Luminar Blog

 

April 11, 2018

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

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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