Rovio's $42M Investment In 2011 Actually Went To Its Owners

In early May, Rovio came out with their financial results for 2011. Today, the National Board of Patents and Registration Of Finland has received Rovio's official financial filing for the year 2011. One would expect that there is no news value in the filing since Rovio already came out with their results prior to this, but it shows a big discrepancy regarding the company's funding situation. In early March last year, the company announced it has raised a $42 million round from Accel Partners, Atomico Ventures as well as Felicis Ventures.

$42 million is about €32.85 million in today's exchange rate. This €30+ million is however missing from Rovio's financial statement for 2011, which begs an answer to the question:

Who did the money go to and why did Rovio feel the need to announce a funding round when it clearly wasn't one?

When a round of this size isn't visible in the books of the company, it must have gone to one or more of the owners of Rovio as the new investors came on board. Atomico Ventures and Accel Partners bought an equal size ownership in the company for the reported $42 million invested.

In March 2011, Niklas Zennström was quoted saying “this investment will give Rovio wings” in the press release regarding the investment.

This investment, or purchase of stock, has given the new owners each 10% of the company as can be seen in the ownership structure shown below (which dates back to February 2012):

Kaj Hed / Trema International Holdings BV 69,7%
Niklas Hed 4,3%
Peter Vesterbacka 3,1%
Mikael Hed 0,6%
Employees 1,3%
Accel Partners 10%
Atomico Invest 10%
Felicis Ventures 1%
Total 100%

The assumption one could easily make is that Kaj Hed, the owner of Trema International Holdings, has cashed in partially and sold 21% of his ownership in the company to Atomico Ventures, Accel Partners and Felicis Ventures. It is not yet known if only Kaj Hed sold his equity or if other previous owners took part in the sale as well.

According to the financials filed, Rovio raised only a little more than €700 000 in new equity for the firm in 2011.

It seems that the reason behind publishing the company's annual results proactively a couple of weeks earlier may be to hide the investment that never took place. The money is clearly somewhere else and not in Rovio's books.

We have reached out to Rovio for a comment on this, but at the time of this article being published - we have not yet heard back from them. We will update the story with Rovio's comment, if they do decide to get back to us on this.

Editor's note: We have written a follow-up article on this that talks about the larger cultural change that is needed: It's Ok For Founders To Cash In, But There Shouldn't Be Any Reason To Hide It.

Support ArcticStartup by helping us get the word out:

blog comments powered by Disqus