.vc team

📈 January wholesale prices rise more than expected, another sign of persistent inflation: the producer price index, a measure of prices received by producers of domestic goods and services, rose 0.3% for the month, the biggest move since August. Excluding food and energy, core PPI increased 0.5%, also against expectations for a 0.1% gain. PPI excluding food, energy and trade services jumped 0.6%, its biggest one-month advance since January 2023

🇪🇺 European regulators step up scrutiny of consumer companies over price rises: European competition authorities are focusing more on companies in the consumer sector as inflation heightens the risk of uncompetitive behaviour. Globally, the value of retail sales in the consumer products sector rose by an average of 10 per cent year on year in 2023, but three-quarters of the growth was a result of price increases, according to a report by management consultant Bain. 

🏘 US homebuilding sees biggest drop since April 2020: housing starts, a measure of new home construction, fell by 14.8%, compared with the previous month, according to data released Friday by the Census Bureau.

👶 Birth rates are dropping to record lows in Europe: the average age of Europeans is 44 years and 6 months old. The population is not growing due to a decline in births and the closure of borders to immigrants. 

📹 Open AI announced Sora, a text-to-video AI model: Sora is a new AI model that can create videos of up to 1 minute featuring highly realistic and imaginative detailed scenes, complex camera motion, and multiple characters with vibrant emotions from simple text instruction

🏆 How AI will transform consumer technology by a16z.

🛸 Counter-unmanned aerial systems by PitchBook: nets, lasers, GPS spoofers - VC opportunities in neutralizing drones. Startups are muscling into this dilemma with solutions that are more cost-effective than those developed by established defense contractors, while governments have earmarked significant funding for research and development.

SATURDAY • 17.02.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 Trind Ventures Backs Groover: Estonian venture capital firm Trind Ventures leads the $8M Series A funding of French music promotion startup Groover. The investment supports Groover's mission to connect independent artists with curators and labels, promoting new talent discovery across the music industry.

🇸🇪 Powertech Fever Secures €10M: Fever, a Stockholm-based innovator in the energy sector, lands €10 million to boost grid resilience through its API-centric virtual power plant platform, enhancing the integration of renewable energy sources.

🇸🇪 Life Inside Gains €350K: Stockholm's Life Inside raises €350k to redefine video marketing, offering businesses a platform for creating interactive video testimonials with minimal effort and cost.

🇸🇪 MANTLE Secures £2.4M: Stockholm's skincare brand MANTLE raises £2.4 million led by Venrex to expand its clean, effective skincare line in Europe and the US, aiming to strengthen the skin barrier with innovative ingredients.

🇱🇹 Cyber Upgrade's €650K Pre-seed: Lithuanian cybersecurity startup Cyber Upgrade bags €650k to bolster SMEs' defenses against cyber threats, focusing on AI-driven solutions for a safer digital environment.

🇱🇹 Walk15 Secures €1M: Lithuanian wellness tech startup Walk15 lands €1M from Coinvest Capital and NGL, aiming to propel its walking app into the German market, promoting physical activity and healthy living.

🇫🇮 CapitalBox Launches Collateral Lending: CapitalBox introduces a new SME-focused collateral lending program, offering loans up to €1M for European small- and medium-sized enterprises, enhancing their capacity for growth and innovation.

🇫🇮 Bob W's €40M Series B: Helsinki's tech-enabled hospitality operator, Bob W, secures €40M in Series B funding led by Evli Growth Partners to fuel its European expansion, blending hotel quality with the charm of short-term rentals.

🇫🇮 Vapaus Boosts Employee Mobility: Helsinki's Vapaus raises €15M from Norion Bank to expand its sustainable transportation benefits across Finland and Sweden, promoting well-being and environmental responsibility in the workplace.

Baltic public markets update

Week 07 of 2024 at Nasdaq Baltic is vibrant with financial activities including government securities auctions, coupon payments by ELKO Grupa and Banga Ltd, and sales figures from Coop Pank and Enefit Green. Eleving Group and LHV Group report on their performance, alongside interim reports from Hepsor, Baltic Horizon Fund, Novaturas, Arco Vara, and others. Highlighting the week are an extraordinary general meeting by LITGRID and an investor event by EfTEN United Property Fund.

