Butterfly Venture Fund III starts investing, two new American partners join in

Butterfly Ventures starts investing today from the new Butterfly Venture Fund III. The target size of the fund is 24 million euro. The fund focuses on hardware and deep tech companies whose business is built around unique, often protected and hard to reproduce technology. Butterfly Ventures is joining forces with US and Sweden based Capital A Partners (CAP A) for the new fund.

One of the focus areas of the fund is research based innovation and co-operation with universities that Butterfly Ventures has established relationships with. The fund is particularly interested in seed stage companies with high growth potential. While most of the target companies will be from Finland, the fund will also invest elsewhere in the Nordics and the Baltics.

The expansion of operations brings into the new fund two American partners from CAP A, Tanya Marvin-Horowitz, based in Stockholm, and David Mendez, based in the United States. One of portfolio companies in CAP A’s Fund I, Svenska Aerogel, listed in December 2016 to the Stockholm First North. CAP A is also a co-investor alongside Butterfly Ventures in portfolio company, Conexbird.

“We are so excited to be working with such a successful and experienced Butterfly team as we embark on our first Nordic-based fund. CAP A has made investments in the Nordics since 2013; however, our partnership with Butterfly establishes a more substantial presence here and provides more resources to help build our portfolio companies into successful global enterprises.” states Tanya Marvin-Horowitz, Managing Partner at CAP A.

With the new fund, the Butterfly Ventures team will have nearly 40 million euro under management. To date, Butterfly Ventures has invested in 40 portfolio companies and in the light of Finnish Venture Capital Association (FVCA) statistics it has had roughly 15% – 20% market share of all the early stage first time investment rounds invested by venture capital funds in Finland. In addition, CAP A has invested in 18 portfolio companies, 7 of which are Nordic based.

“Butterfly Ventures was the first VC we spoke with. The co-operation started a year and half before the seed investment round. When we needed the funding, everything worked out really fast. It was particularly important for us, that in addition to funding, we got on board a VC who we trusted and with whom the co-operation was working really well.”, noted Toni Linden, the CEO of KNL Networks.

“The help we’ve gotten, particularly immediately after the first investment round has been invaluable. The co-operation with Butterfly Ventures has always been fruitful, constructive and such that it supports the entrepreneur. Whenever I have asked, they have helped us. Therefore, it’s very easy to recommend Butterfly Ventures to my fellow entrepreneurs.”, says Aki Soudunsaari, the CEO of Naava.

A significant portion of Butterfly Ventures’ current portfolio companies deal with deep tech and hardware, such as KNL Networks, Optiwatti, Naava, Valossa, Sarokal Test Systems, Conexbird, Sapotech and Asmo Solutions.

”Of our existing portfolio, those companies who have had a hardware component have developed faster than others. This can be seen both in their revenues as well as valuation. Furthermore, many of our most interesting companies, for instance KNL Networks and Valossa, have research based roots. It’s natural that the focus of the new fund is steered towards this direction.”, states Juho Risku, Partner of Butterfly Ventures.

”The fact that Finland has very good hardware knowledge explains part of it. During the last few years, hardware development has become easier and more cost efficient. We also believe that one of our key success factors has been the very conscious, open and constructive co-operation with our portfolio companies. We have a good reputation and we get plenty of leads through the entrepreneurs of our existing portfolio companies.”, adds Ville Heikkinen, Partner of Butterfly Ventures.

Initial investors of Butterfly Venture Fund III include Tekes Venture Capital Ltd, Elo Mutual Pension Insurance Company, Fennia Mutual Insurance Company, Tradeka-invest Ltd, AI-Partners Ltd, LocalTapiola Pohjoinen Mutual Insurance Company and Gerako Ltd. The fund may accept additional investors until the final closing.

”We haven’t invested in such an early stage venture funds before, but the focus area of the new Butterfly Ventures’ fund along with the versatility of the team and the success of their earlier investments convinced us. We have researched several funds and this was suitable for Fennia’s investment portfolio.”, says Eero Eriksson, Deputy Managing Director of Fennia.

This first closing of the fund is nearly 13 million euro. The final closing of the fund will be done during 2017 and the size will be capped at 24 million euro.

”The rapid start with professional investors who have plenty of experience of investing into venture capital funds tells that we’re trusted. Naturally, the significant commitments of large institutional investors and Tekes Venture Capital are a good sign.”, explains the CEO of Butterfly Ventures, Matti Kanninen, “The success of our portfolio companies has helped also; for example, KNL Networks’ 9 million Series A round, which was one of the largest A rounds in 2016 in Scandinavia, and crowd funding of Asmo Solutions, which was closed just in two days, faster than any other over million crowd funding campaign in Finland. The fresh triple victory of Optiwatti at the nationwide Kasvu Open could also be mentioned.”

