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SSE starts evergreen fund backed by renowned investors

The venture capital industry is hampered by its own focus on short-term returns, according to the startup incubator of the Stockholm School of Economics. SSE Business Lab is now closing a new 40 million SEK fund backed by Bonnier Ventures and well-known profiles like Anna Nordell-Westling, Sven Hagströmer, Anna Kinberg Batra and Sebastian Knutsson. “Long-term thinking amplifies the potential returns”, says CEO Julia Delin.

Venture capitalists with unrealistic expectations on short-term returns have become an increasingly talked-about problem among startups. Fredrik Hamilton, founder of Budbee which got its start at SSE Business Lab, believes that short-sighted investors are hampering the potential of innovative new companies.

“Long-term growth and sustainability have to be more important than short-term profitability. Otherwise, startups risk losing their momentum”, he says.

Larger follow-on investments

In addition to Budbee, successful companies like Klarna and Voi Technology got started at the Stockholm School of Economics’ incubator, SSE Business Lab. Startups at the incubator have been able to receive support in their growth journeys, but SSE Business Lab has not made any investments in them – until now. With its new fund, the incubator will be able to both support its companies with early capital and make larger follow-on investments.

“We’ve chosen an evergreen structure, where a portion of the returns will be reinvested. This means that we’ll only raise one fund with a long-term investment horizon, where investors see the value of letting companies grow over time and realize their full potential. Something the classic VC firms don’t allow them to do today”, Julia Delin says.

There are several well-known names among the investors in the first closing of the fund, which will be called SSE Ventures. Among others, Kobalt Music's founder Willard Ahdritz and Johan Hägglund, founder of Tioex and DigiExam, are participating in the fund. In addition to these successful entrepreneurs, experienced angel investors such as Pia Engholm and Christine Ahlstrand have committed capital. Bonniergruppen's investment arm is the largest investor and will also take a seat on the investment committee.

“Bonnier has been fostering creators and innovators for 200 years. The ecosystem around the Stockholm School of Economics offers a unique opportunity with its impressive history, its close ties to the business sector and its talented students. The collaboration with SSE Ventures means that we will be involved in building the companies of tomorrow, says Johan Skagerlind, Investment Director at Bonnier.

Higher proportion of female investors

In addition to the well-known names and companies among the investors, SSE Business Lab’s fund stands out for its gender equality. In the fund's first closing, a whopping 46% of the private investors are women. Sana Lab’s co-founder Anna Nordell-Westling is one of them, and is delighted by the statistics.

“SSE Business Lab’s relentless work with gender equality is undoubtedly impressive, the result of which can be seen both in the fact that a majority of the incubator's companies have a female co-founder and that the fund has a significantly higher proportion of female investors than other VC funds”, she says.

The fund will make its first investments in the companies admitted to SSE Business Lab’s Incubate program at the start of October.

About SSE Business Lab

SSE Business Lab is the startup incubator of the Stockholm School of Economics. The incubator is an integrated part of the School, working to encourage entrepreneurship among students, alumni and faculty. Through coaching, mentorship, workshops, and access to a first-class network of investors, SSE Business Lab helps startups develop their ideas, accelerate their growth, and create impact. The incubator provides access to a wide variety of partner offers from organizations like Microsoft for Startups, Scrive, PE Accounting, and Grosshandelssocieteten as part of Stockholms Borgerskap. Since its inception in 2001, SSE Business Lab has supported over 250 companies – among them well-known successes like Klarna, Budbee and Voi Technology. 

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