SmartCap invests €5M in Antler Nordic Fund II

SmartCap Venture Capital Fund invests €5 million in Antler Nordic Fund II, further strengthening its commitment to early-stage startups and innovative tech investment strategies.

Nordic Fund II, which has received anchor investments from the Export and Investment Fund of Denmark (EIFO) and Tesi from Finland, is the second Nordic focused fund from Antler following the successful launch of their first €30 million fund in 2021.

Antler is recognised as one of the most active early-stage VC firms in Europe. In the last five years, it has backed more than 400 European startups, many of which are based across 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 is based on 12-week accelerator residency, where participants form teams and establish startups. Successful teams that emerge from the residency receive an investment of up to €300,000 to help propel 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.