SMOK is hiring an investment team, expands to the rest of CEE
Last updated: October 2021
SMOK Ventures launched in 2019 to disrupt early stage venture capital investing in the Eastern bloc by connecting top local founders with VC and tech leaders in Silicon Valley and Asia. Now the fund is expanding to Ukraine and the Baltics and the rest of CEE. We’re looking to add first team members outside of the founding group. Someone like you, perhaps?
Who is behind SMOK?
We are a team of entrepreneurs and community leaders with the aim to help early stage startup founders build multi-million-dollar global software enterprises from Central and Eastern Europe.
We’re led by Paul Bragiel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Bragiel), entrepreneur turned investor. He has advised or invested in the seed rounds of 300+ companies which includes holdings in twelve unicorns including Uber, Niantic (of Pokemon Go fame), Stripe, Unity, GoJek, Carousell & Zappos. Paul has founded and oversees 7 funds with over $500m under management across 4 continents.
Diana Koziarska and Borys Musielak form the Warsaw-based part of the founding team. They’re both entrepreneurs and community leaders. Before SMOK they co-founded ReaktorX, an acceleration program which helped 150+ founders launch their first businesses. Borys also built a media & AI startup Filmaster and sold it to San Francisco based Samba TV.
We’re also supported by San Francisco-based Dan Bragiel, a venture capitalist and angel investor with an angel portfolio including a number of hyper-growth startups like Opendoor, Virta Health, ShipBob and Playco.
What’s our track record?
As SMOK we’ve made 12 Deals in 12 months (and added 6 more since writing that article) backing some of the top Polish entrepreneurs like Lech Kaniuk of the Delivery Hero fame, Dorota Rymaszewska, a former VP Sales at Booksy or Maciej Prostak, Maciej Sawicki, and Jarek Sygitowicz who all sold their previous businesses generating profits for their investors.
11 out of the first 12 companies we backed in 2020 have already raised follow-on rounds, with valuations growing more than four times in less than 12 months.
We’ve co-invested with top global seed funds from Finland, Singapore and Japan as well as top global angels, including the founders and VPs of companies like Supercell, Rovio, Pipedrive or Mint. Top European funds like Creandum or earlybird backed our seed investments in Series A stage.
Those were good two years, against all odds :)
Why CEE? Why the Baltics?
In a very short time we became the go-to fund for serial entrepreneurs launching their new businesses in Poland. We’re committed to take it to the next level now, with the Central and Eastern European expansion.
When we were deciding on the next countries, we took three things into account:
- engineering talent pool,
- startup founding experience,
- proximity to Poland.
Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were the obvious choices. Ukraine is as big as Poland in population and its engineers are famous worldwide and are already fueling the growth of Silicon Valley’s top companies. The Baltics states led by Estonia are smaller markets but they are leading the world when counting unicorns per capita with Skype, Playtech, TransferWise, Bolt, and Pipedrive (3.8 unicorns per million citizens) holding the first place globally.
We’ve already invested in our first Estonian startup and we have dozens of Ukrainian founders in the pipeline, so all this combined, the expansion east and north sounds like the natural move for SMOK, but we’ll be looking to invest cross-CEE so if you’re based in Hungary or Romania, please don’t go anywhere!
Who are we looking for?
Working at SMOK is a lifetime opportunity to break into venture capital and together build one of the top VC funds in Central and Eastern Europe, one country at a time.
You’ll be working on:
- building the deal flow and community around SMOK across CEE (note that we already started during that with the CEE Valley group on Facebook and Twitter),
- analysis and due diligence of our investments in all markets,
- supporting our portfolio companies,
- attracting new LPs to the fund,
- writing, talking and screaming about SMOK in our blogs, social media, press, meetups and conferences.
Basically, the same stuff we as SMOK founding partners currently work on. We’re a small team with huge ambitions and we require the same from our early team members.
The position is remote-friendly, but the preference is that you are based or prepared to move to one of the CEE capitals like Kiev, Bucharest, Tallinn, Riga or Vilnius and in the future travel a lot across those countries and potentially the rest of the CEE markets once it’s finally safe to travel, obviously.
How to apply?
We want the process to be transparent and simple.
- First, think deeply about why you want to work at SMOK, how does it fit your long-term career goals. We want those to be aligned with ours.
- Secondly, read our FAQ, specifically the investment criteria, and find us 3 top early stage deals in CEE that you believe we should invest in. Be prepared to justify your choice.
- When ready, apply via this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeJi3CYh7ryIyeG4H2ROQYi0ybXmz2iDpGdlxA3RmNqf8bVSA/viewform
- Ping me via email@example.com or send me a DM on Twitter (@michuk) when you’re done!