Home Venture Capital Levelling the playing field, a profile of Sie Ventures

Levelling the playing field, a profile of Sie Ventures

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After building companies for over a decade in fintech and the future of work, I turned to Venture Capital. I always knew I wanted to do something big, something impactful, not only thinking about commercial outcomes but also how we are moving the needle for society and making this world a better place. I strongly believe that investing in impact, when done right, delivers better returns but can also deliver pivotal changes in the world we live in. I’m only bringing gender as one example – by backing female entrepreneurs we could increase global GDP by up to $2T – approx. 2-3% of global GDP – and generate 400 million jobs globally. 

After investing on behalf of accelerators and venture funds and having sat on multiple ICs, sourcing thousands of companies it just hit me – investment decisions are massively biased and in the majority of cases, funding goes to people who already have access to funding – making the wealthy even wealthier. Over the years, I have developed a strong network and gathered a level of experience and knowledge about how venture works. I created Sie Ventures to share this knowledge, demystify venture capital and provide people – like myself – with better access to funding and ultimately, a more equal chance at building a successful company. 

Today at Sie Ventures, we’re truly levelling the playing field by backing diverse founding teams and founders who are building companies solving world’s most pressing problems. We invest alongside our network of angel investors and family offices, as well as run programs, providing better access to network, education, capital and support. 

Which industries are you working in?

We love problems that are hard to solve. Therefore we primarily focus on healthtech, sustainability and fintech. However, we are open to other sectors than make a meaningful, positive impact at scale with a strong commercial opportunity.

What do you look for in a founder?

Grit, resilience, openness to learn & grow, humble but confident and a proven ability to sell.
We have a preference towards founders that have relevant, proven, experience in the industry in which they are operating in. Sometimes it’s hard to assess all of these personality traits in the first meeting but a quality we’ve started to identify quickly is the founder obsession. This should be obvious – the “I’ll give it my everything until I succeed. There is no other way” and that’s the type of founder we love.

Can you talk about your current portfolio?

We have backed some really exceptional founders:

Bianca Cefalo from SpaceDOTS, a space engineer, who has built a solution to test and qualify advanced materials in space.
Peony Li, former operator and investor, who founded Jude to redefine healthy ageing with bladder care as an entry point. 

Alexia and Margot de Broglie, founders of YourJuno, who are closing the gender investment gap through financial literacy.

Insiya Jafferjee, mechanical engineer who founded Shellworks – replacing plastic with new compostable material Vivomer and building a more sustainable future for the packaging industry.

What does the future look like?

Automation has been a key impact of technology on most industries and AI continues to permeate various aspects of our lives. I think the focus will shift more towards explainable and ethical AI, addressing concerns about bias and accountability.

We would like to see a bigger change within healthcare innovation – I believe the sector will see a significant adoption of innovation, particularly around treatments for various diseases. 

We would like to see a bigger shift within the women’s health space and based on our recent European FemTech Report, we are seeing a tangible rise in discussions and policies in Europe, concerning women’s health. We believe new policy recognition of women’s health concerns are driving changes in the regulatory environment. 

There will be a growing emphasis on sustainability across industries, with companies adopting eco-friendly practices and consumers increasingly prioritising products and services to reduce their environmental footprint. 

When it comes to Diversity and Inclusion in Venture Capital, I believe that there is going to be an increased push for D&I within VC firms. VC firms will increasingly recognise the value of investing in startups founded by women, minorities, and entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds. There’s a growing emphasis on impact investing and many funds are prioritising companies that don’t only offer financial returns but address social and environmental challenges. We see this approach increasingly aligning with many LPs. Are we going to see governments and regulators introducing policies or incentives to promote D&I within Venture Capital? Hard to say, but I truly believe measures such as tax incentives for investing in diverse founding teams, requirements for diversity reporting or diversity quotas will move the dial even further. 

What makes Sie Ventures different?

We’re uniquely placed to support founders as our experience spans venture capital AND company building. It’s rare to find a team who have significant experience on both sides of the table. To truly understand an entrepreneur and support them effectively, we feel you need to have been in their shoes. When it comes to the support we provide through our programs, we couldn’t confidently guide founders, without first hand experience of working in venture capital. Without this experience, we wouldn’t understand (and be able to navigate!) the nuances and complexities of the venture industry. Nor would we be able to help founders to do the same. Additionally, we work with some of the most respected VC funds, exited founders and experienced operators, enabling us to pass on a wealth of knowledge to founders and set them up for success. We’re then able to be part of their success by backing them through our investment vehicle, which is a unique offering amongst other players in the ecosystem.

What one piece of advice would you give founders?

Always be yourself but be open to learn and grow, in order to become a better founder, CEO and leader. Showcase your strengths but know your weaknesses and where you need to ask for help. It takes a village to build a successful company. Be open to continue learning and educating yourself on the latest technological advancements – don’t get left behind! Finally, do not build your business for your investors, build it for your customers! 

Triin Linamagi is the Founding Partner of Sie Ventures.

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