In conversation with Icebreaker, Finland’s most active pre-seed VC

Icebreaker claims to be Finland’s most active pre-seed VC. The firm, which also invests in Estonia and Sweden, has backed 38 companies in the last three years out of its first fund, with a 65% success rate so far for companies that have been able to raise follow-on funding.

Two weeks ago, Icebreaker announced the launch of Fund II, with an initial close of €50 million. That’s more than twice the size of its first fund, which topped out at €20 million.

Its remit remains largely the same, however. The company typically invests between €150k and €800k in teams that have “deep domain expertise” and are building globally competitive tech companies according to Icebreaker co-founder and partner Riku Seppälä.

Noteworthy, this goes right to the top of the funnel and includes backing and helping to connect “pre-founders,” defined as individuals with over 5 years of work experience in their domain who are aiming to start or join a tech company. As part of this effort, Icebreaker operates an online and offline community to act as a catalyst for new companies to be founded.

Meanwhile, I’m told that Fund II was signed just as the coronavirus crisis began to take hold and includes the majority of LPs from Fund I in addition to new investors. Lead LPs are Tesi, KRR III, Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company and Elo Mutual Pension Insurance Company, together with 41 other entities consisting of institutional investors, family offices and founders.

To find out more about Fund II and what’s it’s like to launch a new pre-seed fund at a time of such uncertainty, and to understand how Icebreaker thinks about startup life during and after lockdown, I put questions to Icebreaker co-founder and Partner Riku Seppälä.

TechCrunch: What does it feel like to close a new fund right at the start of a pandemic?

Riku Seppälä: Of course, we have been distracted by the mounting health crisis and how the world economy will recover, so the feelings are mixed.