FRIDAY • 16.02.2024

Workshop announcement

Since a lot of members are interested in health & longevity topics, we approached Dr. Desmond Wilson MD who will share 1 hour workshop - Healthspan Optimization 101!

1.⁠ ⁠🍋 Introduction to HealthSpan: Dr. Wilson explores the concept of healthspan versus lifespan, emphasizing the importance of quality life years free from chronic diseases and disability.

2.⁠ ⁠⁠💡Bridging the Gap: Insights into the widening gap between lifespan and healthspan, highlighting the need for integrated strategies to enhance health outcomes.

3.⁠ ⁠👀 Chronic Disease Impact: A deep dive into how chronic diseases are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality, and strategies for prevention and management.

4.⁠ ⁠🧰 Toolkit for HealthSpan Optimization: An overview of the tools available for healthspan optimization, including personalized medical care, lifestyle choices, and cutting-edge scientific advancements.

5.⁠ ⁠♾️ Future Frontiers: Dr. Wilson discusses emerging research in aging, targeting cellular senescence, and the potential of interventions like senolytics to extend healthspan and improve quality of life.

In your inboxes you can now find invites to our workshop on 28th of February. 🌟

THURSDAY • 15.02.2024

Our portfolio company Teamdash is voted the HR solution of the year by Estonia HR Society! Congrats all syndicate members!

THURSDAY • 15.02.2024

Y Combinator has updated their “request for startups” list. Shows what the best startup accelerator sees as the most promising categories right now:

  • Applying machine learning to robotics
  • Using machine learning to simulate the physical world
  • New defense technology
  • Bring manufacturing back to America
  • New space companies
  • Climate tech
  • Commercial open source companies
  • Spatial computing
  • New enterprise resource planning software (ERPs)
  • Developer tools inspired by existing internal tools
  • Explainable AI
  • LLMs for manual back office processes in legacy enterprises
  • AI to build enterprise software
  • Stablecoin finance
  • A way to end cancer
  • Foundation models for biological systems
  • The managed service organization model for healthcare
  • Eliminating middlemen in healthcare
  • Better enterprise glue
  • Small fine-tuned models as an alternative to giant generic ones

WEDNESDAY • 14.02.2024

Sven Illing shared the report about Lithuanian startup ecosystem in 2023:

TUESDAY • 13.02.2024

Summary from the DefenceTech meet-up in Tallinn

Main business logic: strategies for scaling and reducing the production cost of a new type of flying drones.

Almost zero money available for the defencetech. Estonia should attract it.

What we can offer?

1.⁠ ⁠Our easy-to-setup business infrastructure; 2.⁠ ⁠⁠Cooperation with the government; 3.⁠ ⁠⁠Our startup and tech community.

What startup ideas they look for?

Gov representatives ask to thinks about solutions to fight against shahed drones.

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Mikhail Chuprynski, a Belarusian who joined the Ukrainian army, shared his story from the front lines. He explained that a 1km frontline is typically manned by 10-12 people. He believes there is a need for qualified drone pilots and autonomous, radio-silent flight operations for the last mile due to signal jamming. With modern perimeter antennas and satellites, they are now able to predict enemy operations.

Thousands of teams are working on drone creation in their garages. The information transition cycle from these new drones is incredible - they manufacture drones, soldiers deploy them to the front lines, and by the same evening, they receive real-time data from the front lines.

MONDAY • 12.02.2024

Congrats ⁨Aurimas Bakas⁩ with the pre-seed round! Get cybersecurity back to your company with CyberUpgrade.

SUNDAY • 11.02.2024

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

By fff.vc team

🆙 201 billion was added to the US national debt in just one month. In addition, household debt reached a new high of $17.5 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2023, with credit card debt and mortgages contributing the most to the increase. Read about consequences here →, here → and here →

💬 Inflation, retail sales, and corporate earnings: what to know this week →

🇪🇺 EU member states and MEPs struck a preliminary deal on Saturday to ease the bloc's stringent fiscal rules giving governments more time to reduce debt as well as incentives to boost public investments in climate, industrial policy and security. Read about next steps →

🇪🇺 Probability of recession this year is high in EU - check the results of a survey of experts → that showed elevated recession risks due to geopolitical conflicts and heightened energy costs in Europe.

