Breaking Down Private Equity funding: why did Weekend choose BaltCap?

Raising capital is a growing challenge for founders and managers/CEOs, who spend much of their time searching for additional funding and growth opportunities. This is where private equity (PE) could come into play: PE funds are constantly looking for investment opportunities in companies with the potential to grow and the ambition to expand their business.

What role PE investors play and how they back businesses is best explained by BaltCap’s portfolio companies themselves. This time, we chatted with Taavi Laeks, the founder and CEO of Weekend—the leading omnichannel footwear and apparel business in the Baltics. Taavi shared his thoughts on why to choose private equity fundraising, its most significant advantages, and how to prepare for financing.

1. Why did you go for private equity (PE) funding?

We decided to cut a deal with BaltCap to accelerate the business growth of Weekend. We were looking for more than just growth capital with an ambition to expand to foreign markets.

Based on our experience with BaltCap’s growth strategy, PE’s main advantage is the flexibility of equity capital and sharing risks with the PE partner.

Another strength is that being in the BaltCap portfolio boosts the company’s credibility among many relevant stakeholders—not only among the business partners but also among employees, clients, and suppliers.

As a third strength, I highlight the opportunity to access BaltCap’s vast network of contacts, its know-how in supporting companies at various stages of their life cycle and its tremendous pool of experience is attractive and opens new opportunities.

Based on our experience with BaltCap’s growth strategy, PE’s main advantage is the flexibility of equity capital and sharing risks with the PE partner. 

2. Is it easy to get PE funding? How should a company prepare itself for PE financing?

There is one keyword to get PE funding: transparency. The company needs to be transparent—company financials and general management should be solid and running, well documented and disclosed in a good manner. Also, understanding how your business relates to global and local sustainability challenges does not hurt.

Of course, an ambitious vision and growth plan are a prerequisite. To engage growth capital—the first steps have been taken to showcase that the vision is realistic and that you can execute your plan.

3. Why BaltCap?

BaltCap is a trustworthy and experienced partner. BaltCap’s portfolio includes numerous companies, providing an excellent opportunity for networking, knowledge sharing and cooperation. Very often, small and medium-sized companies in the Baltics face similar bottlenecks when trying to expand their business; hence sharing experiences is very valuable. When we started to partner with BaltCap, it already had years of experience as a growth investor in successful pan-Baltic speciality retail verticals such as Tradehouse, Verkter, and LIVIN.

BaltCap investment team is professional; they are nice people to work with. For me, fundamental is the fact that they trust the company founders and management. They don’t intervene in daily management but exercise their role through the company board at a strategic level.

Three key points to achieve Private Equity funding: insight from Sandijs Abolins-Abols

Being well-positioned even during economic downturns, PE acts as a stable and long-term solid partner to their portfolio companies and can help them with necessary strategic decisions or capital investments.
But how does the largest private equity fund in the Baltics look for suitable companies, what to do to get noticed by PE investors, and in which ways does BaltCap help companies grow? A seasoned PE expert with over 20 years of experience, BaltCap’s partner Sandijs Āboliņš-Ābols helps to find answers to these questions.

1. Which companies are the best fit for PE financing, and how can a company better prepare for financing?

Private equity is for companies with ambition and the desire to grow. Private equity money fits those situations where traditional financing sources, such as owner equity or a bank loan, are unavailable. If a company is in crisis and running out of funds and looking to raise those funds, then most of the time we will not be able to help. However, if the company wants to enter new markets or expand, we are here to support it.

Regarding preparation, the company’s management or owners must first know what they want to achieve. There must be a vision and preferably a concrete growth plan for how to achieve it. Second, a company’s shareholders must be ready for a new co-owner to enter the business. We are not a bank, we do not lend money, we become co-owners. Thirdly, the company needs to have complete and transparent finances.

2. How do BaltCap companies grow?

We have the advantage of 20+ years of experience. BaltCap has invested in more than 100 companies at various stages of development in Baltics and beyond. We are experienced in dealing with many different situations, both in start-ups and large-scale companies. Our team has the capabilities to help as we know the paradigms to help companies grow and overcome challenges. For a company, collaboration with BaltCap marks the transition to its next development phase. We can quickly tell you what needs to be done to take your company to the next level.

“For a company, collaboration with BaltCap marks the transition to the next phase of development.”

3. What is hindering business growth for Baltic companies?

Without the ambition to grow, the next step cannot be taken. There is a difference between having the aspiration to be the biggest in your city versus becoming leading in the Baltics and beyond. Often founders find it difficult to let go of their company and expand the ownership structure. However, for the ones who embark on this route, taking the next step means broadening the management team, delegating responsibilities, and increasing the knowledge of running a larger, but those steps must be and are worth taking if you want your company to reach the next level of development.

