Open Ocean launches €100m fund for European software companies

Early stage VC firm targets software entrepreneurs looking to scale globally 

Experienced tech entrepreneur and investor, Richard Muirhead, joining as general partner to lead London office

Open Ocean, the early stage venture firm originating in Helsinki, has today announced 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 global franchises.  

After working alongside the team since the beginning of the year, the experienced technology entrepreneur and investor, Richard Muirhead, will be joining the firm as general partner. Richard will recruit and lead the London operation with a mission to seek and support extraordinary entrepreneurs, invest in disruptive, category-defining businesses and work together on their global success.

Open Ocean is one of the most successful early stage VC firms in the growing Nordic digital market, led by the team responsible for leading MySQL’s billion-dollar exit. The London office builds upon a number of existing UK-based portfolio companies, such as Import.io, Tapdaq and LoopMe, to signal a significant move into the British and wider European software ecosystem. 

Richard Muirhead has a strong track record building and scaling multinational software businesses, having co-founded and played an instrumental role in taking telecoms software company Orchestream to an initial public offering worth $1.4bn. He founded and ran data center automation company Tideway Systems, sold to BMC Software, and recently ran Automic Software (owned by EQT Partners) the world’s largest independent IT automation company. He was also one of the first investors in London success stories, Citymapper and Pusher. Firestartr, the seed investment platform, that he co-founded and chairs, is an early and active investor in Adbrain, Cloud66, ClusterHQ, Tray.io, Urban Massage and Yoyo Wallet.

The €100m fund will focus on data-led, fast-growth sectors such as enterprise SaaS, market networks, cloud infrastructure, big data/machine learning and mobile solutions. 

Open Ocean has already achieved stellar success with fast-growth software companies, including Truecaller, the phone number search and screening application based in Stockholm. Now also backed by Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia, the company is attracting several hundreds of thousands of new users per day and has secured more than two hundred million downloads to date. 

Richard Muirhead, general partner at Open Ocean, comments, “I have participated in the last 2 decades of Europe’s developing tech ecosystem and I couldn’t be more excited at its prospects for technology-fuelled and entrepreneur-led growth in the next. 40 billion-dollar tech successes in Europe since year 2000 have brought well-deserved confidence, fuelling further world-class innovation in sectors such as security, data science, blockchain and cloud infrastructure & automation.”

“The Open Ocean Fund will support early traction and accelerate the growth of software companies with genuine potential for global disruption. I know first-hand the ambition and relentless perseverance required to take a company from inception to IPO and look forward to supporting immensely talented software entrepreneurs who will define the next decade of European tech.”

Michael “Monty” Widenius, MySQL founder & founding partner at Open Ocean, comments, “Open Ocean invests in the software sectors that underpin global business and innovation. We are extremely happy to have Richard join us and reinforce our technical, entrepreneurial and operational DNA that we find so crucial in working empathetically and effectively with the finest of the next wave of founders. The software market in the UK and across Europe is experiencing extraordinary growth and Richard Muirhead will join a team intent on backing future worldwide winners from the undisputed digital capital of Europe.”

The new fund is supported by the European Investment Fund, Finnish Industry Investment, Fund of Fund Growth II and other institutional and private investors.