📈 Bitcoin climbs above $47K for first time since spot ETF approvals. The nine newborn U.S. spot bitcoin ETFs, excluding Grayscale’s converted fund, now hold over 200,000 BTC in assets under management. IBIT and FBTC’s holdings lead the top 25 newborn ETFs overall after one month of trading

😎 The Frame glasses offer AI visual analysis, translation, and web search right before your eyes. Check here →

🚀 OpenAI CEO Sam Altman seeks as much as $7 trillion for new AI chip project →

SATURDAY • 10.02.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 SensusQ's Defense Tech Advancement: Estonian SensusQ secures a pivotal investment from Specialist VC, embarking on a mission to refine military intelligence through AI. This move signals the expanding interest of VCs in defense technology, with SensusQ at the forefront of this transformative trend.

🇪🇪 Tuum's Banking Breakthrough: With a €25M Series B round, Estonian fintech Tuum is set to globally transform banking. Its modular platform promises rapid and smooth rollouts of financial services, signaling a new era in banking efficiency and innovation.

🇪🇪 Starship Technologies' Delivery Revolution: Originating from Estonia, Starship Technologies secures €83.6M to expand its fleet of autonomous delivery robots, targeting a major shift in last-mile logistics with an eye on reducing carbon emissions.

🇱🇹 Leya AI's Edtech Evolution: Vilnius's Leya AI receives €1M in pre-seed funding for its AI Tutor, aiming to revolutionize language learning worldwide by making it more accessible, engaging, and effective.

🇱🇹 Axiology's Fintech Innovation: Lithuanian startup Axiology lands €2M to lead the charge in tokenized securities trading within the EU, leveraging advanced DLT technology to open up capital markets like never before.

🇸🇪 Xensam's €37M Revolution: Stockholm-based Xensam, leveraging AI for software asset management, lands a €37M investment from Expedition Growth Capital. This infusion is aimed at global transformation, offering unparalleled savings and efficiency in software management.

🇸🇪 Myrspoven's €5.4M Green Mission: From Stockholm, Myrspoven secures €5.4M to lead the real estate sector into a new era of energy efficiency. With a focus on reducing carbon emissions, this AI startup is managing vast spaces across Europe, pioneering sustainability in property management.

🇸🇪 Froda & Ageras Expand to Germany: Swedish SME financing specialist Froda collaborates with Ageras to offer 50,000 entrepreneurs in Germany easy financing solutions through Visa Business cards, marking a significant step in their expansion strategy.

🇸🇪 Northe & Brite Payments Innovate EV Charging: In a move to streamline EV charging payments, Sweden's Northe and Brite Payments unite, aiming to improve the charging experience for fleet operators and advance greener transportation solutions.

🇫🇮 Reveel's Digital Exploration Leap: Helsinki's Reveel secures €650K in pre-seed funding from Inventure VC, ready to redefine tourism with innovative digital guidebooks. Powered by AI, Reveel aims to revolutionize the way we discover the world, offering smart, immersive travel experiences.

🇫🇮 3TS Capital's €111M Tech Boost: Split between Helsinki and Vienna, 3TS Capital Partners closes Fund IV at €111M, setting sights on nurturing Europe's next tech giants. With a history of over 50 investments, 3TS Capital is poised to reshape the TMT sector, driving innovation and growth.

Baltic public markets update

Nasdaq Baltic is bustling with activity, featuring government securities auctions, coupon payments, and a range of financial reports. Highlights include coupon payments from CrossChem and Admirals Group AS, sales figures from Tallink Grupp, and interim reports from LHV Group, SAF Tehnika, Nordecon, and more. Snaigė's takeover offer period, along with Merko Ehitus and Coop Pank's annual reports, underline a week rich in investment moves and market dynamics.

FRIDAY • 9.02.2024

🌿🫀🤸‍♀️Longevity docuseries for this weekend:

What's the secret to living to 100? National Geographic explorer Dan Buettner has been probing that question for decades now. For a new book and a documentary series on Netflix, Buettner traveled to so-called longevity hotspots all over the world and met people who are living longer without really trying.

It’s a four-part docuseries on Netflix titled Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones takes viewers around the world to investigate the diet, behavior and lifestyles of those living the longest, most vibrant lives.