Private Equity Financing—for whom and why? 3 questions for a portfolio company

Raising capital is a growing challenge for founders and managers/CEOs, who spend much of their time searching for additional funding and growth opportunities. This is where private equity (PE) could come into play: PE funds are constantly looking for investment opportunities in companies with the potential to grow and the ambition to expand their business.

What role PE investors play and how they back businesses is best explained by BaltCap’s portfolio companies themselves. This time, we chatted with Viktorija Meikšāne, the CEO of Coffee Address—the leading coffee company specialising in office and on-the-go coffee in the Baltics. Viktorija shared her thoughts on the nature of PE financing, its most significant advantages, as well as how to prepare for financing.

  • Company: Coffee Address
  • Strategy: Buyout
  • In BaltCap’s portfolio: since 2017

1. What are the main advantages of PE funding from a company perspective?

If the company is 100% owned by BaltCap, it is a seal of quality and this in itself opens numerous new opportunities for businesses A recent example – the fact that we are owned by BaltCap helped Coffee Address in the bond-issuing process at Nasdaq Baltic. BaltCap’s network of local and international advisors and experts is a great asset. PE is called smart money for a reason. You get both the funds and the knowledge to develop the company to a new level. BaltCap takes an active role as a shareholder in the company’s Supervisory Board and steers with strategic goal setting. They helped us introduce a solid corporate governance structure that business partners appreciate.
“The fact that BaltCap is a shareholder in the company is a seal of quality.”

“The fact that BaltCap is a shareholder in the company is a seal of quality.”

2. What does knowledge really mean for a portfolio company?

BaltCap team has invested in 100+ companies across different industries, has absorbed market experience practices for more than 20 years, has seen the most diverse situations, and therefore gives priceless advice. With extensive investment experience, BaltCap has provided a valuable viewpoint that assists with seeing the bigger picture and gaining insight into the nuances of any possible case.

3. Which companies are best suited for PE financing, and how should a company prepare itself for financing?

The first is a company’s ambition, and the second is transparent and solid accounting processes. Market knowledge and an outstanding management team also make a difference. The company needs a concrete vision for growth and a clear plan to succeed. But most importantly—be prepared to be able to tell your story!
When it comes to preparation, a company needs to have transparent and well-organised finances. Ideally, accounting processes are automated. Data can easily and quickly be retrieved and navigated to be presented to the shareholders.  

Elderly care centre of the future – 3 questions to Jonas Zelba, the CEO of Care Investments

BaltCap Growth Fund portfolio company Gemma with its holding company Care Investments started the construction of a long-planned new modern home for the elderly to raise the quality standard of long-term care in Lithuania.

1. What differentiates the new elderly care centre in Vievis from the current facilities?

First of all, no other such modern infrastructure simply exists in the country. We have paid close attention to the specific needs of the elderly, both inside and outside the facility.

In Lithuania, only 8% of all now-offered elderly care rooms are single. Our new seniors’ home will have 58 single rooms and 51 double rooms. All rooms are carefully planned – the beds are positioned so seniors can look outside, bathrooms are spacious, the height of the toilet facilities adjusted, and corridors are wide and with handrails.

For us, it is important the elderly can continue their active lifestyle in the centre; therefore the building includes a restaurant, shared spaces for relaxation and activities, massage and physical rehabilitation rooms, a beauty salon, a reading room and a prayer room.

The new facility offers various opportunities for outside activities: terraces for board games, a relaxation area, a greenhouse, a garden with fruit trees and walking paths, and a special sports field.

The complex will be divided into zones based on the health and needs of seniors. For example, one building will be dedicated to dementia patients, with special interior design and attributes. Such facilities do not exist in any of the Baltic countries.

2. The new facility’s location is fairly uncommon, situated between two big cities, Vilnius and Kaunas. How was it chosen?

We are trying to break stereotypes that elderly homes must be in the forest or by the lake. This territory in Vievis was chosen because it is easily accessible from Vilnius and Kaunas and has a functional infrastructure nearby.

The examples of major European countries show that such facilities benefit from locations in populated areas with much life and excellent communications and infrastructure. It creates a feeling of belonging to a community.

In Vievis there is also a shopping centre and a kindergarten nearby. According to the UK and Japan practices, the opportunity to communicate with children is very important and makes seniors feel happier.

3. What are your expansion plans for the near future?

Currently, BaltCap manages four nursing homes in Estonia, with a total of almost 600 beds. We are exploring opportunities to establish elderly houses in other big cities in Lithuania. In the long run, the goal is to form a portfolio of 800-1000 beds, which means starting to build another object in 2023.

Also, we plan to start building a 129-bed facility in Mažeji Gulbinai in 2023. We have excellent cooperation with Elektrėnai municipality, which is always of great help and provides good partnership. In Vievis, everything from the plot purchase to the construction was completed within a year and was greatly supported by the municipality’s benevolence.

Read the full version of the original article in Verslo Žienos.

