Traditional Venture Capital, But Better: How Tera Takes Startups to New Markets Safe & Sound
August 3, 2021
Tera’s approach to commercial collaboration with portfolio companies just leveled up.
There is a saying that if all the stories VCs tell about their value add for portfolio companies were true, all the world’s problems would already be solved.
Tera has always been one of the VCs trying to actually live up to the hype. We take pride in our hands-on, founder-friendly approach and have always strived to do traditional venture capital well. One of our priorities is to support our portfolio companies with follow-on investments, but the value we bring extends far beyond cash.
Over more than a decade, we’ve successfully helped to launch ambitious young companies to large markets like the US, the UK and Japan. It usually takes many things to succeed internationally, and we try to help with all of them, but we focus strongly on the most critical aspect: That’s because we know that no matter how good your business or product, young startups usually lack a crucial building block of success—an established network of connections.
As VCs, we make a point of tapping deep into our network to strengthen our portfolio companies across the board and have built up a playbook for commercial collaboration and safe landings. We do everything in our power to make sure our portfolio companies don’t crash land in a new territory, and we know how to take startups from a pitch deck to serving a global client base.
In large part, we’re able to do this because of our investors (both our syndicate partners as well as our fund investors), who are successful international corporations ready to, of course, provide capital. But the latter group are industry players as well, interested in commercial collaboration. So in addition to their knowledge and experience, our partners are eager to introduce New Nordic founders to potential clients or other valuable connections in their network.
Perhaps the most visible sign of the success of our approach has been that many leading international investors have invested in our portfolio companies after us. The list is long and includes names like Union Square Ventures, Bessemer, GreyCroft, Matrix Partners, Atlas Ventures, CRV, Draper Esprit, Inventure, LocalGlobe, and Global Brain.
To keep building on this successful approach, we have now added a strategic limited partnership aspect to our fund. Over the last year or so, we’ve built long-term relationships with more than 10 partners from the US, Japan, and Scandinavia, who have invested in our fund and also selectively transact directly with our portfolio and with some dealflow companies. This can mean direct investment, commercial partnerships, or M&A opportunities. And because relationships with fund investors last for 10+ years, these investors are committed to being close to our ecosystem, creating stronger ties that benefit all sides.
One of our newest partners, Perot Jain, for example, has committed to helping our portfolio companies enter and expand in the US market. Trying to get a foot in the door in the US is a daunting undertaking, but with a partner like Perot Jain, the path is cleared considerably. With a network that includes the largest inland port in the US and Fortune 500 companies, Perot Jain’s local know-how gives European founders a significant leg up when entering the US.
At the same time on the other side of the Pacific, our new Japanese partner ITOCHU is gearing up to establish our portfolio company Cleveron—the innovation leader in robotics-based parcel terminals and last-mile click and collect pickup solutions—on the Japanese market and be their distributor on the ground.
With partners like these, we can provide even more value for our portfolio companies and the wider ecosystem. And because helping others succeed is our main motivation, we are excited to be able to do more of it from now on.