September 12, 2023

Japanese VC NordicNinja closes new €200m fund and opens an office in London

The VC will invest out of its UK office due to “access to deal flow and exit paths”

Mimi Billing

3 min read

Team NordicNinja

NordicNinja is the rare Japanese VC active in Europe; since its founding in 2019, the team has focused on investing in Nordic and Baltic startups.

Today, it is announcing the closing of its second fund of €200m, and following a trend set by other Europe-based VCs in recent years, is broadening its focus to include the UK and Benelux.

Different focus depending on the region’s strength

NordicNinja focuses on Series A investments, writing cheques between €2.5m and €10m, with a sweet spot of €5m.


Half of its first €101m fund was invested in mobility and transportation, including bets on Finnish XR startup Varjo, Swedish EV logistics company Einride, Estonian identity-verification unicorn Veriff, digital avatar startup Ready Player Me, as well as mobility companies Bolt and Swedish Voi.

Although the VC’s main focus is on deeptech and hardware, investments from fund two will reflect the strengths of the local startup ecosystems. In the Nordics, NordicNinja will continue to work closely with universities and accelerators. In the UK, the focus will be on green fintech, while in Benelux, the focus will be on mobility, according to NordicNinja’s managing partner Marek Kiisa.

Hardware and deeptech

NordicNinja will invest in about 20-30 companies out of this fund, similar to the first fund, but is setting more cash aside for follow-on investments.

“When investing in deeptech companies, we will keep some reserves because these companies need more support in the long run,” he says.

But he also believes that technological advances are making deeptech a more attractive investment proposition for VCs in general.

“We are very strong believers that deeptech cycles will be shorter thanks to digitalisation and AI. This means that venture capital can also do more deeptech investments in data-heavy companies,” Kiisa says.

The VC is an Article 8 fund under the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosures Regulation (SFDR), a so-called “light green” fund that “promotes” ESG characteristics. The SFDR, the first of its kind globally, mandates investors in the region to classify their funds based on how embedded ESG is within their investments, regardless of whether or not they have a specific ESG focus.

“Climate is part of our DNA and all our portfolio companies are reducing the carbon footprint,” Kiisa says.

A new headquarters in London

The fund will operate out of London, where the VC is opening a new office, according to Kiisa. The fund was previously headquartered in Helsinki.

“We have already established our name in Scandinavia and the Baltics but now we are opening in the UK so the office will be there. Why the UK? Because quite a lot of our current portfolio companies have their offices in the UK and we’ll have better access to the deal flows and also for exit paths,” Kiisa says.


The LPs

NordicNinja was founded as a Japanese-European joint venture between the Tokyo-based private equity firm JBIC IG Partners and the private equity fund BaltCap in 2019.

The LPs of its second fund are Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC), a Japanese public financial institution, European investors BaltCap and Swedbank Investment Funds, as well as Japanese corporations such as Honda and Omron.

Having Japanese corporations as LPs is one of the VC’s selling points to startups. By being a link to Japanese corporations, the VC can offer portfolio companies access to Japan’s global networks of investors and companies.

Mimi Billing

Mimi Billing is Sifted's Europe editor. She covers the Nordics and healthtech, and can be found on X and LinkedIn