Sweden is so crazy about startups that even the Church is now hunting for 'the next Spotify'
- Gunnela Hahn works for the Church of Sweden's responsible investment unit.
- Aktuell HÃ¥llbarhet // Bertil Ericson / TT
The Church of Sweden is the LP in a newly launched, $60 million seed stage venture capital fund called Luminar Ventures.
Although its the first time the Church invests in startups - and does so with the SDG's in mind - it already manages billions in assets.
Luminar Ventures was founded by two Swedish business angels who say they want to "find the next Spotify."
Yes, you read it right.
The Church of Sweden is now inve sting in tech startups.
Its sustainable investment fund has joined as the Limited Partner (LP) of a $60 million seed stage fund called Luminar Ventures, which was launched today by two Swedish business angels.
The church's $6 million stake marks the first time it invests in startups - and fills a niche in a portfolio mostly consisting of listed companies.
"Areas like e-health and e-learning will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. But you won't find those companies on the stock exchange," says Gunnela Hahn, who runs the Church of Sweden's fund, to Di Digital.
Read More: The Swedish tech scene had a golden year in 2017
"If we are to invest in a venture capital fund at all, it will be because it contributes to a sustainable development for society and the economy," Hahn says, adding that the church fund will not be active in any investment decisions.
Hahn sees the startup venture as an exception rather than rule, and a small, low-risk bet compared to the church's other investments, which amount to around 8 billion SEK ($1 billion).
All considered, if Luminar's angels deliver on their promise to find Sweden's next unicorns, perhaps the Church can soon look forward to exceeding its annual inflation-adjusted return goal of 3 percent.
"We want to build the next Spotify and Klarna"
- Luminar Ventures
Luminar Ventures, which will focus on "young, digital tech companies", has been financed by the European Investment Fund (EIF) and Swedish state-run investor SAM Invest; the participation of whom made the Church of Sweden want to join Luminar as well, according to Hahn.
The fund is run by successful business angels Jacob Key a nd Magnus Bergman in co-opearation with Sting, a leading Stockholm-based startup accelerator.
Key has a background at Warner Music Group and has previously invested in companies including e-sports startup Challengermode and music tech company Pacemaker. Bergman's investment track record includes companies like Prezi and Truecaller.
The two will seek to make up to 50 investments, most of them seed rounds in the range of 10 to 15 million Swedish krona ($120k - $180k). While they don't have a specific sector focus, there's a clear vision to be a leading venture capital fund.
"We want to create the next Spotify or Klarna," Jacob Key said to Breakit.
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