Episodes range from 30 to 45 minutes, and each dives into one or two of the six Blue Zones around the globe— the Italian mountain villages of Sardinia, Japan’s famous Okinawan people, the family- and wine-oriented Greek Ikarians, the farmers of Costa Rica’s Nicoya region, the tight-knit Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda, and the surprising rise of centenarians in Singapore.

NEW MEMBERS • 9.02.2024

1.⁠ ⁠⁠🇱🇹 Arnas Stuopelis, Chairman of the Board at Hostinger / linkedin →

2.⁠ ⁠⁠🇱🇹 ⁠Andrius Juozapaitis, Founder of Algori / linkedin →

3.⁠ ⁠🇱🇹 ⁠Mindaugas Petronis, Founder of Hector / linkedin →

THURSDAY • 8.02.2024

Oksana Tolmatšova is a member of our community and since there was some interest towards ESGrid we are happy to share the opportunity that is being syndicated by EstBan (ca.200k committed already).

💡
Please note, we did not perform a deep DD on this deal and fff.vc is just passing on the information. We are not investing ourselves as the community.

General overview: Esgrid helps enterprises and banks manage value chain ESG impact from the bottom up by unlocking easy-to-use sustainability tools for value chain SMEs. Pitchdeck:

Esgrid – Pitch.pdf648.0KB

Q&A call will take place next Tuesday, at 16.30 Tallinn time.

Convertible note: Valuation floor: 1 000 000 € Valuation cap: 2 500 000 € Discount rate: 20% Interest rate: 8% Maturity date: 30.09.2025

REQUESTS FROM MEMBERS • 7.02.2024

Lion Martinez: wild request but does anyone have a connection to an entrepreneurial engineer who has experience building medical/health devices (such as chromatograpy devices)? Hugues Flament: anyone in the drug discovery unit of a pharma company? The startup cellboxlabs (Latvia) is raising funds in that sector. Given the very specific market I was wondering if someone has an opinion on their product? Kristaps Prusis: quick question to the Lithuanian members, is there a service you can recommend to check Lithuanian companies (latest annual reports, potential tax debts or other issues etc)?

TUESDAY • 6.02.2024

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We are organising a fff.vc breakfast in Vilnius.

🍳 Let’s gather for a cozy brekkie on the 7th of February, @Daily Poison at 9am to make the community feeling stronger and build the relationships!

🙏 Let us know if you can make it: https://tally.so/r/3EWpzr

MONDAY • 5.02.2024

Our member, ⁨Silver Kalmus,⁩ and Sorainen published a webinar titled "The latest developments in the pan-Baltic bonds market."

Agneta Rumpa presented the EU Green Bond Standard and Silver⁩ shared his view on Baltic region's sustainable bond market, along with providing insights on structuring green bonds following the International Capital Market Association Green Bond Principles.

NEW MEMBERS • 5.02.2024

  1. 🇬🇧 Pamela Hsieh, Angel & ex-Alibaba / linkedin →
  2. 🇪🇪 Gert Lõhmus, Data @ Vinted / linkedin →
  3. 🇱🇹 ⁠Rapolas Peciulis, Finance & M&A / linkedin →
  4. ⁠⁠🇱🇹 Tomas Kemtys, Partner at Contrarian Ventures / linkedin →
  5. ⁠⁠🇱🇹 ⁠Edvardas Tamkevicius, Finance & Real Estate / linkedin →

SUNDAY • 4.02.2024

Estonian Startup Awards 2023 results.

fff.vc members are rock stars.

Congrats Alvar Lumberg with winning the GreenTech of 2023 nomination and Oliver Ahlberg⁩ & Taavi Madiberk, Avery Schrader⁩, ⁨Siim Teller⁩, Sten Tamkivi on being among top 3 nominees in different categories. Summary here.

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SATURDAY • 3.02.2024

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

By fff.vc team

⬇️ ⁠The Euro Area Inflation Rate for January 2024 is 2.8%. This is according to a flash estimate released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. It represents a slight decrease from the 2.9% inflation rate observed in December 2023.

