A few weeks ago, the private family office of Lars Seier Christensen, chairman and founder of the Concordium Foundation & cofounder at Seier Capital International, announced an investment pool of 10 million euros for projects utilizing the Concordium blockchain and open call for blockchain startups in Ukraine.
Lars Seier Christensen is a Danish businessman, entrepreneur, and investor, born in Copenhagen. In 1992, he co-founded Saxo Bank, a financial multi-asset trading and investment platform offered directly to sophisticated private investors, institutions, as well as to other financial institutions as a white-label infrastructure. In 2016, after 20 years as co-CEO of Saxo Bank, Mr. Christensen stepped down to focus on other investments through his private family office, Seier Capital.
Mr. Christensen and Seier Capital, with combined assets of approximately 400 million dollars, have invested in a broad range of companies, including most notably the foundational blockchain protocol, Concordium.
We asked Mr. Christensen about his investments in Ukraine despite the war, previous visits to the country, business with the local team, why he is actively looking for tech talents in Ukrainian startups, and what’s next for the Ukrainian innovation industry through the lens of the blockchain visionary.
TechUkraine: After over 6 months of russian invasion, why did you decide to invest in Ukraine in such challenging times? What’s your motivation and aim?
Lars Seier Christensen: I am already invested in a tech development company in Ukraine, Tacans. Here I have experienced first hand the quality of developers in Ukraine and this base also makes it easier to support locally any interesting projects that we identify.
In addition, I am have been impressed with the resilience of both the colleagues at Tacans and Ukrainians in general in these hard times, and find it appropriate to support good people with building exciting projects, particularly now.
TechUkraine: Your family office, Seier Capital, allocated an investment pool of 10 million euros for projects utilizing the Concordium blockchain. Why did you choose blockchain technology and the WEB 3.0 sphere?
Lars Seier Christensen: I am a big believer in blockchain technology, as it is – since the internet – the most potentially transformative technology I have witnessed. Blockchain can improve the security and transparency of nearly any data based business, and at the same time remove our reliance on single-points-of-failure and the need for trust in these, which is inherent in nearly everything we do.
I believe it is evident that virtual environments have the potential to enhance our lives with more information, more experiences and more social interaction, and these technologies are developing very rapidly.
For me, it is guaranteed that virtual interactions will only increase in the future and therefore, it is important to be part of this development early on.
TechUkraine: What kind of startups and solutions do you and your team look for, especially in Ukraine? What kind of expertise and founder mindsets are in priority?
Lars Seier Christensen: I look for interesting use cases and projects that look to empower and secure the world through the use of blockchain.
Specifically, I want them to build on the science-based Concordium blockchain that I believe ticks all the necessary boxes for mainstream adoption in the coming years.
In a project, I look, of course, for a great idea, that has real long-term utility, not just short-term hype.
The team should be experienced, smart, and have the necessary people to complement each other with the most necessary areas of expertise that are rarely covered by just one person.
I also look for people with resilience, persistence, and patience because building new solutions take time, and there are many obstacles along the way that you need to overcome.
TechUkraine: Which tech projects have you developed in Ukraine previously?
Lars Seier Christensen: Tacans, leading by Mathias Lundoe Nielsen, has built a number of blockchain-based solutions such as:
- Spaceseven is a multi-chain NFT marketplace and SaaS NFT whitelabel platform that includes single- and multiple edition NFTs, collections, fixed prices, auctions, launchpads, 7 connected blockchains, credit card payments, and much more. Both the marketplace and whitelabel platform is free to use with no upfront payment or monthly fees, only a small fee when NFTs are sold. Companies using the Spaceseven whitelabel platform includes Samsung and Meta (Facebook).
- Veax is a decentralized exchange on the Near blockchain featuring a slate of advanced liquidity management functions such as single-sided liquidity between 16 tokens in one pool, liquidity farming, automated arbitrage, adaptable liquidity pools and more. The Dashboard gives comprehensive control to both traders and LPs, in an easy-to-use UX.
TechUkraine: Last year, in late November, you visited Kyiv for and Conference.NFT, where a partnership NFT project was presented with Ukrainian singer Nadya Dorofeeva. What’s your impression of the country (you also visited Chornobyl) and conclusions based on cooperating with tech teams nowadays, during wartime in Ukraine?
Lars Seier Christensen: I was impressed by the pure number of participants, but also the many good ideas present.
Much has changed since then, but people dont change and as said, the obvious resilience of Ukrainians under hard conditions has continued to impress me.
It was not my first time in Kyiv and I find the city vibrant and interesting, with a lot of potential.
Visiting Chernobyl was an eye-opening experience, very sad to see in real life the risks and consequences of technology going wrong.
TechUkraine: Several international funds have announced investments in Ukrainian tech and startups in the past weeks. Why do investors keep an eye on the Ukrainian innovation sphere even now?
Lars Seier Christensen: I think it is due to the well-known competencies in tech industry and also the country’s general potential for development.
There are many things that can be built smarter today than we have done in the West over the past hundred years, and countries that don’t have the same amount of legacy solutions and incumbents sometimes blocking innovations, have special potential for building a much more modern infrastructure.
TechUkraine: What do you think about the Ukrainian tech ecosystem and the potential for the sphere in the near future?
Lars Seier Christensen: As also stated above, Ukrainian developers are recognised for their high quality.
I think the future looks very bright, both for contributing to international projects as well as building native projects of importance for both Ukraine and the world.