Made in emerging Europe: Firstpick, Airly, Yaga

Emerging Europe’s start-up scene is thriving: new funds and new ideas are constantly coming to market. To keep you up to date with the latest investments, innovations, events and accelerators, every week Emerging Europe gives you an overview of the news of start-ups in the region.

Firstpick: a seed venture capital fund for Baltic tech start-ups

There is a new investment fund dedicated to the Baltic countries: First choicelaunched last week by a group of Lithuanian investors.

A seed-stage venture capital fund focused on tech start-ups, Firstpick intends to invest €20m and is backed by limited partners including Lithuanian state-funded fund INVEGA and a number number of business angels, founders and members in the region. technology community.

According to Jonė Vaitulevičiūtė, Managing Partner of Firstpick, the fund aims to provide consistent funding during the pre-seed phase, allowing start-up founders to fully focus on business development instead of seeking new sources of funding.

“By managing two funds in the period between 2019 and 2022, we have noticed that there is a lack of consistent seed investments, which are crucial for start-ups to grow from seed products to generate substantial income,” says Vaitulevičiūtė.

“That’s why we’ve launched a pre-seed venture capital fund that will work with startups from their inception until they’re ready for seed funding. We’ve tested this strategy by investing in start-ups like kevin., Ondato, Watalook and Heavy Finance with the previous fund.This is also why half of Firstpick’s assets are dedicated to follow-on investments and co-investments.

Another partner, Marijus Andrijauskas, says that while this year Baltic start-ups have already attracted €1.5 billion in investment, which means the region is on track to match the outcome of the Last year, 82% of this sum was invested in Estonian companies. -UPS.

“We see a huge demand for venture capital investments in Lithuania, especially for early stage startups, and we are ready to fill this gap, he said.

Aerial & Yaga

There was new funding last week for Aira Krakow-based cleantech startup, which raised US$5.5m in Series A funding in a seed round led by firstminute capital and Pi Labs with participation from Sir Richard Branson Family Office, AENU, Untitled, Cal Henderson, Marcin Zukowski, Semapa Next, and TO Ventures.

Airly intends to use the funds to accelerate its growth, expand operations and market reach.

Led by Founder and CEO Wiktor Warchałowski, Airly offers a complete SaaS solution for air quality monitoring and control via a proprietary sensor network providing real-time air quality data. Its platform provides air quality monitoring solutions to local governments, businesses and local communities in more than 40 countries.

Last week, a second-hand fashion store founded in Estonia also raised funds Yaga.

Yaga has raised €2.2m to expand into African and Asian markets in a round led by Startup Wise Guys, while Estonian firm Trind Ventures and Specialist VC and Latvian venture capital Rubylight have also invested.

“While recycling has long been on the rise in Europe and Vinted, which is of Lithuanian origin, has become a unicorn worth four billion euros, the trend in African countries is not. in its infancy and is closely following our trend. In South Africa alone, we see an opportunity to grow our business tenfold,” says Aune Aunapuu, co-founder of Yaga.

Photo: Aerial.

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