Luminar Blog

 

September 20, 2018

Heja - Stepping into the field of youth sports

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As the summer has passed and which started off with a focus on the FIFA World Cup it feels exiting to announce our investment in Heja – the fast growing app for youth sports teams internationally.

 Heja has built a platform for sports teams to communicate, plan and interact in a smart way with the mobile interaction in focus. This brings the teams together and facilitates for coaches, players and parents alike.

Many sports team communication today relies on paper handouts, emails and text messages. It can be hard to keep track of email threads, find relevant information and get an overview - and for this Heja provides a solution.

 Using Heja, all the team’s info and communication is gathered in one place, providing a fast, reliable and collaborative way for all those involved to find the information they need. The platform is tailored to the needs of sports teams, focusing on mobile and usability. Heja have built a great product, with is shown by its high engagement and high rates on App Store.

Part of what attracted us with Heja was the strong team behind the company. Founders Mikael Blix and Johan Berglund who have been operating Laget.se, a platform aimed at the Swedish league sports market, since 2004. The founders have a long background in team sports, understand the challenges involved and know the user base very well. They have also created a strong culture and team and has shown strong organic growth and product development. Laget.se has reached over 2 million registered users in the Swedish market.

 In less than a year since launch, the founders new venture Heja has reached over 100,000 registered users. The majority are in the U.S. market, with the UK coming in second, and growing fast.

 Sports is a global business which engage billions of people and with the average American family spending over $2000 yearly on youth sports according to Times magazine.

 Communication for sports teams is a great digital entryway into the sports sector overall. With the infrastructure of Heja there is also a great potential for rolling out additional features. We at Luminar see great potential in Heja and its team to continue the expansion globally.

Linda Höglund, CFO and Investment Officer

July 9, 2018

Insurello - Digitizing the Insurance Industry

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Insurello was founded by Marcus Janback, a Stockholm School of Economics graduate, and also a former elite level American football player. Marcus has first-hand experience of injuries from his sports career and trying to work through the maze of different insurance policies to make claims. As a born entrepreneur Marcus did not only manage to work through all the extensive processes and administration to make and follow his claims, he also saw an opportunity to make the insurance industry more customer friendly through new technology. He also knew to seek help from great advisors from the get go, starting with his mum, with over 30 years’ experience in the insurance industry. Solving your own major pain points, and seek experienced advice in that process, are two strong indications of a good start of venture journey.    

I think we all have similar experiences from different part of this process – whether it be delayed flights, stolen bikes, or a dented car, and can appreciate the upswing in companies like Insurello, looking out for and guiding us through the quite complex and time-consuming processes that insurance claims can entail.

Right from the start, we fell in love with the team and their high ambition to provide this guidance to the wider public on a global scale through digital technology, and we are very excited to be part of their journey and to support Marcus and the team in building a great company.

Insurello’s go to market service offering includes helping clients find personal insurance payouts that they might otherwise have missed. The company acts as an intermediary between its clients and the insurance companies, handling their claims, in exchange for a per centage of any resulting payouts.

ach year in Sweden alone, insurance payouts worth over 6 billion SEK go unclaimed due to the difficulty of sorting through policies and filing the correct claims to the right insurance providers, for individuals who have sustained injuries or scars. Insurello is a young company but they have already received thousands of requests from people with severe injuries, out of which they have supported many through the claiming processes, resulting in fair compensations for the long-term consequences of their injuries.

At Luminar we see what Insurello is offering as part of a larger trend of digitization in the insurance industry. Through digital technology, the whole industry can become more transparent, customer focused and efficient.

We also believe that companies like Insurello can help the established insurance providers streamline their processes, to the benefit of both their own businesses and their customers. The potential for expansion of the service, both into other types of insurance, as well as into other geographical markets is enormous.

We are thrilled to be part of this pre-seed round of investment in Insurello and we’re excited about the possibilities that lie ahead of us to create value in this space.

Jacob Key, Founding Partner at Luminar Ventures

May 25, 2018

Our Latest Investment: Albacross

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At Luminar, we are searching intensively for founders looking to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in various ways. This segment is the backbone of the European economy representing more than 99.8% of all companies and 57% of value added.

