7 min read

Hard investments

Hard investments
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Lithuania Tech Weekly #152
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rounds and capital

three questions

Emmet King, Founding Partner, J12 Ventures

Help us understand J12 in terms of investment stages, themes, and geography.
We invest across Europe at pre-seed and seed stage, in companies that are either enablers of AI (typically data infrastructure, developer tools, MLOpps) or vertical applications of AI (recent investments have e.g. included solutions specific to industrial maintenance, retail, and legal services). Our team is based in Stockholm, Paris, and London.

You seem to be heavily focused on AI now. What's your thesis related to the startups in Nordics/Baltics, and what are you trying to achieve with NEXUS?

Just as we have seen previous winners built in the region across B2B/enterprise software and consumer offerings, we believe that founders across the Nordics/Baltics are well-placed to build category-leading companies that have AI at the core of the product offering. When it comes to applications, it's about deep understanding of specific workflows and user behaviours, and being able to build and distribute product that solves a real problem in relation to those - and Nordic/Baltic founders have a great history of doing that, particularly within areas such as fintech, industry, retail, energy, and healthcare. When it comes to AI enablers, we know that data scientists, developers, and ML engineers operating within the previous big tech successes across the region are working on challenges at the forefront, and thus are well-positioned to be the founders of new companies setting out to solve those challenges for all.

With NEXUS, we are looking to support Europe's AI leadership by gathering the most ambitious founders in the space over a series of invite-only events in Stockholm and London, starting in January. Given the fast-moving landscape, rate of technological development, and different perspectives to take on board, we believe there is real value in connecting founders operating in the different layers of the AI stack, and across different stages, in order for all to learn and move faster.

Is Size, Risk, Go still the framework for investment decisions? Or has it evolved since?  

Ohh that article is a bit of a blast from the past! But yes the fundamentals still hold true. We need to invest in large enough opportunities and understand the different risks we are happy to be taking when doing so. We like to build conviction around markets and their dynamics, and back teams that are doing genuinely difficult things - and that often relates to taking on a higher degree of product/technical risk. The founding team and ability to execute will always be the most important though, so at the pre-seed stage that framework could be reduced simply to "Go, Go, Go".

founder's guide

“It's a game, you have a piece of time and you get to decorate it.”


Product Management job went from working by the pool in 2022, to the one where most want to quit as we reach the end of 2023
Pick a startup - find a job
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further insights

three questions, previously