The Skype Mafia

July 21, 2023
Tech Mafias

Company "mafias" are all the rage, and we here at PIN love to dig deep into the most influential 'Tech Mafias,' especially since we're huge on democratizing access to startup investing by supporting communities with all the legal and bureaucratic work when it comes to setting up a community investment club.

This week we bring you the OG video call and messaging service - the Skype Mafia! Some quick stats:

Total number of companies founded: 119
Total capital raised: $6B

Some massive names have come out of the Skype Mafia, like Wise, which was started by former Director of Strategy at Skype. Wise IPO'd in July 2021 at a valuation of $11 billion.

Below we cover the top 32 most influential companies and founders from the Skype Mafia.

If you missed our previous posts, make sure to check the Twitter Mafia, Lyft Mafia, Stripe Mafia, Netflix Mafia, InstaCart Mafia, Dropbox Mafia, Revolut Mafia,Tesla Mafia,Square Mafia, Reddit Mafia, VMware Mafia, Amazon Mafia, SpaceX, Slack Mafia, OpenAI,Google Mafia, Pinterest Mafia, Shopify Mafia, Coinbase Mafia and Instagram Mafia articles. Investing in fellow coworkers' startups, especially as a community or alumni group, is one of the best ways to get in early on deals as well as support the ideas and ventures of people you love and admire. Who knows what's around the corner in your own network and community!

Companies covered:

  • Wise
  • Starship Technologies
  • Tripledot Studios
  • Symphony Communication Services
  • Bolt
  • Oriente
  • LimeRoad
  • Wire
  • Orderin
  • Workato
  • Crunchyroll
  • Mixmax
  • Ernesto
  • Hemlane
  • Job Today
  • SpotOn
  • Pripedrive
  • STEM
  • Space Ape
  • Saltside Technologies
  • NFTPort
  • hlpy
  • TaxScouts
  • Zinc
  • Mozio
  • Outfunnel
  • Boticca
  • Zenbase
  • Salv
  • Grünfin
  • Teamtailor
  • Enstack


Founder: Taavet Hinrikus
Skype Role: Director of Strategy
Capital Raised: $1.7B
Investors: Lead Edge Capital
Stage: Public

Wise is a global technology company that was founded in 2011. It offers a variety of services that make it easier and cheaper to move money around the world, including cross-border payments, currency exchange, international bank accounts, and multi-currency debit cards.

Starship Technologies

Founder: Ahti Heinla
Skype Role: Chief Technical Architect
Capital Raised: $197.7M
Investors: Morpheus Ventures
Stage: Series B

Starship Technologies, founded by Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis in 2014, is revolutionizing the last mile delivery industry with its self-driving local delivery robots. With headquarters in San Francisco and a main engineering office in Estonia, Starship's robots are making thousands of deliveries per day in towns, cities, and campuses worldwide.

Tripledot Studios

Founder: Akin Babayigit
Skype Role: Corporate Strategy Manager
Capital Raised: $252M
Investors: Lightspeed Venture Partners
Stage: Series B

Tripledot is a fast-growing games studio with offices in London, Barcelona, Warsaw, and Jakarta. Founded by industry veterans from King, Facebook, and Product Madness, Tripledot's mission is to create high-quality casual games accessible to everyone. They believe in creating amazing games through amazing teams, and aim to build the "Apollo Programme" of mobile games.

Symphony Communication Services

Founder: David Gurle
Skype Role: General Manager Skype for Business
Capital Raised: $511M
Investors: JP Morgan
Stage: Series E

Symphony is a technology platform that provides secure and compliant solutions for financial services workflows. Its community of over half a million professionals from 1300+ market participants use omnichannel interactions across chat, voice, web, meetings and more. Symphony powers over 2,000 community-built applications and bots.


Founder: Martin Villig
Skype Role: Software Development Manager
Capital Raised: $2B
Investors: Sequoia Capital
Stage: Series F

Bolt is a transportation platform that aims to eliminate the need for personal cars. They provide on-demand transport options like cars, scooters, and e-bikes, empowering users to choose the best vehicle for each trip. Bolt operates in over 500 cities worldwide, serving more than 100 million customers and supporting over three million drivers. They have ambitious plans for growth and expansion.


Founder: Geoffrey Prentice
Skype Role: Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder
Capital Raised: $175M
Investors: BlackPine
Stage: Series B

Established in 2017 by the co-founders of Skype & LU, Oriente is an innovative technology and data-science company committed to igniting opportunities for underserved communities in emerging Asia. Oriente's fintech solutions leverage AI, machine learning, and big-data analytics to provide tailored financial solutions to millions of underserved consumers and MSMEs in emerging markets.