 

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The number one challenge for SME’s, according to a study by the European Comission, is to find new customers. That’s why SMEs across the globe now spend over $100bn annually on online services that help them find new customers, and the number is increasing.

At Luminar, we love companies that solve big challenges. That’s why we’re excited to announce our latest investment in Albacross.

Albacross is a tech company that leverages proprietary data to help B2B companies understand their leads better

Using data from their free, lead generation tool used by thousands of companies across the globe, Albacross’ technology can connect the dots on which companies are the most relevant to each other and allow them to connect. By doing that, Albacross is building a global ‘business graph’, opening up their platform and providing valuable services to both enterprises and SME’s.

LinkedIn built the social graph for professionals. In a way, Albacross is building the business graph for companies

LinkedIn and other professional social networks enable people to connect, which in turn can lead to a business relation. The social graph works as an enabler to find relevant people to connect to, which enriches the platform and brings value to the users. The business graph built by Albacross works the same way but for businesses.

We recently led Albacross’ seed round. As always, we spent a lot of time getting to know the team and understanding their vision

We thrive on working with ambitious founders who think big looking to win in a large market. The founders (Victor, Viktor, Jakub, Carl-Richard and team) have shown solid strategic thinking and strong commitment during the first years. They have also proven the often underestimated ability to attract strong advisors and angel-investors with experience from companies like Spotify, Facebook, Truecaller, NA-KD and iZettle.

At the time of writing, Albacross is onboarding around 1 000 new companies per week to their platform and the ambition is to become global leader in their segment in only a few years. Luminar are proud supporters and also happy to join forces with our friends at Ventech as co-investors. We look forward to supporting Albacross and being part of their exciting journey.

The team is looking to fill several new positions, so if you are interested in an exciting journey to help B2B companies across the globe, check them out! Also, if you are sitting at a B2B company, it is free to sign up here:)

 

April 11, 2018

Announcing our first investment: Instabridge, enables mobile internet access to billions of people for free

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By: Magnus Bergman, General Partner, Luminar Ventures

Today, we’re excited to announce our first investment at Luminar Ventures: Instabridge.

Instabridge; a Stockholm based company helps users find and connect to fast and free mobile internet wherever they are.

Internet access is considered a human right by the United Nations, and access to the internet is proven to reduce economic and gender inequalities, stimulate economic growth and giving citizens access to important public services. Yet getting online is still a challenge for billions of people. Instabridge aims to change that.

Instabridge is offering an app that has connected millions of Wi-Fi hotspots globally into a virtual mobile network, in which the users can seamlessly reach the Internet for free. This is a massively appealing alternative to mobile internet access. In most countries data plans are still expensive, and in developing countries mobile networks have limited reach and bandwidth. Although available mobile internet capacity from operators will continue to grow the need for mobile data will grow much faster. Users around the world want to watch video, listen to music and reach their social media, news and friends anywhere and anytime. Mobile Wi-Fi solutions like the one Instabridge has developed can bridge that widening gap between user needs and available mobile networks capacity. This is also the underlying premises for the coming 5G rollout, where Instabridge is very uniquely and attractively positioned. 

Moreover, more than half of the world's population is still without internet access, and companies like Facebook and Google are working hard to provide access in places where connection is a challenge. Google launched Project Loon, a network of balloons designed to provide internet connectivity to people in rural and remote areas. And Facebook has several projects aimed at expanding the reach of internet access, like the solar powered drone Aquila and a satellite launch with SpaceX.

Making wi-fi networks more accessible is one way of helping people get online. For Instabridge, the vision is to help billions of users access the internet via hotspots and to build the world's largest WI-FI access network - without investing in new hardware.

In China, this approach has reached major adoption. One example is the app Wi-Fi Master Key that also makes WI-FI access seamless. The app has become one of China's top 5 most popular applications. Instabridge aims to be the largest Wi-Fi access platform outside of China.

