On March 4, 2021, CEE Legal Matters reported that Walless had advised Evli Growth Partners as one of the investors in the USD 9.5 million Series B funding round of 3D model trading platform CGTrader. CEEIHM spoke with Riku Asikainen, Managing Partner & Founder at Evli Growth Partners, to learn more about the deal.
CEEIHM: Tell us a bit about Evli Growth Partners. What is your story?
Riku: All the Senior Partners at EGP are entrepreneurs. We love to establish, run, invest in, and finally exit from fast-growing companies. And that is what we all have been doing for all of our professional lives. We could all be golfing, but we decided to support other founders by running a EUR 200 million funding program because we like this more.
EGP was founded to serve the lack of lead investors in later-stage funding rounds in European tech. We understood that there is (and there has been) ample early-stage funding for fast-growing European companies, but when the company grows and needs something between EUR 10-30 million, there are far fewer choices for the founders.
Because we value our time, we invest only in companies that are clear in their ethics. We have little time for me-and-myself-type of people or businesses. They can be great, but they are not for us. We also hate dictators.
CEEIHM: Walless recently advised your fund on a Series B investment in CGTrader. In your opinion, what made CGTrader interesting from an investment standpoint?
Riku: We were in talks with CGTrader for more than a year. We actually said no to them first, less than a year before the actual investment. At that time, we really liked the team and the marketplace business but the offering on BtoB-side was still in its infancy and the company was a little small for us. But Dalia and Marius did wonders on the BtoB-side of the business during spring and summer (despite Covid) and we were happy to continue from where we left the discussions a year earlier. Finally, the decision was easy: we liked the market, the product, the traction, and the people behind everything. And we also felt that we could still help them to grow and prosper even more.
CEEIHM: What are Evli Growth Partners' plans for the investment target following this deal?
Riku: You always have to hear what the real experts — the founders — say and plan. They usually have the best understanding of where the company can go and how. It is very dangerous to think that the investors possess some secret to prosperity. But of course, we are only happy when CGTrader achieves world dominance (in 3D models, that is).
CEEIHM: What were some of the complexities of this transaction and how did Walless handle them?
Riku: This was our first investment in Lithuania. We needed a briefing on local business law, board structures, option programs, and from a small part on taxation. Just to name a few.
After the basics were done, we first went through a very detailed term sheet negation process. I like it that way, it is better for the founders and investors alike that most of the difficult issues are dealt with from the beginning. After all, I want to run the business jointly with the founders for the next few years and there needs to be trust between us from the launch until the exit. We need to be open about the difficult issues from the outset.
Building trust in the process is key, and Dovile Burgiene and Walless excelled in that.
CEEIHM: Finally, what made you choose Walless as your advisor?
Riku: We got a nice and warm intro from our trusted Helsinki law firm Avance Attorneys.