Founder: Suchi Mukherjee
Skype Role: Director & Member of Executive Management Team, Skype (an eBay Inc Company) 
Capital Raised: $51.9M
Investors: Tiger Global
Stage: Series C

LimeRoad believes in the transformative power of individuals in shaping the future of Indian lifestyle retail. They aspire to empower niche sellers, housewives, students, and design graduates to create content, rate products, and identify sellers while creating a million entrepreneurs.


Founder: Jonathan Christensen, Priidu Zilmer
Skype Role: Vice President Emerging Opportunities, Head of Design
Capital Raised: $60.1M
Investors: Morpheus Ventures
Stage: Series C

Wire provides highly secure communication solutions for the world's most demanding organizations, including most of the G7 Governments. Their platform offers the highest security standard for messaging, conferencing, file exchange, and more. It features an easy-to-use interface, enterprise-grade user management, data sovereignty, and is available on multiple devices and deployment options.


Founder: Heini Booysen
Skype Role: Strategy and Operations
Capital Raised: $25.9M
Investors: Morpheus Ventures
Stage: Series B

Orderin is a rapidly expanding on-demand delivery service in South Africa. As one of the country's leading providers, they are seeking to build the best delivery service possible, offering employees the chance to make a huge impact.


Founder: Alexey Timanovsky, Vijay Tella
Skype Role: Principal Software Engineer, VP
Capital Raised: $415M
Investors: Tiger Global
Stage: Series E

Workato, an enterprise automation platform, empowers business and IT teams to quickly integrate their apps and automate workflows with strong security and governance. It harnesses Machine Learning and proprietary technology to deliver real-time outcomes from business events, without coding.


Founder: Vince Shortino
Skype Role: Founder Skype Japan
Capital Raised: $26.8M
Investors: Venrock
Stage: Series A

Crunchyroll offers a global platform connecting anime and manga fans with the content they love. With free ad-supported and subscription premium content, users can access one of the largest licensed anime collections, translated into multiple languages for worldwide viewers. Additionally, Crunchyroll serves the anime community through events, games, consumer products, collectibles, and manga publishing.


Founder: Olof Mathé
Skype Role: Product Manager
Capital Raised: $13.4M
Investors: Ram Shriram
Stage: Series A

Mixmax is a sales engagement platform that helps boost revenue for teams throughout the customer journey. By automating repetitive tasks and streamlining workflows, Mixmax makes life easier for everyone who interacts with customers.


Founder: Yony Feng
Skype Role: Software Engineer
Capital Raised: $25M
Investors: True Ventures
Stage: Series A

Ernesta offers design-focused custom rugs at an affordable price. Ernesta's custom-cut rugs are priced the same as standard-sized store-bought rugs, providing a better fit and a better buying experience.


Founder: Dana Dunford
Skype Role: WW Data Analyst
Capital Raised: $12M
Investors: Sam Hodges
Stage: Series A

Hemlane is an innovative platform that simplifies the rental management process, providing rental owners and managers with an intelligent online platform to manage their properties. Hemlane streamlines and automates every aspect of rental management, allowing remote rental owners to connect with local agents and managers for added support.

Job Today

Founder: Eugene Mizin
Skype Role: Senior Product Manager
Capital Raised: $46M
Investors: Accel Partners
Stage: Series B

Job Today is a mobile app that aims to connect job seekers with employers in the hospitality, retail, and service industries. Their platform enables small businesses to quickly and easily find and hire the right candidates, while also providing job seekers with access to a large pool of job opportunities.


Founder: Stephane H. Maes
Skype Role: Board of Advisors
Capital Raised: $918M
Investors: Andreessen Horowitz
Stage: Series F

SpotOn develops software and payment technology for business owners who want to manage their operations on their own terms.


Founder: Martin Tajur
Skype Role: Senior Web Front-end Developer
Capital Raised: $90.2M
Investors: Bessemer Venture Partners
Stage: Series C

Pipedrive is a sales CRM software company that offers a cloud-based platform for managing customer relationships. Its flagship product, also called Pipedrive, is available on both web and mobile platforms. With over 1,000 employees across eight European offices and two US offices, Pipedrive provides intelligent revenue management and CRM tools to small businesses globally.


Founder: Saul Klein
Skype Role: VP
Capital Raised: 45.5M
Investors: Collaborative Fund
Stage: Series B

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology aims to position the UK as a leader in global scientific and technological progress, with a focus on promoting stronger economic growth, better job opportunities, and groundbreaking discoveries.

Space Ape

Founder: Simon Hade
Skype Role: Product Manager
Capital Raised: $108M
Investors: Accel Partners
Stage: Series C

Space Ape is a mobile game development company based in London, UK. Founded in 2012, it has over 110 employees from 28 different nationalities. The company's mission is to create high-quality and successful mobile games, and it has already launched four games: Samurai Siege, Rival Kingdoms, Transformers: Earth Wars, and Fastlane, with over 45 million players.