Instabridge is well on its way to reach that goal. The company has achieved major adoption with millions of monthly active users and is seeing rapid growth. The biggest country for Instabridge is today Brazil where the brand is widely recognised, and Mexico is not far behind as the second largest country

Instabridge is founded by Niklas Agevik (CEO) and Erik Tigerholm (CTO). Niklas, who has been Instabridge front man is a very talented and hardworking product driven entrepreneur that could become the next tech super star from Sweden. I meet him five years ago and have been following him and the Instabridge team ever since. Over the years the founding team has been able to attract key people from Yelp, Rovio, etc to help executing on their global growth plan.  

As first angel investor in Truecaller 2009 I had the privilege to work with Alan and Nami throughout their exceptional growth journey, and I see a lot of similarities between Truecaller and Instabridge. Both companies are solving a very important and concrete need for billions of people, the product is community driven and super scalable with a focus on developing countries, and both companies have a very strong tech and product team executing relentlessly on an ambitious vision. Today Truecaller is a powerhouse in emerging markets with a leading position in India and now moving into the rest of the world including Africa. In the early years, Truecaller had a similar adoption- and growth rate. If Instabridge continues to grow in todays rate the company will have hundreds of millions of users in just a few years’ time.

Instabridge is one of few companies in the Nordics that is working on solving the important challenge of global internet access. We see Instabridge as a continuation of the telecom heritage once pioneered by Swedish companies like Ericsson, and we’re proud to be part of this journey.

 

Magnus Bergman, General Partner at Luminar Ventures AB

 

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Jan 9, 2018

We've Walked the Trail Before

It’s never been easier to start a company, but it’s still very challenging to build one. We know, we’ve been there. We started Luminar Ventures to invest in the next generation of entrepreneurs and share our 20+ years of experience of building global technology companies.

We see company building as a journey, not unlike hiking a trail in unknown and challenging territory. Finding the right path is difficult and without the right tools and guidance it's almost impossible.

That's why we provide more than just capital. We take an active role in all of our investments and work closely with the entrepreneurs we back to find the best path forward towards a global market.

The founding team has been investing in- and supported companies like Truecaller, Prezi, Sportamore, Soundtrapp, Klarna, Izettle, Challengermode and Karma and many others. 

Now we're looking for the next generation of entrepreneurs who are building global technology companies. With us we have STING - the leading startup ecosystem builder in Sweden and operator of Sweden’s leading accelerator program - and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) - one of the leading technical and engineering universities in Europe.

In the coming weeks and months we will release a number of updates, articles and most importantly funding announcements. Stay up up to date by signing up to our newsletter (in the bottom of the page) or follow on Twitter. 

And for all entrepreneurs out there, fill out our investment form so that we can get to know you better - and join you on the journey.


Jan 9, 2018

Press Release: Luminar Ventures launches a new 500 MSEK VC-fund

The following press release can be found in our press room at MyNewsDesk.

Luminar Ventures today announces a 500 MSEK fund focusing on seed stage technology companies in Sweden.

Founded by successful angel investors Magnus Bergman and Jacob Key, together with Stockholm Innovation and Growth (“Sting”), the leading startup platform in Sweden, the fund aims to provide experienced seed stage financing and active operational support to Sweden based early stage technology companies that are looking to disrupt or transform major industries with digital technologies and innovations.

Founding partners, Magnus Bergman and Jacob Key are both former serial entrepreneurs and active angel investors with a successful track record of founding and growing tech startups. Over the last 10 years, Magnus Bergman made over 30 seed investments with a handful of great exits, making Magnus one of the most experienced and successful tech angel investors in Sweden.

Before founding Luminar Ventures, Jacob Key made close to 20 early stage investments, with 3 successful exits to date. 
Joining the team are also Linda Höglund and Daniel Karsberg. Linda has a background as global CFO at fast scaling unicorns, including Klarna in Europe and Grab in South East Asia. Daniel joins Luminar from his most recent role as Investment Manager at Creathor Venture, where he led Creathor’s Nordic operations. 

Joining the team are also Linda Höglund and Daniel Karsberg. Linda has a background as global CFO at fast scaling unicorns, including Klarna in Europe and Grab in South East Asia. Daniel joins Luminar from his most recent role as Investment Manager at Creathor Venture, where he led Creathor’s Nordic operations. 

