Lithuanian green investment platform FOROS has raised a €1.2 million round from angels and VCs, led by Iron Wolf Capital, 70 Ventures and CoInvest Capital, and doubled its team size.
Founded in 2017, the company has ambitions to become the global green investment platform. With its first outside funding and a freshly hired developer team, FOROS now plans to accelerate the development of its forest investment and management products, and grow in Lithuania, Latvia. The startup will also expand to the Estonian and Finnish markets in due course.
The FOROS platform already offers features that estimate the value of the forest, as well as the buying and selling of the forest land via digital forest auctions. It also offers a sustainable forest management service called Foros Grow that ensures that trees can grow healthier, bigger and taller through selective logging; this involves removing the weak trees to give more sunlight for others to grow. The new investment will be put towards creating new platform features, such as a forest carbon impact calculator.
Tomas Martūnas, Partner at Iron Wolf Capital, explained that: “The reasons that helped us to decide to invest in Foros were, first of all, a fast growing and talented team, also the ambition to change old habits, and the competences required to take on new markets – all encompassed by the vision to digitize forest management and make it transparent and convenient.”
Gytenis Galkis, Partner at 70 Ventures, said that they decided to invest in Foros because of experienced founders, initial validation in the local market and the sustainable future vision. “We firmly believe that Foros will implement their promise to make the forestry industry more transparent, provide increased liquidity in forest trade and help transition the forest management to the 21st century.”
The company states that it expects strong growth in the forestry industry due to the strong demand for timber, and because “forests are a great hedge against inflation”. The EU has also launched ambitious plans to expand and accelerate timber construction for public sector spaces.
“The funding and the expansion of the team of developers was a strategic decision following the last three years of hard work and dedication from the entire team,” said Foros’s co-founder and CEO Justas Kaveckas. “We have grown from a forest auction house to a green fintech with customers in Lithuania and Latvia – markets known for their fast innovation adoption. All the while challenging the status quo of the forestry industry, establishing ourselves as a reputable player in the market and winning people’s trust. We’re the very first of our kind in the Nordics to offer an all-in-one solution for investing in forests and sustainable forest management.”
The Nordic market consists of 27 million people and is the home of the most stable economies in the world, with some of the wealthiest and tech-savvy populations on the planet. The market is known for being hard to crack for new entrants due to the culture and language barriers, regulations on environment protection and timber logging that vary greatly from country to country.
Foros has chosen to focus its efforts on the Nordics in the first stage. “Unlike other green fintechs that have chosen to expand vertically, Foros decided to go deep in and create a 100% digital, innovative and transparent alternative to the traditional forestry industry. We aim to open up sustainable forest investments and management for wider groups of people and to allow them to see their climate impact from their forest portfolio,” said Justas Kaveckas, CEO. “We mean it when we say that the goal is to change the status quo of the forestry industry and to be the #1 green investment platform”.
“The future belongs to those who offer the best user experience, and it’s our ambition to be the leading green investment platform in the Nordics and beyond,” added Justas Kaveckas, CEO. “We already offer users the control of their entire forest portfolio, providing them a forest market value, estimated timber volume, market timber prices, and a simplified forest buying and selling process. The plan going forward is to collaborate with those who offer the most sustainable forest management solutions out there and tie the whole thing together into the Foros platform.”