What founders say about us?
The objective of our screening process is to find startups with whom we are a good fit (we are the right investor for them, they are the right portfolio company for us and the feeling is mutual). We want to help founders, who have no prior experience of us, to set their expectations right. So we asked founders, who have experience of dealing with us (some have more, some have less), to describe us for the benefit of fellow founders. What are we like, what to expect from us, how we behave and react etc. etc.
Some of these founders we have invested in their ventures - and some we have not invested in.
Hear it from the horse’s mouth:
“Gorilla is a different kind of VC firm.” Jacobs story about our founder day here
Jacob Lindberg, vinter.co
“Gorilla is an early stage seed investor with a good reputation. If you get Gorilla to invest in your company, it is much easier to find other investors as well. Gorilla has a due diligence process, which can be a very educational experience.”
Teemu Laitinen, almerin.com
“Very straightforward, honest and no-non sense collaborator. Startups are full of utopia and “what-could-be”. However what makes the biggest difference in the end is the day to day grind. In my opinion Risto and Gorillas support you in having a big vision, while keeping laser focus on the current.”
Jarkko Aaltonen, smoothly.fi
“The first things that come to my mind are:
- brutally honest and to the point
- extremely skilled about the art and science of early-stage businesses
- clear about their support and limits of their support.
Approachable, helpful and friendly once you get over the intimidation that the brutal honesty can cause. Always open to have a phone call or meeting when I need an outside opinion. I hugely appreciate this!
A rich and fun source of speaking in pictures about fairly complex problems. Here’s one of my favorites, when discussing the optimal size of our engineering team over a 12-month planning horizon: “A small motor boat won’t go faster when you attach a huge engine to it, it will just burn more fuel.” Love it!”
Rolf Schmitz, collectivecrunch.com
“Many startups have a vague or limited understanding of the value that an investor can create. It is quite understandable that investors want to see that startups thoroughly understand every aspect of their business and that they know how to create a profit from it. Gorilla Capital understand how to communicate clearly with startups and they know how to translate the business jargon into practical and tangible language that the startup can operate with. The startup/investor fit is very important for Gorilla Capital as they know where they are strong and that investing is not only about supplying money. They are very eager at helping out with the challenges and issues that startups may face. The investment process went well and smooth.”
Nicki Friis, 42patents.com
“Gorilla Capital is for companies that understand who is the end customer and who will pay for the service/product, but not yet sure how to build the business of it. You won’t get customers, but you will learn how to optimize your customer base.
Make sure you have realistic plans about growth and progress. Honesty and transparency are key to cooperation. If you want to learn, Gorilla Capital is the right partner, you get a big network of other companies in the same phase around you who are ready to help.
Compared to a normal angel investor, be prepared to look at the results behind the numbers, numbers don’t lie.”
Timo Haapaniemi, caddieye.com
“I will add that practical business wise of thinking is one of the key elements that I really much appreciate on communicating with you. The question is how much we grow MoM, turnover, customers, users etc. The key game changing question is how fast we are learning. That stuck with me, thank you for that insight !”
Maido Janke, Eziil Production Intelligence OU
“In communication Petri was very brief, target-oriented and honest: raised only the key (pain) points and Oppobot actions needed, in order to get the deal done (if any). Overall, Gorilla is highly entrepreneurial & experienced in what they do: despite summer holiday, things were taken forward effectively. Respect! Looking forward to our co-operation.”
Heli Holttinen, Oppobot.io
“Risto and Petri will mercilessly ask you hard questions and you may feel uneasy while trying to answer. However, just do your best since the questions are the right ones which you must in any case answer to be successful.”
Jaakko Ranta, click2contract.com
“We have experienced great cooperation with Gorilla Capital. The process for raising funds has been reasonable and straightforward, and we value the advice given. We feel the support and trust of Gorilla! We foresee the journey continue the same excellent as it started.”
Terje Ennomäe, feelingstream.com
“Gorilla guys focus on startups that build solid businesses, not just the technology. They have so much experience with B2B industry and are a great match for technology companies focusing on traditional industries, like real estate in our case. I explicitly remember our first call with Risto and how great it felt talking to an investor who really understood the challenge but also the opportunity in selling vertical industry SaaS. The other thing I love about Gorilla is their process – you talk directly to a partner, DD process if focused and fast, and they decide on their own regardless of other investors.”
Kristi Hakkaja, moderansolutions.com
“At the battlefield, not knowing the landscape lying ahead is one of the big disadvantages you have as a disruptive entrepreneur.
It’s invaluable to have an advisor who knows what challenges lie ahead of you and how to tackle them. An advisor and mentor who knows the lands where your venture determines the efforts and outcome on the battlefield.
