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Becoming an investor does not stop you from being an entrepreneur

Last week, after being angel investors for two years, we announced a new EUR 20 million early stage venture fund. It allows us to serve entrepreneurs even better.

We founded Lifeline Ventures with Petteri Koponen by accident or coincidence.* I was working at Blyk and Petteri at Google, both of us wondering: “I should do something on my own again”.

We got our heads together to figure out a new health 2.0 startup – but instead of founding one, we ended up investing in many. This investing got more and more serious,  and suddenly we found ourselves with 19 early stage companies ranging from biotechnology to social games.

So, how did we get into this? Why to become an investor while you can start and run your own company?

Well, we realized the following:

  • As investors we can do most things we could do as startup founders: While the adrenalin rush and the unique feeling of closing the very first sale (on the edge of an empty bank account and too much unpaid due invoices) cannot be fully experienced, working with multiple startups at the same time is rewarding. Working with many extremely high-quality teams at the same time makes life exciting: instead of having one empty bank account, you have a portfolio of empty bank accounts.
  • An investor can be – and optimally is – an entrepreneur: Putting money in equals to having the skin in the game. An investor is not a consultant. As an investor, you can and need to be passionate about the company as an entrepreneur is. Whenever I engage with a company, I feel the “startup urge” of everything needing to happen faster and better than in reality is possible.
  • Having a fund is the best we can do for the entrepreneurs: In addition to doing angel rounds and trying to be of help where we can, we can now speed-up seed and series A rounds. It is quite handy for the teams and us to start fund raising by saying that we already have million euros secured.

Ending note: We truly believe that the Reneissance of the Technology Entrepreneurship in Finland happens now. If you have been thinking of becoming an entrepreneur or investor, now is the right time. Healthy returns will be generated for the best entrepreneurs, investors and the society.

* Other instrumental people at Lifeline’s history and today’s operations include Jarkko Joki-Tokola and Ilkka Paananen, whose efforts are both comparable of being founders of the new Lifeline Ventures fund.