Enquiries and additional information

Matti Kanninen, managing partner
Phone: +358 (40) 5455877
Email: matti@butterfly.vc

Resources

Download PDF: EN, FI

Case: Ceruus

Ceruus logo, white bgCeruus has created a reliable, low-cost and easy to implement service platform for internet of things products and services creation. The platform has a flexible data synchronization which operates reliably also in environments where there is no fixed internet gateway, i.e. when an end user device, such as smart phone is used as a gateway. This provides plenty of flexibility for products and business models. Their mass production ready reference implementation includes low cost standalone Bluetooth based internet of things hardware module that records temp / motion data and provides control when integrated to other hardware. Internet of things is one of the billion dollar megatrends and Ceruus addresses some of the key competitive factors, i.e. reliability, power consumption, ease of implementation, mobility and flexibility.

Ceruus allows easy access to such information such as energy consumption and temperature at home.

Ceruus allows easy access to such information such as energy consumption and temperature at home.

Prior to Butterfly’s investment Ceruus had developed the first mass production ready product version as well as secured the first pilot customers from Finland, Germany and Taiwan.

“Internet of Things will reshape the life in the same way as the Internet has done so far. Services accessible from the web and mobile will for instance replace ordinary home instruments, like temperature gauges and room thermostats, and automate business work processes. Among other things Ceruus technology will decrease the cost of implementation and add flexibility due the fact that any smart device, such as mobile phone or tablet, can be used as a router. We’re particularly happy that Butterfly invested into us. While money is obviously important, even more important is the fact that they bring in their business insight and challenge us to see what we do from a fresh angle.” (Matti Verkasalo, CEO of Ceruus)

Butterfly invested into Ceruus because their product allows easy access to multiple internet of things business. Furthermore they have secured multiple interesting pilot customers. Ceruus team also has a very strong experience of industrial scale productisation, especially what comes to low power consumption products. Butterfly’s investment will be used for completing the second round of customer product pilots as well as business model testing and verification.

Case: Kyynel

Gold_ball_hiresKyynel will change the way data is being transferred in remote areas. They are able to provide global coverage and offer similar or better quality of service than satellite communication does, without the cost of operating satellites. Kyynel’s solution requires only a low-cost radio system to provide global connectivity. This bestows huge value for e.g. shipping industry, which is currently heavily dependent on satellites. The satellite data communications is an industry worth of billions. Kyynel’s market opportunity lies in taking over the vast majority of it.

Kyynel provides state of the art high frequency terrestrial data communications system to replace the satellite data.

Kyynel provides state of the art high frequency terrestrial data communications system to replace the satellite data.

Prior to Butterfly’s investment Kyynel has developed and protected a huge technology base around the field necessary for the service. They also have developed the initial product versions required and secured a couple of significant pilot customers.

“Early days of radio relied mainly on longer wavelengths which allow to cover longer distances. However, there have been several data density and reliability issues when transferring data using traditional radio systems, making most commercial users change to satcom and other systems. In Kyynel we have been able to solve the usability problems of traditional radio systems, making it possible to offer a global connectivity that is reliable, secure and always online. We have been discussing with Butterfly for over a year and have strong confidence in their ability to help while going international. Now that it’s time to launch we felt it was also the right time to take them on board to help to do it successfully”, (Toni Lindén, CEO of Kyynel)

Butterfly invested into Kyynel because of the unique market opportunity and Kyynel’s extraordinarily deep knowledge of the field. In addition there is a strong IPR portfolio, existing industry with ongoing budgets, business model with a steep monetization curve and technology that allows to go around most critical mass challenges faced by other similar exercises. Butterfly’s investment will be used for further development of the commercial product, launching the service and securing the first few international customers.

Case: NaturVention

NaturVention logoNaturVention has developed a fully automated living green wall that cleans the indoor air from multitude of harmful substances exactly the way nature does, by using living plants. Even more so, they’ve come up a way to make the process 100 fold more efficient. Furthermore the system naturalizes indoor air breaking harmful chemicals, increasing the amount of natural chemicals and oxygen in the air and ensuring healthier humidity levels. By doing this they have been able to eliminate many of the indoor air quality related problems, for instance reducing sick leaves in many occasions, not to mention the improved quality of life for people involved. The market opportunity is simply put huge, there are billions of people suffering of bad quality indoor air on daily bases, especially in Asia.

Greenwall in a lobby

Greenwall naturalizes the indoor air using living plants. It does it by breaking harmful chemicals, increasing the amount of natural chemicals and oxygen in the air and ensuring healthier humidity levels.

Prior to Butterfly’s investment NaturVention had developed the first product with over 98 % test to purchase conversion and >500k€ worth of revenue. Their customer base is very satisfied. They had also filed international patent application for the key parts of the technology involved.