👩‍🌾 Farmers’ protests have erupted across Europe. Farmers across the bloc say that the costs of energy, fertilizer and transport have risen, particularly in light of Russia’s war in Ukraine. On top of this, governments have been trying to reduce rising food prices amid inflation. Farmers, particularly in Eastern Europe, continue to voice grievances over the cheap agricultural imports from Ukraine, including grain, sugar and meat. The EU has waived quotas and duties on Ukrainian imports in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In France, a government plan to phase out a tax break for farmers on diesel fuel, as part of a wider energy transition policy, has also sparked anger. What’s being done to calm the protests? Read here →

📈 S&P 500 hits record high after jobs report, tech earnings thrill investors. Read here→

✂️ Fed rate cut not likely in March, Powell says at press conference. The Fed is waiting for greater confidence in sustainable inflation before considering rate cuts. Overview here→

🇨🇳 China faces severe real estate woes, deflation, and an exodus of global investors. The Chinese stock market, for one, has shed roughly $6 trillion in value since peaking in 2021. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index is still in the red this year to date, trading 9% lower so far this year and down 4% from a week ago. Meanwhile, the CSI 300 — which tracks 300 Shanghai and Shenzhen-listed stocks with the largest market capitalizations — is about 6% lower so far this year and 4% lower from a week ago. Foreign investors are so unenthusiastic about China that they have pulled out nearly 90% of the money they put into Chinese stocks in 2023, according to a Financial Times analysis of data from Hong Kong's Stock Connect last month. A record downturn in its dominant real estate market, high youth unemployment, deflation, and a rapidly falling birthrate are just some of the issues ailing the world’s second-largest economy.

♊ Google is reportedly rebranding Bard to Gemini and plans to launch a dedicated app. Per the leaked document on X, Gemini Advanced will give users access to the Ultra 1.0 model of Gemini, which is “far more capable at highly complex tasks like coding, logical reasoning, following nuanced instructions, and creative collaboration.” It’ll be available in over 150 countries and optimized for the English language at the start.

😎 The first Reddit reviews of the Vision Pro are in. Check here→

FRIDAY • 2.02.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

by fff.vc team

🧳 Venture capital news

🇱🇹 Practica Capital's €80M Milestone: Setting a new standard, Practica Capital unveils the Baltics' largest-ever seed fund at €80M, targeting SaaS, marketplace, and Deep/Industrial tech sectors, aiming to elevate the Baltic startup ecosystem.

🇸🇪 Cake's End of Road: Sweden's electric motorcycle innovator Cake declares bankruptcy after raising $74.4M, showcasing the challenges of ambitious tech ventures.

🇸🇪 Heart Aerospace's $107M Leap: Securing a massive $107M Series B, Heart Aerospace is pushing its hybrid-electric ES-30 plane towards eco-friendly regional aviation, marking a significant stride in sustainable air travel.

🇸🇪 Roro's Gaming Universe: With €1.5M in funding, Roro, born from Toca Boca and Mojang veterans, is crafting a unique, non-toxic mobile gaming space, promising a creative and liberating 3D digital experience.

🇸🇪 Version Lens Innovates Product Management: With a €1.5M pre-seed from People Ventures, Version Lens introduces a pioneering co-pilot tool for product managers, aiming to transform Product Operations through automation and insight.

🇫🇮 Dagsmark Joins Forces with VAFO: In a move to dominate the Nordic pet food scene, Finland's Dagsmark Petfood merges with the VAFO Group, focusing on sustainable, locally sourced premium products.

🇫🇮 Paptic's Sustainable Packaging Push: Paptic raises €27.5 million to disrupt the packaging industry with sustainable wood fiber solutions, targeting a significant global market expansion.

🇫🇮 Order of Meta's Gaming Venture: Helsinki-based Order of Meta garners $3.3M for Cargo Hunters, introducing a novel mobile PvPvE shooter concept, backed by GEM Capital for a pioneering venture into the extraction shooter genre.

📈 Baltic public markets update

In the fifth week of 2024, the Nasdaq Baltic saw government securities auctions, numerous coupon payments from companies like Eleving Group and mogo, and interim reports from EfTEN Real Estate Fund and Storent Holdings. Tallinna Vesi shared their annual report and hosted an investor event, marking a week full of financial activities. Check here →

🎧 Featured talks

A catchy episode of The Knowledge Project, where Shane Parrish and Tom Gayner, a good friend of Charlie Munger, discuss life lessons, long-term game strategies, and the value of simplicity in management.

