What should the ultimate accelerator consist of? That was a question that capacities behind Accelerace and international tech companies asked themselves. The answer is Overkill Ventures. An early stage venture fund and modern accelerator based centrally in the Baltic States from where it will create growth in the East and Scandinavia.
”It is the first time where we build an accelerator from scratch. Accelerace and Techstars are both older concepts. We have learned a lot. We have used that experience to create a new accelerator model targeting startups. We have taken all our learning and mistakes into consideration and asked ourselves how the most modern accelerator would look like. It would look like Overkill Ventures.”
So says David Ventzel. He is a partner and investment manager in Accelerace and now also a partner in Overkill Ventures, which he has built together with partners Peter Marculans, former program manager in TechStars, and Dmitry Saikovsky, former M&A in Lattelecom.
Overkill Ventures is a new early-stage venture fund, developed from the Danish accelerator model behind Accelerace, and supported by the communications company Lattelecom and the financial institution Altum.
The best from Accelerace
Since 2008, Accelerace har chosen, trained, and invested in more than 500 promising Danish and international startups. 88 percent of these are still on the market today. That is the success story that Overkill Ventures has adopted large parts of, mixed with blood from the Techstars concept, and transferred to the ecosystem in Riga.
“Riga is the country in the Baltic States with the closest ties to Russia and Central- and Eastern Europe. It is a strategic decision to be based here. From here we will be able to attract deal flows from countries such as Ukraine, Belarus, And Russia, countries where we also see a lot of exciting startups and talented software developers,” says David Ventzel.
Close to the home of Bitfury, Transferwise, and Taxify
It is from the Baltic States that we find successes like the fintech startup Transferwise, the Uber competitor Taxify, and one of the World’s largest full-service blockchain companies Bitfury, just like Skype had the entire development department located here. That has created a wave of innovation since the techies from here have begun to invest in the region. But so far, there hasn’t been too much attention put into creating accelerators to spur growth. Until now.
“No other accelerators have as strong and as thoroughly tested a concept as ours. Our concept is founded on all the knowledge compiled in Accelerace combined with Peter Maculans’ experiences from TechStars. As an accelerator, we stand strong. From Riga, we can expand our brand to the entire Baltikum, Ukraine, or Belarus. We see a lot of unused potentials here. Everyone looks to London or Berlin. But the future is also here. The competition is not yet, though,” says David Ventzel.
First batch is chosen
Overkill Ventures was launched in January and has now selected the first batch of startups to accelerate. Overkill Ventures is primarily targeting Baltic startups working within digital tools to support the work of professionals.
“But it is also interesting to Denmark since the Baltic States have close ties to Scandinavia. The countries see themselves as a part of the Nordics. Strategically it is also a good place to be for a small country like Denmark if we want a closer connection and better insight into the great Eastern Europe. Riga is a gateway to the region, just like Hong Kong or Singapore are gateways to China and South East Asia,” says David Ventzel.