Our investment focus
Our investment targets tend to:
Have R&D at the core of their nature
Be in the seed or early stage of the company life-cycle
Be built by people who want to be global leaders in their field
Have technology or technology-based service providers for their customers
Be based in Eastern Europe, Russia or Asia, and demonstrating global ambition
Own intellectual property in their core technology area
Have a look at our current investments.
Our investment processPre-investment
Before making an investment, our decision-making process involves:
- First consideration, where we want to get excited about your team and product
- Analysis of your business proposal, where we look in detail at your team, technology, financials, business model, customers, and strategic partners, and prefer to meet you in person
- Term sheet, where we agree on the value of your business, the amount and terms of investment
- Due diligence process, where we verify the value of your technology and business as well as assess its legal aspects
- Signing the shareholders' agreement, where we formalize our investment
Our typical mode of working in the pre-investment stage is through multiple rounds of questions and answers. In addition, we want to meet you and talk to your customers, strategic partners and your other investors.
Once we have invested in your company, we want to contribute both our finances and expertise. In regards to the latter, we can provide your company with expert advice on technology development, organization growth, financial management, IP strategy, international expansion, team motivation and other core competencies critical to a future global company.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What industries do you invest in?
A: We filter opportunities far more based on the challenges that the teams are setting themselves up to conquer rather than the industries they are set to join or alter. We have a notable preference for R&D-heavy projects, but if you think we should hear about it, don't hesitate to contact us about anything you’re working on. Let’s see what we can do together.
Q: What is your usual size of investment?
A: Our average investment is probably around 500K EUR, but we have done and continue to do deals on either side of that figure.
Q: What is your usual share in a portfolio company?
A: Our usual share is around 25%. We currently have portfolio companies on both sides of that number. We believe that founders should be the majority shareholders in their companies, so we usually avoid becoming the majority/largest shareholder. This is somewhat different in the case of Incubator projects, where our involvement is close to a founder-level 50% ownership.
Q: What is your usual degree of involvement in a portfolio company?
A: On average, we are involved on a strategic level, having one partner or advisor on the Board of the company facilitating our insight and advice. If needed and agreed with the company, our involvement can also be more hands-on.
Q: I have a lucrative idea, will you provide a loan to establish the business?
A: We believe our long-term involvement helps companies forward and we are looking for projects that share this view. We therefore make equity investments that afford this long-term approach.
Q: I have this great idea and I want to sign an NDA with you before outlining it to you.
A: We believe that sharing a few pages of a basic background and objectives of a project cannot be harmful to anyone. If you are afraid to come to us with your idea in good faith, our advice is that you should rethink your strategy since the idea probably wouldn't withstand competition in the market.
Q: What language should I use to send in my materials?
A: You are welcome to submit your idea in English, Estonian or Russian. Pick whichever you are most comfortable with.
Q: Are you investing your own money or are you running an investment fund?
A: With ASI we are investing our own money. It gives us the flexibility to invest in a range of industries, phases, regions and sizes that many funds simply cannot consider due to more formal constraints set up at the time of their inception.
Q: What is the time-horizon for your investments?
A: Again, unlike ordinary VC funds we do not have artificial fund-closing schedules, therefore we are not bound by calendar dates by which we need to liquidate our shares. We invest from seed stage to growth companies and we like to be shareholders for as long as we can provide value. Once the company breaks out to a less rapid-growth curve and enters a more steady manufacturing and sales phase, that's most likely the right time for us to exit and find another prospective R&D-intensive startup to support.
Some external resourcesWe recommend these external pages, copyrighted by their respective authors, to anyone starting a new business:
- The art of the executive summary by Guy Kawasaki
An excellent summary on putting together a project brief
- How to start a startup by Paul Graham
Philosophical insight into the supreme importance of ideas and people
- The autodesk file by John Walker
A ten-year travelogue of the challenges, conflicts, and decisions from small start-up to large company