With a long background in working with startups we understand the challenges of building global companies. We founded Luminar to share our experience and bridge the gap between the angel and A-round with both financing and active professional support”, said Magnus Bergman, Founding Partner of Luminar Ventures, in a comment to the launch of the fund.

Luminars’s core investment focus is on scalable digital seed stage companies from Sweden, founded by highly motivated and talented entrepreneurs with a vision to disrupt or transform major industries. The fund is looking to lead larger seed rounds through an average investment of around 10 MSEK, but will also do pre-seed and series A investments. 

"We are delighted to get started with Luminar Ventures and are already in closed dialogue with a number of promising startups across Sweden. As former entrepreneurs and angel investors, our aim is to be more hands-on in the early growth stage than the general VC and to work closely with the founders of our portfolio companies to support them in finding product-market fit, driving that early growth and preparing the company structurally for a global expansion”, comments Jacob Key, Founding Partner of Luminar Ventures. 

The fund is co-founded together with Sting, the leading startup ecosystem builder in Sweden and operator of Sting Accelerate, one of the most established accelerator programs in the Nordics. Furthermore, the fund has a strategic partnership with KTH Holding AB, which is the holding company of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology - one of the leading technical and engineering universities in Europe. Luminar Ventures has also built an active network of partners throughout Sweden and within several industry verticals to ensure a high and qualitative inflow of investment opportunities.

Major Limited Partners in Luminar Ventures are the European Investment Fund, through the Swedish Venture Initiative, Saminvest AB and a number of professional private investors and institutions.   

About Luminar
Luminar is a Swedish based venture capital fund focused on early stage startups with global scale and ambitions. Founded by experienced entrepreneurs and angel investors Magnus Bergman and Jacob Key, Luminar provides early stage capital, network and hands-on company-building support to leading startup teams throughout Sweden helping them build the next global success stories.  

Sting and KTH Holding AB are both minority owners of the holding company of the fund. They support the fund with a strong deal flow and access to their respective innovation platforms and networks. Luminar has also built up an active network of venture partners across Sweden and within multiple industry verticals. 

The Team

The four members of the Luminar Ventures are all founders and entrepreneurs themselves in numerous tech ventures.

Magnus Bergman, General Partner, was the first investor in Truecaller and an early stage investor in other success stories such as Prezi, Soundtrap, Karma, and others. Magnus also founded the highly respected IT consultant Parallel Consulting Group that was sold to Icon Medialab for around 500 MSEK.

Jacob Key, General Partner, has made early stage investments and actively supported companies such as Challengermode, Gavagai, Unacast and Pacemaker – with 3 successful exits in Sportamore, Vera&John and Vetzoo. Jacob previously held a Global Business Development position at Warner Music Group, where he was paramount in the transformation of the music industry through strategic partnerships with companies such as Spotify, Soundcloud, Tidal and others. Jacob has also founded Mediatude and Globalmouth, two mobile technology companies. 

Linda Höglund, CFO has a background as global CFO at fast scaling unicorns, including Klarna in Europe and Grab in South East Asia. She was before this CFO/Deputy CEO at Dice a public company and part of the acquisition by the global game publisher Electronic Arts.

Daniel Karsberg, Investment Manager, joins Luminar from his most recent role as Investment Manager at Creathor Venture, where he led its Nordic operations. Daniel was also part of the growth team at Izettle. 

Words from the Start up Community
Magnus was involved in the earliest phase of Truecaller and greatly contributed to the development of our company”, said Alan Mamedi, CEO and co-founder of Truecaller. “Magnus’s understanding of scaling a global tech company helped us enable our early growth and Magnus has been our strategic sounding board ever since” 

Jacob has been instrumental as an investor in our company”, said Robel Efrem, CEO & Co-founder of Challengermode. “Before we launched our product Jacob helped set the right strategy for us to move forward and was also involved in setting up the right partnerships that has increased our impact on the market”

The Swedish Venture Initiative
The Swedish Venture Initiative is an initiative created by cooperation between Sweden and the European Investment Fund and financed under European Structural and Investment Funds.

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Saminvest AB
Saminvest AB is a Swedish government owned company that invests in privately operated venture capital funds, with a focus on Swedish based investments

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