HBH Investor Talks:
5 principles of Karma
Karma Ventures team (Tommi Uhari third from left).
Karma has 10 companies in their portfolio – 2 in Sweden, 2 in Finland, 3 in Estonia, 1 in Latvia, 1 in Lithuania and 1 in the UK. Their recent investment portfolio company, London-based Realeyes works on emotion recognition technology that uses machine learning to measure how people feel as they watch videos online through their webcam. Realeyes works with Heineken, LG, leading automotive brands such as Audi, BMW, Ford and more.
We spoke with Tommi Uhari, founding partner at Karma over the phone. This interview was literally written down on a tissue in a cafe in Helsinki downtown on a sunny afternoon. Here are 5 principles from Tommi:
1. Karma is not a b*tch. It has nothing to do with spiritual gurus, sunsets in Goa and enlightenment. Karma stands for actual doing – working hard, responsibly, passionately! How do we work at Karma? We are humble and focus on supporting entrepreneurs, helping them to grow. Growth is our main driver. We appreciate people who are highly motivated and are responsible for their actions.
2. Tech matters. At Karma, we are interested in tech a lot. We are likely to invest in technology that is “absolutely needed” over the “nice to have” one. The Skype founding engineers who support us as investors and tech advisors help us validate the technology and evaluates its potential in a given market. Surely, other factors matter too, but the ability to demonstrate technological uniqueness will make it more appealing for us.
3. People are your biggest resource. It may not come as a surprise – many investors say that they invest in teams. We are not an exception. We choose to work with great teams because we know that strong teams with expertise and no-bullsh*t attitude deliver the best results. Prior Karma I ran my own company, and I know first hand how much team matters. In business, nothing is as satisfying as working in a growth company where everybody contributes to overall success and there’s room for everybody to grow.
4. Customers first. No matter how perfect your tech and how great your team works together, nothing is going to fly if your customers are not happy. It is your responsibility as a founder to make sure your entire team understands that and puts enough effort to serve your customers well. Where there are happy customers, there is growth, and growth is the most amazing part of any venture.
5. Anything is an opportunity to learn. I worked in a corporate job, ran my own company and invested in quite a few, and I have to say, all the steps in my career helped me learn what I know now. Corporate job opened the gates to global technology network. Entrepreneurship taught me how to be responsible for my own actions and decisions. Investment job gives me a possibility to share my knowledge, network and experience with others thus helping them to grow.
Tommi Uhari has a sheer experience working as a corporate executive, entrepreneur and angel investor. Previously founded global connectivity company Uros, served as a high-tech executive at Nokia, ST-Microelectronics, ST-Ericsson and done a few investments as an angel investor. On one of the angel portfolio companies, he also worked with Skype co-founders’ fund Ambient Sound Investment. Karma appeared as a spin-out from Ambient Sounds and became its startup extension.
He works with companies building innovative solutions in B2B software, SaaS, AI and machine learning. So if you share Tommi’s principles, reach out to him by sending an email: http://www.karma.vc/