Nordic early-stage VC firm Unconventional Ventures announces its first micro fund to invest in startups led by founders from underrepresented groups

Uncoventional-Ventures

Unconventional Ventures, a Copenhagen-based investment firm set up to invest in Nordic early-stage startups led by founders from underrepresented groups, today announced it has raised €125,000 for its very first fund, Unconventional Ventures Pre-Fund 1 (UV PF1), and also discloses its recipient startups. A launch event will be taking place this Thursday during the Slush conference in Helsinki.

In September 2019, UV published its own research which found that of the €2 billion of venture capital invested in the Nordics in 2018, only 1% went to all-female founder teams. In order to change this, a diverse group of 60 investors, 85% of which are women, aged between 16-70, from over ten different countries, have now invested into the UV PF1 fund, with participants including professional VCs, angel investors, experienced startup founders, top executives, students, and retirees. Prominent names include Arlan Hamilton (Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital), Crowberry Capital (Reykjavik-based VC firm), Johan Brand (founder of Kahoot!), and many more.

So far, funds from UV PF1 have been seeded to eight startups across sectors including fintech, healthtech, and femtech. These include:

  • Ceretai: Founded by Matilda Kong and Lisa Hamberg, Ceretai is building a tool for automatic analysis of diversity and equality in media content.
  • Boost Thyroid: Founded by Vedrana Högqvist Tabor, Mikael Högqvist Tabor, Boost Thyroid is a digital science solution enabling early diagnosis and preventive treatment for people with chronic autoimmune conditions.
  • Riteband: Founded by Linda Portnoff, Anna Ingler and Tone Pedersen. Riteband is the world’s first marketplace for music, empowering artists with faster funding from fans and investors.
  • Panion: Founded by Melanie Aronson, Panion is a keyword-searchable social platform that connects people through common interests, values, and experiences.
  • Progress Me: Founded by Petronella Gustafsson, Progress Me is an app based on cognitive behavioural therapy to offer support for people affected by eating disorders.
  • Equality Check: Founded by Marie Louise Sunde and Isabelle Kristine Ringnes, Equality Check is a platform for anonymous crowdsourced reviews from employees about perceived equality in their workplace.
  • GRIM: Founded by Carolin Schiemer and Petra Kaukua, GRIM is a marketplace for ugly and surplus organic fruits and vegetables.

Thea Messel, Founder & Managing Partner at Unconventional Ventures, commented: “We are proud to share the news of our first fund, and our first series of investments in some of the most remarkable up-and-coming startups found within the Nordics today. Our mission at Unconventional Ventures is to identify and support founders who are building companies that can solve global problems, and who as founders themselves are currently being overlooked or underestimated by much of the investor community. It is our long-term ambition to be the leading investment firm for founders from underrepresented groups, and with an incredibly skilled set of investors from various backgrounds supporting us, we are confident that this is a goal we can achieve.”

In addition to the lineup of investors, Lego Ventures has partnered with Unconventional Ventures. Alexis Horowitz-Burdick, Managing partner of Lego Ventures explained: “Lego Ventures is proud to support Unconventional Ventures as their work is fully aligned with our investment strategy and bringing playful, fun and nutritious experiences to as diversified an audience as possible. After all, creativity, play and innovation are gender agnostic in their very nature.”

The lack of equality within the investment community has been well-documented over the past decade, particularly with regards to the gender investment gap. To highlight this issue, UV, conducted its own research, which was published in the ‘Through the Lens of Gender Diversity’ report in September 2019.

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