This story initially appeared in East-West Digital News, an international news resource covering the Russian innovation scene.
Bas Godska, an international e-marketing veteran and one of the most prolific business angels in Eastern Europe, announces the launch of Acrobator Ventures. This startup fund plans to invest up to €20 million in the coming three years “from pre-seed stage to later stages.” Its sweet spots will be SaaS, Big Data/ML/AI and HR tech, not excluding other segments.
Even though Acrobator Ventures does not specify any geographic focus, it is likely that Eastern European startups will not be forgotten. Since he settled in Russia, then Ukraine in the early 2010s, Godska has invested in 13 companies in eight countries, including mostly the former Soviet Union.
These startups include Ecoisme, Newzmate and Zakaz.ua from Ukraine; Displair, Realtimeboard (Miro.com) andTravelata, founded in Russia; and ChocoFamily, a market leader in Kazakhstan. Godska also invested in several Western startups, such as Harver.com from the Netherlands.
In total, the companies in Godska’s angel portfolio have raised approximately $70 million in investments so far, the Dutchman says. The current overall value of these startups is estimated at €250 million, “based on the latest funding rounds.”
Godska touts Acrobator Ventures as a “growth hack smart money investment fund” which could show “better results for founders than the more traditional VCs in this sector.”
He claims the IRR from his business angel activity to be “four times higher than pan-European benchmarks.”
“We’ve analysed the success factors of some forty businesses we have invested money and/or time in. We also checked what worked and didn’t work in the 100+ companies we have consulted, alone or with my Acrobator Consultancy team during the last two decades. This analysis and hands-on problem solving resulted in unique knowledge, beneficial for all parties involved,” the Dutchman claims.
The fund’s other General Partner is Joachim Laqueur, who has been involved in a variety of venture and business development activities in Western and Eastern Europe and the USA.
Adrien Henni, co-founder of East-West Digital News, serves as an advisor.
“Acrobat Ventures is currently the only international startup fund covering the former Soviet Union including Russia, Ukraine and Central Asia. Some other players are considering or preparing similar initiatives across this underserved emerging region – but they are not active yet,” notes Henni.
A former startup entrepreneur and fund investment manager, Henni added: “I am very excited to support the Acrobator Ventures team, who demonstrated an original and superiorly efficient approach to startup investment in the region over the past eight years.”
The new fund has been registered in Amsterdam, Netherlands, with an additional office in Kyiv (Kiev) and a representation in Paris.