That advisor is Gorilla Capital.
Gorilla Capital distinguishes themselves by being dead center focused on how companies bring value to their targeted customer and how it’s getting communicated.
Being former entrepreneurs themselves, they know what they speak of and are a valuable partner in getting you focused.
They are the perfect investor for you if you have a realistic view on creating value for customers and growing a real business without having manic ideas of making the next Amazon in two years but rather taking one step at the time, reaching for the stars but maintaining focus on building the next part of your rocket ship first.”
Jesper Juel Jensen, patentrenewal.com
“If you did your homework the conversation with Gorilla Capital is straight forward and fast.
1. After the first contact with Gorilla, we have sent all the materials (pitch deck, product presentation, plan, etc.);
2. In a few weeks, we got preliminary approval from the Gorilla to move forward, and also we have received a list of documents and information that should be prepared;
3. The ball was on our side, so we took some time, and we started the preparation of the documents and information;
4. Ones the data was prepared, we have uploaded it into the dropbox and send a notification to Gorilla;
5. In one week we got the answer from Gorilla that in general, all the documents are ok, but we have missed a few reports, so again the ball was on our side, it was our fault;
6. When we have passed the check, then we started preparation of the investment agreement. Of course, it took a lot of time to negotiate the terms and conditions, but not because of Gorilla, but because of us and again our fault;
As a conclusion:
Gorilla Capital are professionals, and you should be on the same level, it does not mean that you should be ideal and does not make mistakes, but you need to learn very fast. They are professionals that allow you to make a mistake and this is one of the most critical sides because in many cases it first time for the startup. They are providing to you all needed information and support, and you will get approvals from their side very fast, only one thing you need to do is execute!
What Gorilla expects of you?
You need to manage the process, you need to control it, you need to link all the investors, you need to send only required information and documents, you do not need waste Gorilla‘s time because they do not waste your time, you need to listen, read, learn, talk to lawyers and do not make stupid steps. If you think it is a lot for you, then…”
Andrii Rudchuk, hala.ai
Gorilla favour brainwork over legwork. Something I think that makes them fairly unusual in the market. This is reflected in their reporting requirements which focus on the measuring of causes for growth, not solely on the outcomes.
To be a founder working with Gorilla you need to be open to analysing where your business may be underperforming and not too proud to recognise your own part in things that could be improved upon. Of course this can be painful in the short term, however, the exercise is entirely intellectual rather than personal and is carried out in a constructive and encouraging way.”
Kate Fairhurst, growthminds.com
The setup Gorilla Capital provides feels very flexible. They trust that your team are the experts in the field and that your startup is therefore the best to run and execute your business. The team at Gorilla are open for sparring (which they are actually incredibly good at - providing meaningful and valuable inputs), but the day-to-day operation is the startup’s responsibility. The entire setup around this investor feels very modern and 2019-ish with remote meetings and calls being standard instead of spending money and time on onsite meetings.
To sum it up Gorilla Capital is for startups
From the Nordics/Baltics
That are capable of running their own business
Which have their first paying customers
Looking for an investment around 100k Euro
Most importantly: Who feels that the chemistry with the team at Gorilla (as well as the philosophy and structure) is a good match”
Andreas Overbeck, squidhub.com
“Sijoituksen hakeminen ja aloittaminen oli melko vaivatonta ja alkuyhteydenottoon ei ollut suurta kynnystä. “Hakemus” ja vaadittavat dokumentit kysyttiin meiltä nopealla aikataululla ja dokumenttien lähetyksen jälkeen pääsimme suhteellisen nopeasti keskustelemaan yrityksestä, foundereista ja bisneksestä.
Aikataulutus on Gorillalla nopeaa ja ajankäyttö tehokasta. Yleensä sijoituspäätös tehdään melko nopeasti ja prosessi on pitkälti vakioitu. Saimme asiat sovittua melko nopeasti, mutta sijoituskierroksen kerääminen venyi meidän itsemme puolelta.
Gorillan sijoitus sopii mielestäni 2-8 hengen start-up yritykselle, joilla on selkeä visio, “valmis” tuote ja jo näyttöä siitä, että asiakkaat oikeasti ostavat tuotetta. Samalla, vahva sitoutuminen yritykseen niin foundereiden kuin henkilökunnan osalta on tärkeää Gorillalle. Samalla, Gorilla ei ole mielestämme ainoa sijoituskierroksen sijoittaja, joten prosessin nopeuttamiseksi, suosittelen keräämään sijoittajarahaa jo ennen kuin laittaa hakemuksen sisään Gorillalle.
