Icelandic women-led VC Crowberry Capital closes €76m fund

5 days ago

Reykjavik, Iceland. Image: © Marc Jedamus/Stock.adobe.com

The company said this fund would help support start-ups ‘overlooked by others’ across the Nordic regions.

Women-led Icelandic venture capital firm Crowberry Capital has closed a €76m seed and early-stage fund, which will be used to support start-ups in the Nordic region. The VC also said it plans to raise another €30m by July 2022.

Crowberry Capital launched a $40m fund in 2017 that supported 15 businesses. Of the companies supported, 33pc had women CEOs.

The VC focuses on supporting businesses in emerging tech sectors, with a particular emphasis on encouraging inclusivity. It said the new fund will focus mainly on early-stage ICT companies, including fintech, enterprise, software, games, consumer and health-tech companies.

‘Where the Nordics lead in gender equality on a societal level, we want to show that the region can also show the way in terms of inventive venture support’
– HEKLA ARNARDÓTTIR

“An incorrect assumption is that because we are women, we are only interested in supporting female founders,” said Hekla Arnardóttir, a founding partner of Crowberry Capital.

“As our investment record shows, we support companies because they are game changers, irrespective of the gender of their senior team members. However, we also benefit, as an all-female team, from a circumspection which means that we can see potential in businesses and sectors which are typically overlooked by others in our space.”

Arnardóttir added that inclusivity is “good for business” and means companies are being built with a broader potential user base in mind.

“It’s crazy that in 2020, female-led start-ups received just 2.3pc of venture capital funding, yet Crowberry considers this to be an opportunity,” she said. “Where the Nordics lead in gender equality on a societal level, we want to show that the region can also show the way in terms of inventive venture support.”

The European Investment Fund (EIF) was the central backer of this round, providing €20m to Crowberry Capital. The EIF supports Europe’s micro, small and medium-sized businesses by helping them to access finance. This investment was supported by the EU’s InnovFin Equity programme.

Other backers of the fund included Icelandic pension funds, several family offices, and investors including Unity Technologies founder David Helgason.

Alain Godard, chief executive of the EIF, said: “In recent years, the level of venture capital funding in Iceland has steadily grown and Crowberry has emerged as a very credible venture capital manager. The team is well positioned to leverage the clear gender gap identified in venture capital funding which, in itself, represents a strong market opportunity.

“The EIF takes pride in supporting underserved market segments directly but also, indirectly, by building up equity ecosystems, providing structuring insight and helping to improve investment readiness. We value and support diversity, and this investment represents an example of how women can break down barriers and create opportunities for venturing into investments and entrepreneurship roles.”

Last week, women-led VC Revaia also closed significant funding, securing €250m to support European technology companies with a sustainable ethos.

Sam Cox is a journalist at Silicon Republic covering sci-tech news

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