Updated: 36 Most Active Estonian Angel Investors
Fundraising your first round is hard, not to mention mission impossible if you start without having a good list of active investors to reach out to.
Sidenote: this post is a little exception from the blog theme. Hope you don't mind.
When talking to young startups in the Baltics, Ukraine and after probing a little deeper on how they’re preparing for their fundraising process, I learn that few have a solid list of investors that they plan to reach out to. Neither did I during my first fundraising round. Which was one of the reasons why my first round was so stressful, emotionally draining and left to chance.
But it doesn’t always have to be that way. For my first startup, Funderful, I raised $1M in investor funding in two rounds, many of which were Estonian angels. In the first round I did exactly what you should not do — as Marvin Liao, Partner at 500Startups, would put it- I half-assed the fundraising process. In my second round I followed the advice of 500Startups focusing most of my time on fundraising for 2 months. Having a good long list of prospective investors was critical to closing the round.
I often hear from my Estonian angel friends and acquaintances — do you know some great startups from Latvia or Lithuania who are looking for funding? And much of this is due to the simple laws of supply demand-it is not uncommon for Estonian startups with little or no traction to be asking for a valuation cap of €3M while many same stage Latvian, Lithuanian startups would be happy with €1-€2M valuation cap and rightly so. What I loved most about Estonian angels — how well networked they are, and thus speaking to one angel investor can open doors to several others.
So I decided to find out who are the most put together a list of the most active Estonian angel investors, ask them their investment focus, ticket size. This list took me a few months to put together. So hope this serves well for young founders to raise funding for their next big idea, and for Estonian angel investors to get a good additional pipeline of strong startup teams to back. Without further ado, here is my list of Estonian angels to make your fundraising easier:
NB! Today, many of the angels have institutionalized and launched funds with the help of Estonian and Baltic fund-of-funds initiatives. I have not excluded those investors from this list, but added in brackets their investment vehicle.
- Andres Märtin, no particular focus; Ticket: €5-20k
- Andrus Purde, Focus: SaaS and sharing economy/networks, Ticket: €10-25k
- Argo Virkebau, Focus: tech, adtech, fintech, sharing economy, digital transformation; scalability is important; seed and early stage; preferably having some MRR or close to it; Ticket: €10-50k
- Dag Ainsoo (Wise Guys Ventures fund), Focus: early stage B2B startups; Ticket: typically €50k
- Gerri Kodres (United Angels VC), Focus: B2B, SaaS, marketplaces, fintech; stage: from (pre-)seed, preferably with first signs of market traction, to to early-A; no longer do angel investments privately, mainly through the fund instead; Ticket: €100k to €1m, typically in the range of €200-300
- Henri Treude (Spring Capital), Focus: prefer seed stage with ca €10K MRR traction or equivalent; the round should give 18 months runway and clear path to series A; Ticket: €100K as part of bigger rounds (typically 300K to 1M)
- Ivar Siimar (Trind.vc), Focus: does not do angel investments anymore privately; mainly through the fund instead; startups primary focus is on Baltics, Finland; coinvest with business angels, seed rounds; expect some commercial traction (i.e., €20k revenue/MRR); Ticket: €100k-€3m
- Ivo Remmelg, Focus: currently pipeline sources from from own circle and intros, also from Estban dealflow; prefers B2B SaaS solutions, pre-seed and seed stages; has invested from 5k to 900k, from preseed to secondary; Ticket: €10-€50k
- Jaak Roosaare, Focus: preferably have reached some sales from customers; strong background for founders; active with debt financing also; Ticket: €10-50k
- Jaan Tallinn, Skype mafia, Focus: mainly looking for deep technologies with significant disruption potential; not particularly sector-focused; tends not to lead the rounds, hence mainly looking for a later stage; Ticket: typical ticket size begins from $/€500k
- Jevgeni Kabanov, no particular focus; Ticket: €10-€50k
- Kaspar Hanni, Focus: B2B SaaS and B2B tech-assisted services; mostly pre-seed and seed stage; Ticket: €10-30k
- Kristjan Raude, Focus: looking for minimum of two founders startups; founders must not have only great vision, but hard skills as well; prefer seed investment to a startup, which has already market traction; proof of product/service is needed in the target market; has strong contacts in Africa, LATAM and Estonia; Ticket: €5-50k
- Kuido Lepik, Focus: like to invest quite early - premoney valuation up to €1,5m; most important - founders motivation and capability to make things done; likes scaleable business (SaaS) and in sectors that can understand; try to avoid capital, research intensive sectors; Ticket: lately €5k and €10k
- Lauri Isotamm (Siena)
- Lev Dolgatsjov, Focus: technology startups; Ticket: €5-10K
