We’re Upping the Ante with Reaktor Ventures – Big Time / Oskari Kettunen
I might be making a habit of starting blog posts with how excited I am, but apparently that’s what it takes to pin me to the keyboard. Mostly these posts are about the awesome entrepreneurs we’ve teamed up with. This time it’s more about ourselves and the whole gang of startups.
We’ve finally launched Reaktor Ventures, the vehicle for my long term vision of a new breed of VC. We invest 50K to 1M euros, as early as the founding of startups. We seek to hold around 15% of the companies we invest in. We use entrepreneur-friendly terms and open-source contract templates. And – here’s the best part – we give you the backing of 300 awesome people, for free.
Those close to us already know the underpinnings from what used to be Reaktor Polte. Our website tells it best but I’ll take this opportunity to share a first person account of how we got here, why we’re doing this and where we’re going.
My Case of the Startup Itch and the Road Here
Let’s start from the beginning by answering the obvious question: Why would a startup-minded person choose a big company like Reaktor? I got pulled into the world of software, Internet and startups in the last years of the last millennium. With precious little background working with computers I was suddenly hooked on coding. In the hustle and bustle of the first dotcom boom I landed a job at a cool startup called iobox.
When that company got acquired by a big multinational, the change in pace and working culture was like slamming into a wall at high speed. I was just getting to know the business world but I knew crystal clear where my place was. That lesson stayed with me and got reaffirmed through joining another startup at founding and eventually getting acquired again.
Around that time I also first got to know about Reaktor. The founders were great people and little by little all the smartest and most productive people I knew gravitated towards Reaktor. From a small group of the best and most committed coders you’ll ever find, the company grew by attracting talent from a widening palette of specialities.
When I wanted something done and done better than I’d imagined these were the people I’d reach out to. I had been a happy customer through several gigs before landing here myself. It’s over six years ago now, longer than I’ve stayed anywhere in my life. And right now, I’m more confident than ever that we’ll keep on creating amazing things together.
The New Startup World – Makers Calling the Shots
At the same time as my path led to Reaktor, the fundamentals of startups had kept changing. Open source, cloud hosting, SaaS business models, social media marketing, proliferating smartphones, worldwide internet – several technological shifts had radically reduced the up-front cost of starting up businesses.
The startup community was coming together to develop the methodologies to take advantage of this new situation. The right people could get together and spend practically nothing but their own time to get early versions of their idea to the hands of end customers. The early stage was where most important discoveries were made. Capital had become a commodity. The makers now called the shots.
So came the idea: Could Reaktor be a new kind of an investor in the startup game?
A VC Born out of Customer Development
We are over 300 people, made from the stuff entrepreneurs are made of. We had 15 years of profitable business behind us, meaning a very healthy balance sheet. In retrospect it looks almost obvious, but when it hit us, it felt like a revelation. Reaktor should be the investor this new breed of startup needs.
Things rolled into motion in a very startup-like landslide. The first minimum viable product, MVP, was the story of what we wanted to do, a website, a roll-up and a booth at Slush 2012. After two days being pinned down by startup founders, it was clear the demand was there.
We made no strict plans upfront, we knew we had something valuable to contribute, but we were new to the VC scene. The plan all along was to meet as many startups as possible and make investments when they made sense to us. After each one we saw all the more reason to keep looking for more.
As we went along, cooperation between our 300 experts and the startups grew and grew. We made ourselves available and helped with they needed help with. New ideas popped up every time we organised a themed get-together or brought the portfolio companies together. Growing a healthy community takes time and resources. We kept getting encouraging feedback that cemented our commitment.
This spring we reviewed what we had achieved and where we wanted to go. I had the good fortune of meeting Ville at that time; I got to share this vision with a seasoned entrepreneur and got him excited about the opportunity. We took a good look at what we’d learned and what we wanted to do but hadn’t gotten around to. We felt there was a lot more we could do and really help the Nordic startups in a way few can.
It’s now been three years and 23 investments.
We’re proud to work with some the best entrepreneurs from the region and open up Reaktor’s community of 300 world class professionals to these startups.
A Long-Term Commitment
Reaktor Ventures is a steadfast commitment to build the most sought-after early stage investor in the Nordic region. We only win when our portfolio companies win. Going forward we will double our investment pace and strive to be the most entrepreneur-friendly investor in the region. We will find the best teams if they don’t come to us first. We will step into the fray. We will be where the winners come from. Today there are 23 startups paving the way, and many many more to come.
At your service,
Originally published at http://reaktorventures.com/2015/10/were-upping-the-ante-with-reaktor-ventures-big-time%E2%80%A8/