📆 Upcoming events

March 15-16, CEE VC Summit - The premier gathering in Central and Eastern Europe for VCs, angel investors, startups, and entrepreneurs to connect, share insights, and explore investment opportunities.

THURSDAY • 1.02.2024

CB Insights and OliverWyman published generative AI predictions for 2024. The most complete research we have seen so far around AI:

OW GenAI & Business & Society 2024.pdf5775.5KB
CB Insights Generative AI Predictions 2024.pdf23546.3KB

WEDNESDAY • 31.01.2024

Our co-founder, Tim Vaino, Change Ventures and FirstPick have just published the Baltic Startup Scene Report H2 2023.

Dive into the report for insights on 🌱 pre-seed & 🌿 seed stages - think valuations, sizes, revenues, and much more.

TUESDAY • 30.01.2024

The first fff.vc retreat has come to an end 🔥

It was a mind-blowing experience: we visited a Kood / Jõhvi 👩‍💻, cooked fish soup 🐟 & tomahawks 🥩, rode snowmobiles ⛸️, hung fish nets 🎣, followed local traditions 🍾, took part in bathing rituals 🧖‍♂️ and more.

We discussed life experiences, investing, and laughing. We very appreciate our new friendship.

It was truly inspiring - thank you ⁨Arho Anttila⁩, Patrick van Hoof⁩, ⁨Hugues⁩ Flament, ⁨Pavel⁩ Ruben, ⁨Samuel Jaeger⁩, Armando Copolla.

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MONDAY • 29.01.2024

Akim Arhipov attended a panel discussion with Sam Altman. Notes from the session 📄:

  1. ⁠Continuous AI embedding in the world is happening now;
  2. ⁠Little productive investment done in covering AI risks - OpenAI aim to do it themselves;
  3. AI for better education, health, entertainment;
  4. “We learn and listen users what they want and apply it in new releases. That’s why App Store and you own GPT agent. We did safety tests before releasing the ChatGPT 4 for 8 months. We build systems, not products”;
  5. AI role next year (US presidential elections btw): Sam worried about deepfakes - customised one on one persuasion ability of the models. Moderator: “Like ChatGPT influencing your decisions in chat window (people laughing)?”;

7.⁠ ⁠People should trust the companies to educate governments on new possible legislations.

NEW MEMBERS • 29.01.2024

  1. 🇪🇪 Remo Holsmer, Business and Leadership / linkedin →
  2. ⁠🇱🇹 ⁠Arturas Svirskis, Angel investments and Fintech / linkedin →
  3. 🇱🇹 ⁠Vytenis Kinduris, Business Development & Defence / linkedin →

SUNDAY • 28.01.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

By fff.vc team

🧳 Venture capital news

🇪🇺 Plural's Tech Revolution: Plural launches a €400M fund, targeting trailblazing tech startups. Spearheaded by industry giants, it's a game-changer for European innovation.

🇪🇪 Cleantech Fund Ignites Estonia's Green Future: 2C Ventures unveils a €50M fund, laser-focused on boosting early-stage cleantech heroes in Estonia and beyond.

🇪🇪 ESGrid Wins at sTARTUp Day: Estonian ESG data startup ESGrid clinches the sTARTUp Day pitch contest's top prize - up to €200,000 syndicate investment from EstBAN. With an exceptional team and an innovative concept that aligns with EstBAN's mission to support fledgling startups, ESGrid is poised to disrupt the market.

🇱🇹 AskToSell's €100K Pre-Seed Triumph: Vilnius-based AI innovator AskToSell secures €100,000 in pre-seed funding. Their autonomous AI sales agents aim to revolutionize SMB sales, a venture backed by Startup Wise Guys and Specialist VC, marking another successful collaboration with founders Laimonas Noreika and Karolis Januškas.

🇫🇮 The closing of a CardioSignal's Series A: With a robust $10M Series A funding, Finnish CardioSignal is set to revolutionize heart disease detection using smartphones. Backed by DigiTx and others, their game-changing tech promises a new era in cardiovascular healthcare.

🇫🇮 Vegemi's Healthy Boost: Helsinki's Vegemi snags €500k from angels! It's revolutionizing kids' health education through XR tech – fun, engaging, and oh-so-nutritious!

🇫🇮 Chipmetrics' Growth Investment: Chipmetrics lands a whopping €2.4M! This Joensuu-based ALD tech star is set to skyrocket in the semiconductor galaxy with its cutting-edge metrology solutions.