BaltCap backed the first Novatore Impact Summit

BaltCap partnered with Novatore Impact Summit to bring together 400 Baltic and Nordic business leaders to discuss women’s role in empowering economic growth. The summit, which took place in Riga on September 22–23, brought together 50 world-class speakers from 18 countries.

The forum was focused on (re)building trust, resilience and sustainable economic growth in turbulent times from the viewpoint of female leaders. The two-day summit included inspiring speeches plus informative presentations and discussions on building businesses and driving growth from the perspective of female leaders.

Gender equality is one of the focus topics on the BaltCap ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) agenda (in addition to smart economic growth and climate action) because, in the Baltics, the gender pay gap is a social issue. Being the largest private equity fund manager in the Baltics gives us a unique position to impact the growth and strategic development of numerous strong companies in our region and beyond. This also allows us to make a difference in the context of gender equality. We seek different means to promote gender equality, women’s participation in leadership positions and transparent remuneration practices. It is of utmost importance to us. Novatore Summit offers a unique platform to share the message outside our portfolio companies.

BaltCap-backed Verkter opened a new warehouse in Kaunas

Verkter, the e-commerce group selling a wide range of professional work tools and accessories in Europe, moved its warehouse to Kaunas. The new 1000+ m2 warehouse also accommodates the company’s HQ and a brand-new showroom. Verkter will keep its current collection point in Vilnius as well.

Located in Kaunas, the new warehouse is next to one of Lithuania’s main traffic arteries and is close to the logistics’ hubs of its key international and regional suppliers. This allows faster delivery to clients throughout Scandinavia and the Baltics.

According to Marius Miskinis from BaltCap, the new warehouse plays an important role in the further growth of the company, as it allows the company to implement novel automation processes and efficiency initiatives, and take even better care of the clients.

“From 2019-2022, Verkter’s sales have grown three-fold. The company’s strategy is built on providing the best client experience – offering a wide assortment of A-brand power tools at competitive prices and with short delivery times. So far, striving for superb client satisfaction has been achieved – the latest customer trust score on TrustPilot was “Excellent”, Miskinis comments.

BaltCap backed LIVIN expands and strengthens its sales network

Latvia’s largest and most popular organic eco-store Biotēka is merging and uniting under common brand with the Baltic retail and e-commerce network LIVIN to develop the largest healthy lifestyle retail and e-commerce network in the Baltics.

LIVIN now has e-shops in all Baltic countries, as well as 22 stores in Lithuania and Latvia.

In addition to rebranding, part of the expansion plan foresees investing more than 400,000 euros into upgrading shopping experience in stores and widening the assortment.

LIVIN carries the largest assortment of health products in the Baltic market, offering more than 4,500 new healthy, organic and natural products. Company’s growth strategy includes opening new larger format stores, expanding fresh food and local farmers’ product offer, such as dairy, seasonal fruits and vegetables, fresh meat and eggs.

The company is known for its thorough pure-ingredient product selection process and LIVIN brand stands as a guarantee of quality and strong supporter of sustainable lifestyle.

Find the online stores of LIVIN:

Piletilevi Group’s CEO Sven Nuutmann on acquiring Tiketa

BaltCap backed Piletilevi Group, an international group of companies engaged in ticketing and event planning, announced the completion of the acquisition of Lithuanian ticketing services provider Tiketa. We had a chat with Sven Nuutmann, the CEO and shareholder of Piletilevi Group, to ask about the add-on investment and growth plans of the group.

What role does Tiketa play in the growth plans of Piletilevi Group?

Following a challenging year, the acquisition of Tiketa is a step towards planned expansion and digitalization of our group’s services portfolio. With the acquisition and product integrations, Piletilevi will significantly expand and strengthen its services. The unified platforms and market development will create new opportunities for numerous counterparts – consumers, event organizers, promoters, venues, and employees.

What are the next milestones for Piletilevi Group?

Piletilevi Group’s aim is to lead a rapid market recovery in live events businesses after the Covid-19 pandemic. Strengthening the organizational and digital capabilities in event management are the key triggers to innovation which, we believe, will bring customers and partners a better user experience, more quality events and therefore best value in the region.

What will you focus on in the coming years?

We plan to invest more than 5 million euros into our IT environment in 3 years, consolidating the three Baltic countries markets assets and efforts.

We will focus on building a unified software platform and digital marketplace development, which will create a basis for best consumer value, culture development and will also drive sustainability of the sector. For us it is important to remain close to the ticket buyer and provide high security, modern additional services and constantly improve user-friendliness.

The attention is on a user-friendly self-service environment for partners, integration of dynamic pricing, marketing and sales analytics. We build on many years of experience of Piletilevi Group, international know-how, and continuous research.

You recently announced that Lithuanian Competition council required post-completion merger filing concerning the add-on, why did this happen?

The Lithuanian Competition Council can use their discretionary power to ask for a post-closing merger filing, even if the deal does not exceed the set transaction thresholds (as in case of Tiketa). We will of course cooperate with the council and present the needed information and our views.