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Sept. 25, 2020

#184: Jyri Engeström, Co-Founder and General Partner at Yes VC, an Early-Stage Venture Capital Firm Based in San Francisco

#184: Jyri Engeström, Co-Founder and General Partner at Yes VC, an Early-Stage Venture Capital Firm Based in San Francisco

Jyri Engeström is the Co-Founder and General Partner at , an early-stage venture capital firm based in San Francisco. They invest in the pre-seed and seed stages of companies set in motion by social movements. In his previous role at True Ventures,...


Jyri Engeström is the Co-Founder and General Partner at Yes VC, an early-stage venture capital firm based in San Francisco. They invest in the pre-seed and seed stages of companies set in motion by social movements.

In his previous role at True Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, he invested in e.g. Iceye, building a constellation of radar satellites to track climate change. As an angel investor he's invested in Moves (acquired by Facebook), Applifier (acquired by Unity), Betabrand, Oura and others.

As an entrepreneur, he has founded, grown, and negotiated the acquisition of two mobile consumer companies: Jaiku, a mobile social network acquired by Google; and Ditto, a mobile local recommendations app acquired by Groupon.

As an executive, he has run product teams. At Google, he was the product manager responsible for the Gmail mobile app, Mobile Calendar, and Google's social networking efforts. At Groupon, he was Director of Product Management on the executive team that started and grew Groupon’s point-of-sale and payments businesses. He was the Head of Product at Boosted, an electric vehicle company that created the Boosted Board electric skateboard. At Nokia, he was Sr. Product Manager of Internet Handhelds.

He is also co-founder of Sesat School, a micro-school in San Francisco; and serve on the board of the Rare Cancer Research Foundation. He also co-owns a café in Helsinki. 

About Our Partners

This episode is brought to you by Hawke Media. Hawke Media is a full-service Outsourced CMO based in Santa Monica, CA, providing guidance, planning, and execution to grow brands of all sizes, industries, and business models.

Hawke Media was recognized by Inc. as the country's fastest-growing marketing consultancy and is proudly one of Glassdoor's "Best Places to Work"​, 2019 #893 on the Forbes 5000 list, UpCity Top Los Angeles Digital Marketing Agency. Hawke’s collaborative process, à la carte offering, and month-to-month fee structure give clients the flexibility they need to boost digital revenues and marketing ROI.

Hawke Media The company has serviced over 1500 brands of all sizes, ranging from startups like Tamara Mellon, SiO Beauty and Bottlekeeper to household names like Red Bull, Verizon Wireless and Alibaba.

Listen to our interview with Erik Huberman, Founder and CEO of Hawke Media, in episode 23 of the Just Go Grind Podcast.

This episode is also brought to you by Toptal. Toptal is an exclusive network of the top freelance software developers, designers, finance experts, product managers, and project managers in the world. Top companies hire Toptal freelancers for their most important projects.

Connect with Jyri Engeström

Some of the Topics Covered by Jyri in this Episode

  • How Jyri decided to start Yes VC in 2018 with his life partner, Caterina Fake
  • Why Yes VC is focused on social movements
  • Making 20 investments and the $13M Fund he ended up raising
  • The check size of Yes VC of $250K - $1.5M w/ the smallest bet of $30K
  • How Jyri is managing his deal flow for Yes VC and what's happening in the early-stage venture capital world
  • "Mango Seed" rounds of funding as a trend in VC
  • The $6M fund of Rahul Vohra and $6.7M fund of Chris Sacca
  • The dynamic of smaller funds and who they invest in
  • Why 3 of 5 investments of Yes VC were invested at the moment of founding
  • Finding potential founders before they even start companies and why Yes VC seeds ideas in smart people
  • COVID in the town of Bolinas and they offered testing for ALL the residents
  • The diligence process at Yes VC and why they focus on founder-product fit
  • How many deals Jyri is looking at and what entrepreneurs need to understand about venture capitalists
  • Why 50% of their investments are from their founder network or early angel investors looking for early-stage funds to lead the round
  • "The obligatory point of passage"
  • Why Jyri believes the best founders now are building portfolios
  • Jyri's experience starting and selling Jaiku to Google
  • Selling his second company, Ditto, to Groupon

Links from the Episode