Yeah, you heard it right. Europe’s largest student-run VC fund was launched today in Helsinki. Also first of its kind in the Nordics, Wave Ventures brings a completely new form of VC to the region as the students are in charge of running a $1.2M fund.
A year ago Andreas Saari, CEO and Co-Founder of Wave Ventures, was reading an article about a student-run VC in the U.S. After a quick search he realized that there were around 10-20 similar VCs in the States, but none in Europe. The Wave Ventures team, that consists of students from Aalto University and University of Helsinki, thought that a student-run VC could be an interesting concept to try out in Europe as well.
As the startup ecosystem in Finland is mainly student driven, the Wave Ventures team believed that they would flourish in this environment. “The startup community in Finland focuses very much on learning by doing. We decided to implement the same principle here as well,” explains Janne Korpela, Co-founder of Wave Ventures.
The team managed to convince experienced investors and founders that the idea was worth pursuing, and soon had gathered a board of advisors. The $1.2M fund was raised over the past year from entrepreneurs and investors around the region including founders behind Supercell and Skype, and will be invested in startups at pre-seed stage. “An ultra-early investment can speed up a young company by up to 6 months – this really brings a new element to the early stage ecosystem,” says Timo Ahopelto, Partner at Lifeline Ventures and an advisor to Wave Ventures.
The fund is managed entirely by students, and the team composition will be updated regularly. The first one million euros will be invested into 30-40 different startups from Nordic student communities and from the startup ecosystem during the next years. In addition to making an investment, Wave Ventures will guide their portfolio companies by helping them build their teams, raising additional funding and connecting them to the right people.
The first investment by Wave Ventures has already been made. Blok, a Finnish startup which aims to shake up the real estate market by utilizing automatization and artificial intelligence, was the first startup to receive funding from Wave Ventures.
Wave Ventures is after teams with a high level of ambition and a global mindset. Startups looking for pre-seed investments can contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org!