Next generation analytics that feels like Notion

About one year ago Alliance VC invested in Stockholm-based Steep, a company that is building the modern analytics platform. The magic comes from the combination of a beautiful and intuitive user experience and Steep’s semantic layer.

Johan Baltzar, who co-founded Steep with Nino Höglund, has written about how Steep’s reports functionality feels very much like Notion. It is one example how Steep is raising the bar for all business intelligence tools.

Mjuk raises €2.5 million to grow furniture re-commerce marketplace

Alliance VC has participated in Mjuk’s latest €2.5 million fundraising together with Trind Ventures, Lifeline Ventures, Superhero Capital and others.

We first invested about 18 months ago and have been impressed by how Rickard, Max and Casper has adapted and improved Mjuk in the face of a very tough economic environment where consumers are spending less on furniture and more on interest payments.

To make Mjuk an even better place for furniture re-commerce, Mjuk has added quality inventory directly from brands and increased focus on having very attractive prices.

I believe quality inventory (second hand and non-used) and attractive prices is the right way to build a great marketplace in the very large furniture market.

Being local in the Nordics

First morning flight to Helsinki

This morning I travelled to Helsinki for a board meeting and to meet with interesting startups.

Alliance VC invests across the Nordics, which I believe it is an advantage compared to only invest in startups from e.g. Sweden or Norway. The main reason is that the ecosystems give birth to slightly different types of startups, which gives a wider variety of startups on a Nordic level compared to what can be found in any individual Nordic country.

But early-stage investing, and the following 10 year journey of building a company, is to a large extent a local pursuit. That’s why I took the first flight from Stockholm to Helsinki this morning.

Two AI-driven services that help startups raise capital

At Alliance VC we really like to invest in Nordic fintech startups that use technology, like AI, to create great services. Not least when those services help startups and growing companies raise capital. Arne Tonning, one of the partners at Alliance, has written a blog post about our investments in Deckmatch (uses AI to improve management of inbound pitches) and Ark Kapital (uses AI to lend to startups).

The Nordics, and not least Sweden, has a strong track record in fintech and we’re looking forward to invest in more fintech startups in 2023 and 2024.

Speaking about fintech at Arctic15

Tomorrow I’m participating in the Future fintech transformations panel at Arctic15 in Helsinki.

Fintech is a strong and exciting sector in the Nordics with startup successes like Klarna, iZettle, Tink and Pleo and many, many more. This heritage I believe makes the Nordics a great place to build the next generation of fintech companies.

Alliance VC has invested in several fintech companies like Ark Kapital (data-driven lender), Two (buy now, pay later for B2B), Bits Technology (KYC/KYB orchestration layer), IndyKite (digital identity solutions/identity and access management), (Apexx (payment orchestration layer), and Aprila Bank.

We hope to continue to partner with Nordic founders building the best fintech companies going forward. If you are building something interesting, please contact me either digitally or at Arctic15!

Humanoid robots

NEO, the next 1X robot

Today it was announced that Alliance VC, together with OpenAI, Tiger Global and others, has invested in Norwegian 1X. 1X makes androids (humanoid robots), which is a more futuristic business than most startups we invest in.

My colleague Arne Tonning has written a Medium post about how Alliance got to the investment in 1X. Go read it!

In addition to the specific story there are some more general takeaways:

  • Arne and Alliance first met 1X in 2017, and got to know the founders over several years before making the investment.
  • 1X always had a very ambitious vision, which was attractive already in 2017.
  • There was a true innovation in the electric motor the company had developed.
  • Over the years 1X solved many hard problems and added additional solutions in e.g. software and other to the electric motor innovation. This took the technology to a level where customers have put in significant initial orders.
  • It is easier to succeed with the right investor mix, and we believe 1X has created a strong alliance of institutional and individual investors.

Trying to be a true partner

There are many ways to invest in private companies. Early-stage venture capital is one way to do it (and the best way for a very specific type of companies). But even within early-stage venture capital there are different approaches. At Alliance VC we have our point of view on how it is best done. We believe a partner-centric approach is the best way both for founders and investors and have expanded our thoughts on how to approach being a true partner in this Medium post.