Winners of the Investor of the Year 2021 awards
The winners of the 2021 edition of the annual Investor of the Year awards jointly organized by LVCA and LatBAN were announced on March 31.
The main Investment of the Year award in the legal and institutional investor category was awarded to Bregal Sagemount for its investment in Printful, which enabled the company to reach a valuation of $1 billion and thus become the first unicorn in Latvia. Ģirts Līcis, Kārlis Cerbulis and Uldis Cērps won the Investment of the Year award in the business angel category for their joint investment in the new company WeedBot, which develops agricultural robots for the British market. The Growth Award went to Lokalise.
Kristīne Bērziņa, Chairwoman of the LVCA Board, described the activity in the private equity industry in Latvia in 2021 as follows: "It is a real pleasure that the Latvian private equity market is obviously strengthening. In 2021, an increase was observed both in the activity of local and foreign funds. Change Ventures became the largest seed capital fund in the Baltics, private equity manager Livonia Partners established the largest private equity fund in Latvia to date, several real estate funds were established, and funds registered in Latvia invested three times as much as in the preceding year. There were also significant investments in Latvian companies by foreign private capital giants, notably Index Ventures, Apollo Funds, Bregal Sagemount, Partners Group."
The Investor of the Year awards in the legal and institutional investor sector were received by:
- The Investment of the Year for the volume and future outlook of the investment was awarded to Bregal Sagemount for its investment in Printful, which enabled the company to reach a valuation of $1 billion and attain so-called unicorn status;
- The Exit of the Year award for the volume, results and impact of the transaction on the development of the growth capital sector went to Livonia Partners for the sale of its shares in its portfolio investment in Santa Monica Networks to Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (LMT);
- The Financial Advisor of the Year award for the scope, results and significance of the advice provided to investors was awarded to Superia for its work with Livonia Partners on the sale of Santa Monica Networks to LMT; consulting the management of EKJU in purchasing a company from BaltCap and its founders; advising Utilitas on the acquisition of the Tārgale wind farm project and consultations related to the acquiring Primekss from the Green Gateway Fund;
- Legal Adviser of the Year was awarded to Ellex Klavins for advising Printful as it attracted investment from Bregal Sagemount, Livonia Partners on the Santa Monica Networks transaction and assisting SG Capital Partners Fund I in connection with the logistics complex purchase in Riga.
The LVCA also thanked the LIAA and particularly the head of its representative office in Finland, Alise Barvika, for her assistance in cooperating with foreign partners and especially in fostering the active involvement of Finnish firms. Thanks also to ALTUM and its board member Ieva Jansone-Buka for her active work with venture capital programs and Andris Baumanis, expert of the Financial Intermediaries Division, for involvement in the daily management of funds established under the auspices of ALTUM, Deloitte for the preparation of the 3rd Baltic Private and Venture Capital Market Report, Change Ventures and especially Andris K. Bērziņš for his influential work in bringing information about the Baltic and Latvian private equity markets to the the knowledge of the foreign public.
The Investor of the Year 2021 awards in the business angel categories went to:
- The Investment of the Year award, based on the amount and most promising outlook of the investment, was awarded to Ģirts Līcis, Kārlis Cerbulis and Uldis Cērps for their joint investment of 150,000 euros in the new company "WeedBot", which develops agricultural robots for the British market;
- The Most Profitable Investment of the Year award, based on the return on investment and total amount earned, went to Voldemārs Brēdiķis and Uldis Dzērve for their investment in the Interactio live translation platform, which supports face-to-face and online activities and can be integrated into third party platforms. Interactio already operates in 111 countries. The investment achieved a tenfold return within a year and a half;
- The Greenest Investment of the Year award for the largest investment with the most positive impact on the environment was awarded to Capitalia Co-Investment Fund and Juris Grišins for the investment in Aerones, a wind turbine inspection, maintenance and service company that utilizes robotic solutions to save resources, reduce repair time and thus increase the amount of energy produced;
- The Industry Supporter of the Year award was awarded to Httpool for co-organizing the Business Angel Camp in Latvia, which brought together investors from across the Baltics and Europe, and for its significant contribution to supporting the growth of Latvian start-ups through digital marketing.
For the second year in a row, on the initiative of the Ministry of Economics, a joint LatBAN and LVCA Growth Award was awarded to a company that has grown with the help of business angels and/or private equity funds and whose significant growth resulted in new jobs being created, more taxes paid and other immediate positive effects on the Latvian economy. This year's award went to Lokalise.
LatBAN and LVCA have been organizing the Investor of the Year awards since 2015. The event focuses on the growth trends in the private equity and business angel industry, highlighting and honoring key market players, consultants and supporters, and promoting the exchange of experience and knowledge.
Investor of the Year 2021 was organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Economics and the development finance institution ALTUM, and co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.