🇸🇪 The Biggest Amount This Week: H2 Green Steel secures 48 billion SEK in loans and 3.4 billion SEK in new investments, including Microsoft, for its green steel project in Boden.

📈 Baltic public markets update

During the fourth week of 2024, the following events occurred in the Nasdaq Baltic market. Check here for more details.

🎧 Featured talks

Join seasoned venture capitalists Jeff Rinvelt and Martin Tobias as they reveal their insider knowledge and strategies for navigating the VC world.

📆 Upcoming events

February 12-16, Stockholm FinTech Week 2024 - Meet startup founders, industry experts and investors. Thanks to ⁨Armando Coppola⁩ - we have a discount of 20% to get tickets: https://ti.to/sfw/stockholm-fintech-week-2024/discount/WELLSTREET2024

FRIDAY • 26.01.2024

Our member, Oksana Tolmatshova & ESGrid wins the sTARTUp Day pitching 2024. Big congrats from fff.vc team and members!

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THURSDAY • 25.01.2024

Our friends from byFounders have prepared a 2023 report on New Nordics:

Here are some key points:

  • Overall Trends in New Nordics (2023): Early-stage funding in the New Nordics (Nordics and Baltics) saw only a 9.7% decline from 2022, with a significant 59% increase in the second half of the year. The year witnessed a 22% increase in early-stage funding rounds, totaling 196 compared to 161 in 2022. Energy and climate emerged as the most popular sector, followed by fintech and digital health.
  • Finland and the Baltics Performance: Finland led with the highest number of funding rounds (43), totaling €197 million. Estonia closed 30 rounds (€75 million), Lithuania had 15 rounds (€45 million), and Latvia secured 5 rounds (€9 million). Estonia and Iceland notably had higher invested capital per capita, despite Estonia's decline from €155 million to €75 million.
  • ⁠Average Round Sizes: The average round sizes across pre-seed, seed, and Series A varied, with Finland averaging €7.9 million, Estonia €3.7 million, Lithuania €2.7 million, and Latvia €1.8 million.
  • New Early-Stage VC Funds: 2023 saw four new early-stage VC funds in the New Nordics, three of which originated from Finland. These include Kvanted Ventures' €70 million fund, Failup Ventures' €30 million fund, and Greencode Ventures' €40 million fund focusing on green startups.
  • ⁠Notable Investments: Finland's Lifeline Ventures was the most active, making 9 new deals. Prominent funding rounds included Lithuania's Atrandi Biosciences (€4.5 million Series A), Latvia's Trace.Space ($1.5 million), Estonia's Arbonics (€5.5 million seed round), and Finland's ReOrbit ($7.4 million seed round).

WEDNESDAY • 24.01.2024

fff.vc padel club is in full swing and bursting with energy!

Well done Reet Kaurit, Kairi Pauskar, Erik Kaju, Joosep Kõljalg, Mikk Oja and Søren Hejnfelt.

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TUESDAY • 23.01.2024

Our friend Dave Lishego shared The Founder’s Guide to Financial Modelling.

This is one of the most comprehensive guides for pre-seed to around A startups. Please share with your founders.

Financial Modeling Primer.pdf2957.6KB

NEW MEMBERS • 22.01.2024

  1. 🇱🇹 Mantas Vičius, Edtech & Sales / linkedin →
  2. 🇱🇹 Domas Janickas, Serial Entrepreneur / linkedin →
  3. 🇱🇹 Jurate Stanisauskiene, Venture Building / linkedin →
  4. 🇱🇹 Mantas Staliūnas, Finance / linkedin →
  5. 🇪🇪 Vladimir Babich, Global Head of Business Analytics at Bolt / linkedin →
  6. 🇪🇪 Siim Maivel, ex-Head of Data Science at Bolt / linkedin →

SUNDAY • 21.01.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

By fff.vc team

🧳 Venture capital news

🇪🇪Bilance App Raises €300K: Estonian app secures €300,000 funding to improve financial literacy and user experience.

🇫🇮DelSiTech's €10M Financing Round: Finnish pharma innovator DelSiTech lands a €10 million investment to advance their biodegradable drug delivery technology.