Kehitettävää: Itse toivoisimme hieman lisää kontakteja, joita voisimme hyödyntää bisneksessämme (tähän tulossa portfolio day). Tietenkin voi olla, että emme itse osaa kysyä oikeanlaista informaatiota tai kontakteja oikealla tavalla.
Gorilla ei ole mielestämme sellainen “kädet savessa” oleva sijoitusfirma vaan pikemminkin tukee jo entuudestaan hyväksi todettua strategiaa ja pyrkii omilla resursseillaan tukemaan toimintaa mahdollisimman jämäkästi. He ottavat kantaa strategisesti tärkeisiin aihealueisiin mutta eivät puutu jokapäiväiseen operatiiviseen tekemiseen.
Varmasti tärkeintä hyvälle yhteistyölle on muistaa olla aktiivinen itsekin. Kaikkea ei aina voi vyöryttää toisen vastuulle (Gorillan), koska kyseisellä yrityksellä on paljon muitakin asiakkaita hoidettavana. Jos on asiaa, kysy!”
Erik Tahvanainen, youpret.com
“I started browsing for investors 2 years prior to our investment round, for investors that can see what I see. But when I found Gorilla Capital and Risto he opened my eyes and still does!
If you want a smart investor that can see beyond the presentation, if you dare, you should talk to GC!
Gorilla Capital can take lead, but they dont go in alone. If you have GC that believes in you as a founder, then you will start hearing “if GC is in, I am in!” from other investors.
What I have appreciated the most is that I’ve been able to be myself from the start. Even if they probably know that I’ve not been 100% correct in all things I’ve presented they have just friendly but firmly challenged me to evolve. You can see their experience - they have definitely done their journeys and they are happy to share their experiences and help/coach you, so you don’t need to do the same mistakes.
I’ve found that there is a gap between VCs and Angels. Gorilla fills that gap as an “VC angel”!
What I always expect from an investor and team members is that they should be different and complement you, either with experience or point of view, for me Gorilla have both!
Don’t listen to everything what others say. Assume, experiment, verify and make your own future. No-one likes a “yes-sayer” and neither do GC, stand up for your beliefs!
Gorilla capital would love to see a unicorn, but unicorns need to live on earth and that’s where you have to start! One step at the time, they know the probability statistics, so make a plan that is down to earth but can make your company grow!”
Daniel Hedberg, ticketbird.com
Risto supported us whenever needed and his feedback was always at the heart of the matter(s) we went through. Petri’s difficult questions and valid observations were also very useful.
The methods used by Gorilla challenge a startup company with the essentials and force to focus on the right things.
We are forever grateful to Gorilla for the whole process and for the successful outcome to which they had a significant impact.
Now we have a more sharpened package and excellent qualifications for the future”
Pasi Sampakoski, taikacompany.com
“From From our first meeting with Gorilla, we felt that they could be an investor that will bring much more to the table than just capital. This proved to be very true. In our company, Gorilla Capital chose not be a member of the Board for regular meetings, but in all the larger shareholder meetings and also occasional topical meetings for strategic questions, they have been active participants and have brought insightful points of view to the discussions. For example they have contributed with valuable perspectives to discussion and analysis of topics like product-market fit, identifying the true value proposition and use cases, planning the financing strategy, internationalization strategy, and creating shareholder value over time.”
Ville Vanhala, futuresplatform.com
“Gorilla Capital was very quick to respond and was well prepared for our first pitch. They were far quicker than most other institutional investors in their decision process and stood firmly with their commitment throughout a jumpy capital acquisition process. Their experience from the startup world has made them into valuable speaking partner. Gorilla require most reasonable amount of reporting and provide good support when needed. The partnership is effective and uncomplicated.”
Johan Strömberg, podme.com
” Gorilla Capital was the first investor who was truly interested in the DNA of the company: not only how we are making money, but also how we see the future and what are the values the business is built in. The initial discussion was very valuable and provided a lot of understanding and tips on how to grow the business and what is the role of growth finance in it. The investor market snapshot and the overview of the investor types also provided a plenty of valuable information for founders who are building their first round of funding. I really appreciate the conversation we had with Risto!”
Olli Ainasvuori, mostdigital.fi
” The best “no” I’ve ever received from an investor.
Had a 2.5 hour discussion, where time was dedicated to truly understand our background, current state and future plans. Took the time to thoroughly explain why we are not a match, plus gave a lot of sparring. THIS is the way every investor should do it.
There was strict tone and intense criticism, but I could not feel any ill will, rather a genuine desire to stick to what they believe in, and to help the whole start up scene develop.”