“According to WHO unhealthy indoor air is one of the biggest health challenges of the world today. While the original idea of plants purifying air in enclosed ecosystems is based on NASAs research from 1970s, we took the initial ideas to the next level, and were able to solve a bunch of technological challenges that made the actual active green wall possible. We wanted Butterfly along, as they have great international networks, action-oriented way of operating as well as plenty of needed knowledge of scale-up and marketing. Furthermore they had an excellent reputation among their portfolio companies.” (Aki Soudunsaari, Co-Founder & COO of Naturvention)

Butterfly invested into NaturVention because of their ability to solve a problem with huge, tens of billions, market opportunity. The team has done excellent job while addressing many of the challenges related into such complex product combining living plants, mechanics, hardware and software as well securing the first satisfied customers. Furthermore Butterfly saw a clear opportunity to bring in added value to the case in the areas of marketing, market requirements, business models and international networks. Butterfly’s investment will be used for releasing a more scalable product version, as well as preparing for international scale-up.

Case: Sapotech

Sapotech logoMonitoring super-hot processes, like casting steel, has traditionally been problematic. Due the extreme heat and constant motion one cannot actually see what’s happening inside the processes and traditional camera-systems just can’t take it either. Yet whenever there’s a problem undetected it may cost hundreds of thousands or even millions to a steel mill. Sapotech has invented a laser based imaging solution that allows one to see with unprecedented detail into hot processes. More importantly, due their novel hardware, industrial internet software platform and SAAS -based business model, they’re able to install the system as well as prove the value for the steel mill within days. The approach makes sales cycles extremely short. It’s revolutionary concept in traditionally slow moving industrial automation industry.

Reveal Cast screen capture

The SAAS based software platform provides excellent ease of use for operator. It makes it easy to identify the defects and react early on when ever needed.

Prior to Butterfly’s investment Sapotech had launched their first product, secured multiple pilot customers in the Nordics and several hundred thousands of revenue, as well as filed patent applications for the key technologies.

“For some reason industrial automation and modern service based business models generally haven’t yet met. We’ve been able to marry a few things, unique hardware, our own industrial internet software platform and steel industry expertise into a world class service offering. These ingredients allow us to execute a rapid scale-up into a market that’s worth of billions. Butterfly brings in not just money now and networks needed for follow-on financing later, but also business model expertise, knowledge of IPRs and experience on scaling up businesses internationally. Their support while facing the challenges of ramping up global service business is truly valuable.” (Saku Kaukonen, CEO of Sapotech)

Butterfly invested into Sapotech because of proven customer traction and industry disruptive business model with market potential of billions. The product is mature, fast to deploy and provides instant value to the customer. Furthermore the founder team has very deep knowledge and networks within steel industry as well as rare combination of expertise required; industrial internet, machine vision and user experience. Butterfly’s investment will be used to further confirm the business model, ramping up the customer acquisition as well as developing follow-on products that leverage the existing software platform.

Case: Sarokal Test Systems

Sarokal Test Systems logoWith traditional testing equipment every product generation has required new set of testing equipment as well, costing hundreds of thousands or even millions for network equipment manufacturers. Sarokal has created a new kind of testing equipment platform to test network interfaces where software plays a major role, therefore requiring only minimal hardware update. This novel approach doesn’t just save money between product generations, but also enables multiple uses of same equipment within organization as well as totally new use cases for testing. For instance hardware testing as a part of ongoing embedded software development has often been just too expensive. There’s a hundred million dollar market for equipment like this and Sarokal’s software oriented approach makes them very cost efficient as well as allows faster than usual scale-up due these additional use cases within organization.

Sarokal Tester

Sarokal provides maximum performance and feature set for network interface testing with easily upgradeable hardware and software.

Prior to Butterfly’s investment Sarokal had finalized the first product version, acquired their first major telecommunications customer and secured multiple pilot customers.

“Most of the testing equipment manufacturers for telecommunications industry has been very traditional, hardware oriented and extremely expensive. Every new product generation also requires new set of testers. Our products do most of the stuff with software and therefore offer better functionality, lower cost and a possibility to upgrade with minimum hardware changes. There’s also an added benefit. Our system can be scaled up easily and cost efficiently, thus making more extensive hardware testing along the ongoing software development possible, which hasn’t been previously possible. Butterfly will bring in needed resources for scaling up the business.” (Harri Valasma, CEO of Sarokal Test Systems)

Butterfly invested into Sarokal because their target market is large and the early indicators of customer traction they have. Sarokal has also been able to develop a very complicated product into launch ready stage with novel software based approach. Furthermore, team has the right background for tapping into testing equipment market, both from business as well as tech point of view. Butterfly’s investment will be used to confirm the business model by acquiring additional key customers and development of next product version.