We are looking for missions that bring us alive – those that are so motivating we’d have considered joining full-time. We aren’t going to be a detached financier – we’ll only invest when your mission matters to one of us personally and we are compelled to do everything in our power to further your mission.
We will each take on a tiny number of projects each year – 2-3 typically. For each company we partner with, we are able to spend up to a day a week if you need it. You can rely on us to be close enough to deeply understand what is happening with your business and proactively support you vs just turn up to board meetings. For each startup we back we draw up an SLA so we can hold ourselves accountable to being the best possible partner to you.
As a group we have worked with over 10% of the European start-ups valued at over $1b.
I co-founded Teleport, led it as CEO through a series of seed stage experiments for remote working digital nomads and eventually shifted to a B2B business model which Topia acquired in 2017. I stayed with Topia as CPO for raising a $48m Series C, two more acquisitions at the other side of the table, scaling product, engineering and design teams up and down by 100+ people. In 3 years we launched a coherent platform Fortune100 companies now run their global mobility programs on.
Earlier I joined Skype about 18 months in at 50 people as an early executive. I stuck around for 8 years to the $8.5B exit to MSFT, through a rollercoaster of investors from VCs to US corporates to PE wooshing by at “3 CEOs in 4 months” level of crazy. I grew the the original Estonian R&D office to 450 people, and had many different jobs around global operations, product and engineering over the years. Most fun of which was running product engineering for Windows, Mac and Linux clients with 300M+ MAU. I learned tens of millions can get pissed when you turn their familiar small chat app into full screen to fit large video calls.
My first CEO title came at age of 18 founding the first digital media agency in Estonia in 1996, clearly without any clue what that job is. First we had the high of leading our market and selling into DDB Worldwide and eventually the low of crashing the company along the dotcom boom.
I value a tolerant, open and creative society in the broadest sense. Teleport’s tag line was “free people move” and our mission to make governments compete for every citizen. This thinking captures both my company building, some public roles (like advising President Ilves of Estonia or sitting on the boards of Estonian E-Residency program and Vabamu, the Freedom Museum) and definitely many of my investments around future of work, collaboration, governance. I’m spending a lot of time thinking about Web3 as the stack for the future of more citizen owned internet. Sometimes I get giddy with far out scientific advances around synthetic biology, genetic engineering or physics where I don’t understand half of what the founder says, but it feels they might need some company building help. And sometimes there is just such a fantastic click with an absurdly brilliant founder… that I might even lead a vertical B2B SaaS or intermediary marketplaces investment.
Testimonial from founders who have worked with Sten:
We couldn’t ask for a better partner for building our business than Sten + Plural. It feels amazing to always have top founders in out reach to give advice and make the right connections. Plural has been vitally important for taking Ready Player Me to the next level.
– Timmu Tõke, Co-founder & CEO, Ready Player Me
There is a big difference if your investors have built unicorns themselves or not. Only true founders understand what it takes to BUILD!
– Taavi Kotka, Founder & CEO, Koos