About 9 years ago, I felt that I needed a change in my career. I worked in market research after graduating, but after a few years it wasn’t very exciting anymore. I decided to try out volunteering, and ended up organizing a small startup hackathon before going to Slush in 2013. After meeting more people in the tech ecosystem, I realized that this was the community I wanted to be a part of.
I applied to the Estonian Business Angels Network as an intern, which quickly turned into a full-time job and fully immersed me into the world of startups and investing. I learned a lot from the angel side of investing like how startups are analyzed and how investments are made, as well as how startups are built.
So, I think in total it was a lucky coincidence that I ended up in this world, but I’m very glad that I did. I still think that it is the most exciting and fast-paced environment to work in, and the amount of grit and ambition I see in people is awe inspiring.
Which industries are you most interested in?
I strongly support and believe in climate tech and developing more sustainable materials. We are all trying to make this planet a better place for all of us. As I’m also involved with kood/Jõhvi, I’m interested in EdTech. I want to see new methods and innovation in this field, as I know how badly that’s needed.
I also really want to support female founders to encourage them to develop their ideas and grow them into success stories.
What’s your role at Tera?
I joined the team as a Venture Partner, which means that my role is to scout interesting startups, understand and analyze their business and discuss with the partners about possible investments. I’ll also work as an advisor to some of the teams.
Are there some foolproof ways to get your attention when a startup wants Tera VC to invest in them?
I don’t think there is one right way that would guarantee an investment. However, what would definitely help is to make sure your financials and unit economics make sense, and you’re able to explain them; that your team is committed and have the vision and passion to bring your idea to life and that you have managed to onboard customers who are using your service. Also, the VC and investor world is very small, so getting referred and supported by another investor or a fund gives more credibility.
Name a recent book or a podcast that really got your attention?
I highly recommend listening to the podcast Globaalsed Eestlased (unfortunately in Estonian) where Rainer Sternfeld interviews 100 amazing Estonians all around the globe. I haven’t managed to listen to all the episodes yet, but there are so many interesting stories and brilliant guests.
As Elisabeth Holmes’ trial just ended, I decided to pick up Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou which is an unbelievable story, and an excellent look into the dark side of Silicon Valley and startup world.
If we’re talking about fiction, I highly recommend Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir which feels a bit like a space mystery as the author releases the key information bit by bit. From the classics, Animal Farm by George Orwell is one I reread this year. It’s still both fascinating and frightening in how well it described human behavior.
What is a non-work passion you have?
I like to travel a lot, and aim for at least one trip a month. It can be just a quick weekend get-away to some capital in Europe or two weeks in the Caribbean. This year I’ve managed to visit 6 new countries, but there is still a lot of the world to explore, so this will remain a big passion. Especially if I can combine the trip with some fun concert, theatre show or going to see a musical.
I’m not sure if I can fully call it a passion, but my kind of meditation, when I need to turn off the world and relax a bit, is doing puzzles. It’s a hobby I really enjoy in this hectic world.