Antti Jäänvirta, app.superlect.com
” I can warmly recommend discussions with Risto. He is honest, open and gives valuable advice and feedback. He is a true professional and helped us in moving to the right direction.”
Maria Kuosa, aeromon.fi
“We are very early stage in our common adventure with Gorilla, but their superb market knowledge and start up experience was something that was clearly visible from the very first dialogue we had. Spot on questions and comments have already got us fine-tuning the initial approach quite a bit, that is exactly what an early stage company wants to see happening with its supporting partners. We are very excited to get such a strong teammates to play in our team, I am sure there is a lot of valuable learnings, discussions and things to consider going ahead together !”
Toni Lehmusvaara, scoopify.com
“From Risto you will get invaluable feedback and sparring for your startup. He is brutally honest and thanks to his vast experience he is able to reveal all the soft parts so that you know what to work on to make your pitch better. Plus, he is a nice guy too.”
Kimmo Koivisto, digizen.id
“Building a cutting-edge banking system is about the hardest engineering challenge there is, so we wanted to work with people that get that. Gorillas no-nonsense attitude coupled with their understanding of the B2B market made them a great partner for us.”
Erik Bennerhult, naktergal.tech
“Risto Rautakorpi’s generous, insightful and helpful sparring has included fantastic analogies between everyday life and startup’s life cycle. He’ll explain things so that you can really understand what are the crucial points in his advice. You hear him combining the most recent literature and his own experience in concepts like nailing the niché; J-Curve; measuring the right things; premature scaling; hull speed; moose hunting; honing the accuracy; being ready for the opportunities; cloning the key roles; long distance reconnaissance; reading the map; ignore the sometimes poisonous advice of corporate seagulls for startups; using your chips like a pro poker player; controlling the nerves; Hemingway; innovate by using others; drive lies within the higher cause; etc. If you like to understand these concepts and more of his high impact advice, I guess you’ll have to ask him. It’s fun and educating to work with him. I’ve been absorbing every word he’s been firing on a rapid fire.”
Mikaeli Langinvainio, inforglobe.com
“The first contact with Gorilla was very straight forward. I immediately noticed that Gorilla team has seen a lot of start-ups and thus know where to begin. Risto’s to the point questions brighten the thoughts of even an experienced start-up team. And, it seems to me that also other Gorilla’s processes are polished up to reach high efficiency, which benefits both parties. This no nonsense style suits me very well, and I would appreciate it from other venture capitalists too.”
Riitta Tiuraniemi, Skoggi Oy
“We are just starting our co-operation with Gorilla Capital but have already been able to see their way of work and core principles in action. The communication is straightforward, honest and professional. I liked how every part of the investment process was thoroughly thought through. Even though DD and contract process always takes some effort we could see that they were made as lean as possible.
Risto has been easily approachable, friendly and straightforward. I love the cut the bullshit attitude and have learned something new from every phone call with him. Once we got through the initial screening process and back to the business as usual, we can really feel the trust that Risto and Gorilla place for the founders. Gorilla is there for us whenever needed but also clear about the limitations of their help and let the founders do their work.”
Aaku Asujamaa, Buenno Research Oy
” More than the dollars, we need the expertise, experience and advise. We have just started our cooperation but can already say that with Gorilla, it comes in a no-bullshit, but still professional way, which fits perfectly to our mindset.
The process has been very rigid, fast and efficient, which is obviously essential at this stage. Going forward, we’ll expect to continue with the same approach and build mutual trust in the way.”
Tuure Karhu, hukka.ai
” We have collaborated with Gorilla for a few years already. Whenever we have needed guidance or a second opinion, Gorilla has been there for us.
Gorilla also always encourages a mindset which emphasizes learning.
Personally I have found this very inspiring and a useful approach as a Founder.”
Jarkko Aaltonen, smoothly.fi (2 years after the first impression)
“Gorilla was extremely professional and productive from the first pitch meeting to their investment decision.
Compared to other investors I pitched, Gorilla stood out because they
+ understood our business model before the first pitch started
+ asked great questions to understand it even deeper
+ made a correct assessment of the value drivers and risk factors
+ made up your mind after the second meeting
+ did not change your mind
+ wasted no time”
Jacob Lindberg, vintercapital.com
” Gorilla Capital will ask you the right questions and make quick decisions. It’s a unique opportunity to get institutional capital at an early stage.”
Harald Axelius, billender.com
” Since day one we have had a very direct and honest conversation about our business and market. Risto and Petri bring in decades of B2B sales experience into our conversations. That and with a solid belief that a company is more than just the product it sells, we are constantly being challenged to re-think our truths to push our venture forward. ”
Michael Bugaj, meploy.me