- Madis Müür, Focus: invests full time, mostly on Funderbeam platform, 20+ investments like Cleveron, Leapin, Ampler; mostly look for simpler B2C stuff that maybe doesn't grow so fast, is easier to understand for everyday investor but has less risks also, look for companies that can help raise a meaningful round on Funderbeam so starting also from €5k+ MRR
- Madis Pajo, Focus: looking great team with a strong sales skills; Ticket: €1k to €20k
- Martin Henk, Focus: mostly B2B, SaaS; Ticket: ~€50K
- Martin Villig, Focus: early stage startups with working prototypes in platforms/mobile space; can consider other type of startups with very strong team and traction; Ticket: €10-50K
- Märt Kelder, Focus: likes to focus on B2B, SaaS; although marketplaces/Uber like stuff also of interest; Ticket: €25K-50k
- Ott Kaukver, Focus: mostly invested in cloud based startups and services; looking for a clear hypothesis for a product - clear customer pain with a solution to solve that pain; tend to pass on the startups that are very early in their journey (idea phase, no validation); Ticket: doesn't differentiate investment by ticket size, evaluates each deal separately
- Priit Rohumaa
- Ragnar Sass, Focus: Mianly B2B SaaS + moonshots what will have huge impact for humans life globally. Preferably with clear first traction. Super fine joining as a first investor, who can follow up with 30+ intros for VCs & angels. Investments include: Veriff, Printify, Restream, Hugo, Klaus, AXdraft, Dashbird etc. Ticket: €10-50k
- Raido Pikkar (thorgateventures.com), Focus: privately backed boutique incubator that takes you up to the A-round when hand over to friends that handle larger rounds; B2B, SAAS, early-stage up to even only a thousand in MRR; like to invest where have experience - https://thorgate.eu/industries/ ; Ticket: like to not be more than 33% of any round; €25k-€50k first and then followup up to €150-€200k
- Raigo Õunapuu, Focus: interest is mainly around SW startups, no specific sector; have not ruled out any sectors; prefer early or very early stage companies; Ticket: €5-€15k
- Rain Rannu (Superangel), Focus: does not do angel investments on own; only through Superangel; early stage; Ticket: €50-€500k
- Rain Tamm (Siena)
- Rait Ojasaar, Focus: crafts, foods & bewerages, food-tech, cosmetics, general consumer products, electronic gadgets / devices, games, etc.; Ticket: €5k - €20k
- Rando Rannus, Focus: mostly B2B SaaS, but keeping an eye open for other areas as well; mainly early stage with more favourable valuations; pre-revenue - need to show some traction; life sciences, physical products probably no go; try to select companies where can contribute with my know how, network etc.; Ticket: €5-€10k
- Rein Lemberpuu (Contriber), Focus: 1-year startup de-acceleration program that focuses on startup founders' personal development instead of the company; any startup and technology company that is facing a scaling period either from a team (30+) or revenue (50k+ monthly) perspective would be a sweet spot; Ticket: €50-€200k
- Riivo Anton (United Angels VC), Primary focus on B2B, SaaS, marketplaces, fintech and software enable hardware, others as well; from (pre-)seed to early A-rounds; Ticket: €100k-1m; can lead rounds and syndicate with angels and VCs.
- Sten Tamkivi, Focus: focus on the thesis behind Teleport: creating a more open and borderless world, making it easier for people to figure out where to live and work, etc.; Transferwise, Veriff, Xolo (former LeapIn), SafetyWing, Roam, Teleport/Topia as past examples of investing into borderless world thesis; Ticket: €25-50k; plus follow-ons later
- Taavi Tamkivi, Focus: teams & sectors where could contribute: crime detection, compliance, regtech- data-driven challenges - modelling, machine learning, challenging metrics & KPI's, emotional match & network connection to founders; Ticket: €10-25k
- Thomas Padovani, Focus: early stage startups; technology startups; fintech; adtech; investing both privately and through funds; invested in Bolt, Modera, Natufia; Ticket: €25-€500k
- Veiko Visnapuu, Focus: prefers the team is primarily based in Estonia or nearby; pre-seed, seed, early stage, no sector bias; Ticket: €10-€100k
Please let me know if I've missed someone. Let's build this list larger.
That said, there are plenty of Latvian and Lithuania angels and micro VCs who you should consider, don’t avoid them. Having a solid list will allow you to quickly weed out who is a good fit for you and who is not, and be able to brush off investors rejecting you — which you will hear a lot. It’s part of the process.
Now all you need to do is prepare for the process — create your reach out email templates, pick your CRM, work on your pitch deck, and stack calls/meetings back to back so that you can have 3–5 investor meetings per day for a few weeks. But that’s another topic :)
PS! Ragnar Sass and his amazing team behind Lift99 — the fast growing community of founder teams in the region — is putting together an even more comprehensive list of investors with no bullshit founder reviews included — accessible only by founders. To get access you need to become a member of their invite-only Salto founder network. (more info here)