Estonian SaaS platform KOOS enables businesses to grow with their community, turning stakeholders into co-owners. The startup has just scored $4 million in a seed funding round. This round follows the pre-seed round of $600k it raised from high-profile Estonian founders.
Investment from Wise co-founder
The seed round was led by high-profile investors at Wise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus’ Plural Platform that raised €250 million to support next-gen founders alongside participation from investors, including LocalGlobe (that invested in Ark Kapital and Residently), Tiny.vc, and Matt Clifford.
With this investment, KOOS now plans to launch and build its presence in the UK and across Europe. Plural’s investment comes with advisory support from Estonian founders and Plural Platform’s partners, Taavet Hinrikus and Sten Tamkivi will join KOOS as advisors.
Kotka, who led the Estonian government’s world-leading policies around digital democracy and e-government for four years, explained: “At KOOS we believe technologies can be used to help build a more equitable society. To be successful you need to deliver great value to all your stakeholders and we have come up with a digital tool that allows businesses to engage and reward their community, widening the circle of people who have access to equity-like incentives which in turn increases the pool of people who will advocate for the business and want it to succeed.”
Sten Tamkivi, adviser and Plural Platform co-founder, said: “Plural wants to invest to help create a more equal society. We believe that broader community ownership leads to more meritocratic systems so that wealth can be distributed based on actual contributions. KOOS has come up with a way to track the support of all stakeholders in a community or business, without having to give away equity. We anticipate that the platform KOOS is building will become an essential building block of many startups, funds and communities including charities and NGOs.”
Ziv Reichert, partner, LocalGlobe, said: “KOOS is spearheading the democratisation of community-led growth by allowing all stakeholders – users, partners, suppliers – of a given business to have the potential to earn their slice of the pie. KOOS enables businesses to easily align their key objectives with community incentives, turning stakeholders into shareholders. To us, this future is inevitable and the winners of the next decade will be those organisations that put their communities at the core of how they operate and grow. With genuinely world-class talent in the team, we are excited to see KOOS powering this shift.”
KOOS customer Toomas Loik, CEO of FleetGuru, said: “Greatness is never built alone. It is built by dedicated talented people and this dedication should never go unrewarded. KOOS has created a new way for companies to build a fairer world and acknowledge people who contribute to your success. We at FleetGuru are beyond excited for having this new option and will use the hell out of it.”
Brainchild of serial entrepreneur and unicorn investor
Taavi Kotka, a serial entrepreneur, an angel investor in a number of unicorns, and the first CIO (Chief Information Officer) for the Government of Estonia, founded KOOS in 2021. By leveraging KOOS’ equity-like growth programmes without giving away a single share, a company gives their community a reason to advocate for them with fairer rewards, which are paid out only when the company meets the predefined business goal. This makes KOOS programmes ROI-positive by design for the company running them and drives the stakeholder economy by rewarding equitably those who contributed to the corporate success.
Since its debut, 27 early adopter-paying customers are running 35 programmes, including startups, NGOs, SMEs, and larger corporations. KOOS’ Saas pricing model includes an onboarding fee, a monthly retainer, and 1% of all rewards (tokens) created by the programmes on its platform.