Philosophy

We have clear views on the future and what will be the next big thing. Our operator background means that we have the expertise to credibly add real value and help scale all of our portfolio companies.

Our thesis

The surge in data is changing the rules of all industries

Data drives massive change and creates new opportunities across all industries. As such, we’re industry agnostic. The software startups we invest in help building a data-driven society where technology enables better decision making for businesses and improve the lives of consumers.

The power of data to build a wiser world

We believe that data has the power to create a wiser world for everyone. It’s not just about better decision making and prediction. We believe that data can enable diversity, sustainability and drive fairer outcomes.

Easy-to-love software

You know your user inside out. You have prototyped and launched your product, taken feedback, and can demonstrate strong user engagement. You can evidence large pools of unmet demand in the market. Your product is easy to adopt, users quickly fall in love with it and they talk about it. Your product’s value increases the more users you get.

The green shoots of growth

We’re looking for the first “green shoots” from successful growth experiments. Show us the market demand that can support product pricing and a customer acquisition cost that make sense. We want to back a new team every 2-3  months, to write a “first cheque” for €2-5m, and to invest up to four times that in the very best companies.

Entrepreneurs and engineers at heart

We will help you oil the mechanics of growth, retention, and customer lifetime value; support your team and design the processes to knit them together; pack a punch with your message and matchmake you with prospects, partners, press, and investors.

We only invest in what we know deeply

We focus on startups building disruptive data solutions that have originated from Europe. We typically do early A-rounds, which we like to lead or co-lead. 100% of the software we’ve invested in has been easy-to-love and building the new data economy.

We focus on the enablers of disruption

Digital platform enablers

We are in the midst of a massive shift to digital services. The right business has huge potential for becoming a completely new category leader for cognitive systems, identity management, autonomy as a service, security, or many other themes.

We focus mainly on platform enablers, as these can provide a lucrative return on investment with a lower risk than (end-user) platforms. We are looking for the building blocks that provide the key functionality for platforms. Platform enablers are horizontal, so they can solve one particular problem better than any other solution.

For example, we look to support teams that are creating a compute-ready version of the world (Physical Web), next-generation cybersecurity, or software solutions for deploying robotic and autonomous systems at scale.

Open source

We are the team behind the leading LAMP stack- and cloud open source database companies; MySQL and MariaDB. We built MySQL, the database that helped define generations of software engineers, and MariaDB, the leading open source cloud database.

Reach out if you run an early-stage open-source software start-up and you want to find the right balance between free and open functionality versus paid and proprietary licensed functionality.

Intelligent enterprise automation

OpenOcean is an active investor in enterprise automation category leaders, and now we are looking for the next generation of intelligent automation businesses that will enable what Gartner calls hyper-automation.

Eventually, automation will become so seamlessly integrated into organisations and so easy to use that it will just work in the background, providing a myriad of intelligent services and solutions. We are eager to find new automation solutions that can bring true intelligence to business processes across industries, while we are equally focused on finding vertical solutions that can intelligently automate major use cases in a particular field. We are looking for intuitive and low-friction products that get enterprises and their employees excited because they augment the work they love and automate the work they don’t.

Application-driven data infrastructure

There is a massive opportunity in building the next wave of data infrastructure, because workloads are moving to the cloud, there is a shift of compute to the edge, and new powerful data-driven technologies are emerging, including AI and quantum computing. 

To improve the scalability of data- and compute-intensive workloads in rapidly digitalising industries, we aim to identify new ways of enabling application-driven programmable and dynamically composable infrastructure. We are particularly interested in teams solving bottlenecks in today’s data centres by offering on-demand resource management in elegant and easy-to-adopt ways. We are also keen on working with teams building delicious tools for a brave new world, including AIOps and API infrastructures.

Artificial intelligence

We believe that very complex activities and interactions can be digitised and automated with AI. To achieve this, we are helping to build the next generation of AI companies and solutions.

Superior performance and better accuracy are two of the main competitive advantages of AI solutions. The teams that have made fundamental breakthroughs by putting AI at the core of their solutions will truly outperform their peers. 

Due to the surge in the need for data-driven everything, today’s market is much hungrier for AI-based analytics than what is technically possible. Therefore, teams that can leapfrog the status quo on technical and go-to-market levels are not only able to scale fast but can also solve some of the major challenges for business and society. 

Our core values

Data-driven and analytical

Measure what matters. We are a unified team and data-driven and analytical ourselves, challenging each other to quantify our reasoning.

Diversity

We value different viewpoints and experiences. Our own team and the best companies we have worked with have truly diverse backgrounds, in many dimensions.

Transparency

We are direct, passionate, intense – and enjoy having fun. That means we’re also direct and transparently honest with our founders.

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