4 min read

Incubating unicorns

Incubating unicorns
Go Vilnius photo
Lithuania Tech Weekly #126

Short version - Work in Progress - landing on LinkedIn,
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work in progress

things planetary

  • Heat pumps are a huge market expanding quickly, as noted by CTVC, Noah Smith, and recently having startups listed by Sunday CET. No surprise one more just got born - Aira. The interesting part is that it is "incubated" by Vargas Holding, which has emerged as a climate juggernaut in Europe, building+investing Northvolt, Polarium, H2 Green Steel - all three unicorns. Aira is starting with GPB 30m invested and 200 people onboard, including a factory in Poland.

(is that not the right way to do a startup? Clearly, new playbooks enter the scene, especially with capital-intensive plays. Now Sam Altman says "Honestly, I feel so bad about the advice I gave while running YC I’ve been thinking about deleting my entire blog”. Instead of quick MVP, raising little cash, etc - OpenAI raised a billion and spent 4 years building first...)

rounds and capital

  • Ugly Duckling Ventures took the lead in investing EUR 1m round in Diplomasafe, a Danish startup and 70V portfolio company. Round was joined by 70V and KMD Venture A/S.
  • Voima Ventures Fund III gets to the first closing, getting to EUR 90m to back Nordic & Baltic science-based startups from labs to global markets (deeptech).
  • BOLDR (Techstars '22) have a round in motion with UK lead investor, raising $1m. Smart wedge into the market, and nice traction to hit targeted $3m in sales for year 1 (see the pitch here)
  • Angel success: J.Adomavicius (Bunasta) claims 50% success rate from his investments, but we believe the definition of "iššauna" here might be different from any venture investor...

Y Combinator also has pretty good rates

An est. 4.5% of the startups that have gone through Y Combinator since 2010 have become billion-dollar companies. Between 2010 and 2015 [the rate] was even higher, at approximately 5.4% of all startups. 2/3 of total value has come from its unicorns.


founder's guide

2. Hire the best absolute greatest people who exist
Hiring this way is crucial for two reasons. First, the best are, well, better, at the specific work they’ve been asked to tackle. But the less-understood reason why this is so high-leverage is because the world opens doors for people at the very top of their respective fields. The best AI engineers in the world, for example, attract media attention, top VC attention, and top founder attention. As a result, they are better connected and have disproportionately more access to the other best people in the world. This accelerates their learning and dramatically improves their ability to make the impossible happen. The difference between the #1 and the #50 in the world in terms of skills is practically indistinguishable, but as a result of being #1, that individual likely has access to an order of magnitude more knowledge, opportunity, and talent.

further insight


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