SmartCap invests €5M in Antler's Nordic Fund II

SmartCap Venture Capital Fund has invested €5 million in Antler's Nordic Fund II, reinforcing its dedication to early-stage startups and innovative tech investment strategies.

Nordic Fund II, which secured anchor investments from the Export and Investment Fund of Denmark (EIFO) and Finland's Tesi, follows the successful launch of Antler's first €30 million Nordic fund in 2021.

Antler, known as one of Europe's most active early-stage VC firms, has supported over 400 European startups in the past five years, with a significant number based in the Nordics.

The fund primarily targets the Nordic region by covering Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and now enters the Estonian market. “This investment is a great opportunity to join forces with TESI, EIFO and Investinor and create cross-border deal flow across the Nordics and Estonia,” said Sille Pettai, SmartCap board member and fund manager. "Active deal-flow generation and team building are crucial for our current market development stage, as we are witnessing new talented tech executives with founder potential growing out of our startup scene. It’s great to see that Antler aims to extend its innovative model to Estonia, by putting new generation of Estonian founders on its radar and opening the Nordic program for them,” she added.

Antler's operating model centres around a 12-week accelerator residency, where participants collaborate to form teams and launch startups. Teams that successfully complete the residency are eligible for investments of up to €300,000, designed to advance their startups to the next stage.

"Estonia has consolidated its position as one of the most exciting tech ecosystems in Europe. It has produced some of Europe's fastest growing tech companies and Tallinn is home to more unicorn founders than established tech hubs like Manchester, Madrid and Copenhagen. Antler is a global investor committed to supporting the best founders around the world and we are very excited to work with SmartCap to back a new generation of Estonian tech startups,” said Jussi Kallasvuo, Partner at Antler.

Investment Director at Tesi's fund investments team Enni Rautio added that the new fund manager's unique operating model develops and diversifies the local startup ecosystem. “As Antler also actively advances sustainability in its portfolio, we are pleased to be able to bring a new player to the Finnish venture capital market," said Rautio.

With 140 investments in 2023 alone, Antler is one of the few early-stage VC firms that has increased its rate of investment during the downturn. Antler is also actively removing barriers for entrepreneurship and is committed to supporting a new generation of diverse founders. A third of Antler’s portfolio companies have at least one female founder, and globally founders supported by Antler represent 145 nationalities.