🇫🇮Paptic's €27.5M Funding Success: Papticc, from Finland, raises €27.5 million to expand its sustainable, wood fibre-based packaging materials.

🇸🇪Northvolt's Green Milestone: Northvoltt secures a record $5B green loan, powering up its expansion and marking a major leap in Europe's sustainable energy journey.

🇸🇪TrusTrace's €22M Growth Investment: Stockholm's TrusTrace secures €22 million led by Circularity Capital, gearing up to revolutionize global product traceability and support sustainable supply chains.

🇸🇪Aira's Clean Energy Surge: Aira raises a whopping €145M in Series B, gearing up to transform Europe's home heating with clean, efficient technology.

📈 Baltic public markets update

During the fourth week of 2024, the following events occurred in the Nasdaq Baltic market. Check here for more details.

🎧 Featured talks

Explore the dynamic world of venture capital in 'Liquidity', where industry experts Michael Kim, Jason Calacanis, and David Weisburd delve into the intricacies of fund valuations, leadership shifts, and ethical investing.

📆 Upcoming events

February 5-8, EDTECH Week Lithuania 2024 brings together the country's education, science and innovation community, foreign guests, experts, solution developers.

SATURDAY • 20.01.2024

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

By fff.vc team

🌎 The World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting took place in Davos from 15-19 January 2024. Check takeaways from prominent sources: •⁠ ⁠10 takeaways from McKinsey •⁠ Takeaways from CNBC •⁠ Takeaways from New York Times

⬆️ ⁠Euro Area Inflation Rate: increased to 2.90% in December from 2.40% in November of 2023, meets market consensus. The core inflation rate, excluding volatile food and energy prices, cooled to 3.4% in December 2023, the lowest since March 2022.

⬇️ ZEW Economic Sentiment Index in the Euro Area decreased to 22.70 points in January from 23 points in December of 2023. The ZEW Economic Sentiment Index is a survey-based indicator used to measure the economic outlook of financial experts for the Euro Area over the next six months. A less optimistic economic outlook could affect stock markets, bond yields, and investment in certain sectors. Companies might become more cautious in their investments, expansion plans, or hiring if they anticipate a slower economic growth. A less optimistic economic outlook might weaken the Euro against other currencies.

🏦 UBS argued Friday that equities and bonds have more room to rally in 2024, with the investment bank tilting towards the AI and the semiconductor areas of the market.

👓 Apple's Vision Pro saw demand popping when it allowed pre-orders to begin Friday morning. Starting at $3,499 a pop, if Apple produces 1M units in 2024, which is in the estimate range, it could result in $3.5B in sales this year for the tech giant. Evercore believes this could reach as high as $19B within five years, especially as Apple lowers the price to appeal to a wider consumer base.

🗣 FED meeting in January: 2 different forecasts: •⁠ ⁠Forecast #1 •⁠ ⁠Forecast #2

THURSDAY • 18.01.2024

In an interview with Bill Gates, Sam revealed some key milestones OpenAI is working towards that likely be what GPT5 is:

  1. ⁠Multi-modality: Sam believe firmly video is a key aspect, and likely can take video in/out;
  2. Much much better reasoning: "GPT4 can only reason to an extremely limited ways", the current GPT4 reasoning ability might seem like child to GPT5, and very likely he is referring to unlocking System 2 cognitive ability (Think slow for complex situation)
  3. ⁠Reliability: "If you ask GPT-4 a question 10,000 times, one of those 10,000 is probably pretty good, but it doesn't know which one"; GPT5 might be able to learn & remember the best version of performing tasks, so it can perform consistently;
  4. Customisation & personalisation: "People wants very different things from GPT4, different styles, we will make that all possible; Also use your own data, connect to your calendar, email, knowing when to book appointment, connecting to external data source"

TUESDAY • 16.01.2024

  1. 🤯 I just spoke to a founder who raised $30M from Tier 1 VC firm in 2021 and hasn’t touched the principal. He funds his entire company off of the 6% interest while he is finding product-market fit.

  1. fff.vc padel club is on! Great game Erik Kaju, Søren Heijnfelt, Mikk Oja, Kaspar Hanni, Indrek Prants and Kristjan Novitski.
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SUNDAY • 14.01.2024

We have compiled the latest 2024 outlooks from top Wall Street investment banks and asset managers:

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