We are a venture capital fund supporting forward-thinking founders from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Ukraine.
- Main focus Pre-seed to Series A
- We also do Secondaries in A+
- Ticket size €0* to 3m
- Teams backed 45+ companies
*When we invest, the typical starting ticket size is 250k, but sometimes we simply give free advice.
We mainly invest in B2B, SaaS, fintech, platforms, software enabled hardware and deep tech, but we don’t limit ourselves to those areas.
Partners to outstanding teams
We’ve invested in and built long-term relationships with over 45 brilliant teams building tech companies that are really changing the way the world works. Some of them have become superstars already, and others are just preparing to take off. We often support them through several rounds.
We’ll make sure you’ll get access to the right people and resources needed to take your company to new heights.
Our LP base consists of some of the brightest players in the region. They are either founders or early employees of fast-growing tech companies – such as Veriff, Wise, Bolt, Slack, Pipedrive, F-Secure, Kilo.Health and Vinted – or specialists of a wide range of relevant topics. Quite a few of them are founders of our portfolio companies.
You’re looking for an investor who likes things straightforward?
A partner who’d support you also when things get tough?
We strive to be that type of investor.Read more about our approach
Meet the team
We might be aiming for the stars, but we’re pretty down-to-earth. Each of us brings a unique set of experiences, know-how, and connections to the table that we’re all very eager to put to good use, helping founders succeed.
We’re based in Tallinn, but we’re often on the road wherever our investment radar takes us.
Riivo is a serial entrepreneur who has never worked anywhere else apart of his own companies. In his long history of investing as an angel investor and venture capitalist, he’s made over fifty investments. He is one of the founders of Civitta, the largest management consulting company in Emerging Europe. Riivo sources deals, analyses opportunities, and manages the fund and investments at Specialist. He helps founders and their teams with strategy, fundraising and more.
“Extraordinary startups are built by extraordinary people. Spotting them early-stage is like spotting a great piece of art – after seeing thousands of artworks, you start to develop an intuition for telling the difference.”
Being one of the region’s most experienced early-stage tech investors, Gerri has invested in over forty startups within the last ten years. He helped grow Fortumo into one of the global leaders in mobile payments. In 2019, he was honoured as “Investor of the Year” by Estonian startup founders. Gerri works daily with the portfolio founders, sources the deals, and manages the fund. He believes investing is a two-way process which is what makes it so exciting and emotionally rewarding.
“You continually learn from the founders as well as feel you contribute to something that is perhaps going to make the world a better place.”
Kaspar’s expertise is in business development, mostly tech businesses and digital services. Before joining the team, Kaspar worked on M&A, investments and development projects for Ekspress Grupp, a Nasdaq Tallinn-listed media house. Kaspar’s startup investing goes back to 2015 with EstBAN, later recognized as “Angel of the Year”, and building an early version of Nordic angel syndication. His role at Specialist involves deal sourcing, analysis and structuring, and managing investments.
“Obsession with customers, grit and speed is a magic mix for early-stage teams. Our job is to find such founders and teams and help them build unique, successful, fulfilling businesses.”
Investment Manager (Maternity leave)
Karina has spent over a decade supporting the tech community in CEE hands-on. She started her career in banking but missed the human side of finance and wanted to contribute to tangible change. This led her to the startup world. Meeting founders daily, she also started investing in startups, joined Atomico’s Angel Programme, and now doing it at scale with Specialist. Karina covers the whole workflow from the pre-and post-investment process, from finding investment opportunities to supporting founders along their journey.
“Building a startup is not a sprint but a marathon, defined by struggle and challenges. I look for driven founders who are truly motivated and have deep knowledge about the problem they are about to solve.”
Samela has handled analytics and deal sourcing since Specialist was still United Angels. She also makes sure our portfolio companies meet our ESG policy. She has a BSc in Economics and Business from Stockholm School of Economics in Riga and MSc cum laude in Business IT from TalTech. Samela is most interested in the data science vertical.
“I find it very fascinating that you never know which trend or business vertical becomes the next big thing. It means we’ve got to stay curious and open-minded when investing.”
Venture Partner and Scientific Advisor
Tõnu is a human genomics professor at the University of Tartu and a senior manager at Estonian Biobank (Eesti Geenivaramu) – one of the most impactful and innovative health data repositories globally. Tõnu’s expertise is in genomics, healthtech and techbio, and for several years he has been ranked among the most influential researchers in human genomics globally. He has mentored many science-focused teams and is a scientific advisor for several deep tech companies.
“Only a very small fraction of scientific discoveries will ever be developed into products. I want to change that as ideas in deep tech have the potential to reshape the future as we currently know it.”
Finance and Operations Manager
Barbara has always been fascinated by the patterns and processes of money. She’s worked in finance for her entire professional life, gaining experience at Wise, where she learned what it takes to IPO a fintech company, at Vitality, the leading health insurance company in the UK, and at Swedbank. She holds a MAAT status and a BA in International Business Administration from Estonian Businesses School. Besides numbers, Barbara loves to travel, always hunting for the perfect sunset.
“Working with startups and scaleups is a fantastic way to discover innovative and interesting financial models. Even more exciting is to see how these new products are replacing the old ways of doing things.”
Creator in Residence
Marko joined the team to bridge the gap between business and art. He is an artist working within the mediums of photography, sculpture, animation, painting, and text. Marko studied graphic art at the Estonian Academy of Arts, receiving a B.A. in 1993 and an M.A. in 1995. He is helping our portfolio companies to be creative and think “out of the box”. Because besides knowledge, execution skills, and luck, building a successful company requires creativity.
“For me, art means communication, and I am interested in provoking dialogues and making people think outside their comfort zones and taboos.”
Oliver, a 2nd-year student at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, is a valuable addition to Specialist as their “Gen Z” representative. With a fresh deal flow and analysis perspective, Oliver brings a unique viewpoint to the team. Over the past four years, he has gained hands-on experience in financial markets, actively investing and trading various instruments. Oliver manages Specialist’s social media, analyzing deal flow and helping with fund reports.
“The startup ecosystem is fascinating, and working alongside the crème de la crème team at Specialist is the perfect opportunity to delve deeper into this dynamic world”.