Saltside Technologies

Founder: Nils Hammar
Skype Role: Marketing & BD
Capital Raised: $65M
Investors: Pete Flint
Stage: Series B

Saltside Technologies is a company that develops and operates websites for online classifieds in emerging markets, such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Ghana.


Founder: Rain Johanson, Sten Tamkivi, Taivo Pungas
Skype Role: Senior Engineering Manager, General Manager, Data Scientist
Capital Raised: $26M
Investors: Atomico
Stage: Series A

NFTPort is a platform that aims to simplify the process of creating and launching NFT applications. It provides developers with a set of easy-to-use APIs and infrastructure that allows them to quickly bring their NFT applications to the market.


Founder: Enrico Noseda
Skype Role: Head of EMEA Market Development
Capital Raised: $10M
Investors: Synergo Capital
Stage: Series A

hlpy is a B2B2C startup that offers fully digital roadside assistance services in Italy. The company has an "insurance first" distribution strategy and aims to increase its market share with a cost-effective and innovative proposition. As the first fully digital roadside assistance company in Italy, hlpy is bringing a new level of convenience and efficiency to the industry.


Founder: Mart Abramov
Skype Role: Product Manager - Skype for Business, services
Capital Raised: $11.7M
Investors: Speedinvest
Stage: Series A

TaxScouts is a tax preparation startup that aims to simplify the tax process for Europeans. The company was founded in 2017 by employees and alumni of Europe's leading startups and has since expanded to the UK and Spain.

Rising Stars


Founder: Saul Klein
Skype Role: VP
Capital Raised: $3.7M
Investors: Michael Norton
Stage: Seed

Zinc is a social innovation company that aims to address unmet needs in the developed world by empowering talented individuals to become entrepreneurs, researchers, and intrapreneurs. They focus on specific missions that tackle societal problems with a target market of at least 100 million people.


Founder: David Litwak
Skype Role: Project Manager and Analyst
Capital Raised: $3.4M
Investors: Techstars
Stage: Seed

The Mozio Group is developing an all-encompassing mobility software suite by partnering with local ground transportation services like shared-ride shuttles, taxis, express trains, ferries, and helicopters. They offer a single API, white-label solution or widget to Online Travel Agencies, Airlines, Hotels and Car Rental agencies.


Founder: Andrus Purde
Skype Role: Product Marketing Manager
Capital Raised: $2.3M
Investors: SquareOne
Stage: Pre-Seed

Outfunnel simplifies sales and marketing tool integrations by syncing customer data across platforms and recording marketing engagement in CRM.


Founder: Avid Larizadeh Duggan
Skype Role: Product Management
Capital Raised: $6.5M
Investors: Isai
Stage: Series A

Boticca is an online marketplace that offers unique jewelry, handbags, and fashion accessories from emerging designers and undiscovered brands worldwide. It provides a curated selection of products and was recognized as the "global online jewellery and accessories boutique" by The Times, placing third on the Top 50 Fashion & Beauty Websites list.


Founder: Koray Can Oztekin
Skype Role: Senior Program Manager
Capital Raised: $4.1M
Investors: Global Founders Capital
Stage: Seed

Zenbase is a Canadian financial health solution that offers flexible rent payments to improve renters' financial wellness and property managers' operational efficiency. The platform aims to foster financial empowerment and eliminate late fees and predatory financing.


Founder: Jeff McClelland, Taavi Tamkivi
Skype Role: Fraud Analysis Team Lead, Revenue Assurance and Fraud Data Science Lead
Capital Raised: $8.2M
Investors: Passion Capital
Stage: Seed

Salv is a real-time financial crime-fighting network enabling information sharing across sectors and borders. Compliance teams use Salv to fight crime more effectively and navigate regulatory complexities, reducing the risk of non-compliance and improving operational performance.


Founder: Triin Hertmann
Skype Role: Finance Reporting Manager
Capital Raised: $4.4M 
Investors: Specialist VC
Stage: Seed

Grünfin is a sustainable investing platform for those who prioritize their impact on the planet. Founded by Triin and Karin, the platform aims to tackle the climate crisis, health challenges, and inequality through sustainable investing.


Founder: Erik Andersson
Skype Role: Business Development
Capital Raised: $16.5M
Investors: Sprints
Stage: Seed

Teamtailor is an all-in-one recruitment software platform that makes hiring easy. The platform helps you manage job applications and promote your company as an attractive employer, all in an easy-to-use web service.


Founder: Geoffrey Prentice
Skype Role: Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder
Capital Raised: $3M
Investors: Mangrove Capital Partners 
Stage: Series A

Enstack is an SME super app that provides entrepreneurs with the ability to start, run and grow their business from their mobile phones. With Enstack, entrepreneurs can manage their operations from anywhere, with ease. The platform was founded by Geoffrey Prentice, a co-founder of Skype, and is free and user-friendly.

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