Helping entrepreneurs build global
software companies

Open Ocean Capital


Investing in European Software Companies

We invest in software companies started by entrepreneurs with the ambition and skills to build global winners. The companies we fall in love with often have large user bases, disrupt existing markets, and/or handle large amounts of data. Mobile, SaaS, Crowdsourcing, Open Source, and Two-sided networks are examples of software business models with the potential for becoming rapidly scalable businesses. To seek funding from Open Ocean, your initial software product should be market tested, but revenue generation can still be early.

Meet our portfolio companies:

How we work

Creating a winning startup is hard. We help entrepreneurs see the big picture. Creating a winning startup also requires many skills. We are hands-on investors and help entrepreneurs in developing their skills and finding the right resources. In practice we are active board members and use our network to find the resources needed to make companies succeed.

What we look for in a startup

  • A unique innovative product created by a great team
  • A product that addresses a clearly understood customer need, which is significant, broad and rapidly growing
  • A released version of the product, which has established a user-base, and demonstrates both a) and b)
  • A well-defined plan for how to generate and scale revenue, with initial steps proven

How we invest

  • After developing an initial understanding of the company through meeting or materials we assess whether the company meets our criteria and could be a good fit for us.
  • We do initial research in the area, usually being in touch with key players in the industry that could become valuable partners for the company.
  • If our research looks promising and we think there could be a good fit, we continue working with the entrepreneurs to find a common understanding of how the company will be developed further.
  • After a game-plan has been agreed upon we issue a term-sheet, after which confirmatory due diligence of the companies technology, legal and financial issues are verified.

How we work

  • We assume a strong role in the company’s Board of Directors and help with strategic questions.
  • We help in identifying key weaknesses and strengthening the management team and BoD.
  • We support in planning, structuring and executing follow-on financing rounds.
  • We find the correct resources to help in any areas of the business that need development.

Open Ocean Team

Patrik Backman
Managing Partner

Patrik represents a strong combination of technical, community and business leadership. In Technology, Patrik has led a large part of MySQL AB’s global engineering team. Patrik also has a Management Consulting background and was part of the management team at MySQL.

Tom Henriksson

Tom joined Open Ocean Capital from Nokia Corporation, where he spent almost 9 years in various leadership roles developing and investing in new businesses. Prior to Nokia, Tom was Managing Partner of Holtron Ventures, one of the A round investors into MySQL.

Richard Muirhead

Richard has has a strong track record starting and scaling multinational software businesses. He co-founded Orchestream, a $1.4bn IPO (and now Oracle), founded Tideway Systems (BMC Software), and ran Automic Software (owned by EQT Partners). He has also been an active angel investor in companies such as Citymapper and Pusher, and he chairs the seed investment platform Firestartr.

Ralf Wahlsten

Ralf has three decades of international experience in Management, Start-Ups and as an investors. Ralf was the first angel investor in MySQL and carried a key role in assisting the MySQL AB founders develop the first business plan.

Michael "Monty" Widenius
Technology, Community and Open Source Wizard

Monty is the original developer of the MySQL database and main founder of MySQL AB. The original MySQL database was developed by Monty between 1981 – 1995, whereafter the MySQL AB company was founded around the product.

Riku Seppälä

Riku joined Open Ocean from the big data startup in Montreal. Prior to Hopper, Riku co-founded two startups in the developer tools space. As a student Riku co-founded Aalto Entrepreneurship Society (Aaltoes).

Dan Shearer

Dan is the creator and leader of the Samba Community. He also is CTO of multiple interesting software companies and an infrastructure
software expert. Dan has been an Advisor to Open Ocean since 2012.

What are we up to?

Open Ocean launches €100M fund for European software companies

Open Ocean is today announcing a €100m fund to accelerate the growth of Europe’s most successful software companies. The new fund is designed to invest in and support entrepreneurs driving disruption in emerging software sectors. With a focus on Series A, and capacity for select Series B opportunities, Open Ocean will partner with companies looking to build…

Firestartr and Open Ocean announce collaboration

Both Firestartr and Open Ocean have as their purpose to seek and support extraordinary entrepreneurs in building disruptive, category-defining businesses and delivering global success. Firestartr’s focus is at the seed stage, Open Ocean’s is at the Series A and B. Richard Muirhead is joining Open Ocean as a general partner to recruit and lead the…

Proud to be partnering with Oppex, easiest way to find sales leads worldwide

Oppex is the world’s largest database of public bidding contests. Oppex, the Helsinki based startup providing an online tool for companies to find cross-border sales opportunities in the public bidding contents, announces having raised a $2.3 million financing round to accelerate its growth. Joining the existing investors are Helsinki’s Open Ocean Capital and London-based Initial…

Valar Ventures invests in EyeEm

Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures invested in Open Ocean Portfolio company EyeEM. EyeEm has created a community of passionate photographers and a unique technology that understands photos and makes them searchable. If you’re on EyeEm, you can now also sell your photos or buy beautiful original photos on the EyeEm market (US & UK). Read more on Venturebeat: Photography community…

Characteristics of B2B unicorn ideas

What are the characteristics of unicorns at the idea stage? When companies start to grow really fast and valuations shoot through the skies, the ideas seem obvious and and the companies feel like they’ve been natural unicorns from the start. As VC’s, it’s our job to identify the potential unicorns when they don’t yet look like…

Open Ocean Backs Verto Analytics To Revolutionize The Digital Media Measurement Industry With $2.4M Funding

Verto Analytics, a pioneer in digital media measurement services, today announced additional funding of $2.4M to support its quest to revolutionize the digital measurement industry. During the previous round of investment in April this year Verto raised $5.4M to bring its game-changing research services to market. Verto combines the latest developments in media measurement science…

Contact details

  • Address
    Pohjois-Esplanadi 31, 00100 Helsinki

MySQL Journey to 1 billion USD

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