About us


Open Ocean Capital is operated by Patrik Backman, Ralf Wahlsten and Tom Henriksson as full time Partners, and with Michael 'Monty' Widenius as the Technology, Community and Open Source Wizard. Berndt Karsten and Peter Buch Lund strengthen our team when making strategy, governance, and investment decisions.

Open Ocean consists of persons with complementary experience and skills, each having demonstrated strong leadership in their respective fields. Our philosophy is to have a team that together stands ready to support the entrepreneur actively and hands-on in all the critical areas required, so that the start-up is better prepared to build a scalable global business.

Patrik Backman, Managing Partner

Patrik represents a strong combination of technical, community and business leadership. In Technology, Patrik has led a large part of MySQL AB's global engineering team to produce superior software products and has managed the company’s strategic technical alliance with SAP AG. At MySQL AB he also helped build new and expand existing user communities, and developed innovative community-based business models to drive new revenue to the company. In Business, Patrik has worked in Management Consulting and within the MySQL Management Team to solve complex business challenges to drive strong growth in international operations.

Patrik holds a Masters of Science in Engineering from Helsinki University of Technology and a Master of Science in Finance from Hanken School of Economics.

patrik (at) openoceancapital.com

Ralf Wahlsten, Partner

Ralf has two decades of international experience in Management and Start-Up Consulting.

Since 1999, Ralf has been actively helping entrepreneurs as a business angel with company start-up processes, collaboration with international investors, providing guidance on strategic due diligence, management assessments, and planning for exits. Ralf carried a key role in assisting the MySQL AB founders develop the first business plan, strengthening the Board, hiring of the CEO (Mårten Mickos), and structuring the first Financing Rounds. Ralf remained an active advisor to the MySQL Founders and the MySQL leadership until the exit to Sun Microsystems.

In Management Consulting, Ralf has broad experience in areas like Corporate and Business Strategy Development, Business process reengineering and Marketing Strategy from top consulting firms like AT Kearney, Booz-Allen and Indevo. Ralf has industry experience across multiple areas from IT and telecom to manufacturing and industrial services.

Ralf holds a Master of Science in Engineering from Helsinki University of Technology.

ralf (at) openoceancapital.com

Tom Henriksson, Partner

Tom joined Open Ocean Capital from Nokia Corporation, where he spent almost 9 years in various leadership roles developing and investing in new businesses. In his last role as Head of Corporate Business Development his teams identified and executed multiple new businesses for Nokia. From 2006 – 2009 Tom built Nokia Interactive Advertising as the General Manager to the world leader in premium mobile advertising. Previously he managed business development and early stage investments for Nokia Ventures Organization. Prior to Nokia, Tom was Managing Partner of Holtron Ventures, one of the A round investors into MySQL AB, delivering industry leading returns for the fund.

Tom has MBA and BBA degrees from the Helsinki School of Economics, complemented with foreign studies and executive education at the University of Texas at Austin, MIT and University of Chicago.

tom (at) openoceancapital.com

Michael "Monty" Widenius, Technology, Community and Open Source Wizard

Monty is the original developer of the MySQL database and main founder of MySQL AB. The original MySQL database was developed by Monty between 1981 – 1995, whereafter the MySQL AB company was founded around the product. The MySQL database was released as Open Source and quickly became the standard database for Web development. In year 2000 MySQL was the most popular open source database in the world, with millions of active users. The business and operations grew rapidly, and in 2008 MySQL AB with about 500 employees was sold to Sun Microsystems for $ 1 Billion.

In addition to his role in Open Ocean, Monty is CEO of Monty Program Ab, a company dedicated to the future open source development of the MySQL code under the MariaDB name.

Riku Seppälä, Associate

Riku joined Open Ocean from the big data startup Hopper Travel in Montreal. Prior to Hopper, Riku co-founded two startups, Canvious and NHybrid and helped startups at Montreal-based accelerator Bolidea. Riku earned his Master's degree in Industrial Engineering and Software Engineering at Aalto University. As a student Riku co-founded Aalto Entrepreneurship Society (Aaltoes), studied one year in Fudan University in Shanghai and worked for Google in Dublin. Riku likes to hit the gym every morning, hit the local jumps on his snowboard in the evenings and try out new technologies on the weekends. Follow on twitter at @rikutter.

Berndt Karsten, Member of Board of Directors

Berndt has decades of international experience and insight from consulting roles in Corporate and Business Strategy Development, General Business Development, Corporate restructuring and organization, Mergers and Acquisitions, Post merger integration, Management and Human Resource Development. His industry experience includes Pulp and Paper, Steel, Chemicals, Textiles, Utilities, Mechanical engineering, Industrial Equipment and Supply, and Industrial Services. Berndt has among others held roles as VP and Practice Leader, as well as Country Manager at AT Kearney, Partner and Managing Director at Indevo, and Partner at Sirius Consulting.

Berndt’s experience also includes advising entrepreneurs in company start-up processes and collaboration with national and international Private Equity investors on topics ranging from strategic due diligence to management assessment and exit planning. He has acted as coach and personal advisor to board members and senior executives, and has personally held various executive line management and board membership positions.

Berndt holds a M.Sc. Eng. degree from Helsinki University of Technology


Peter Buch Lund, Member of Board of Directors

Peter is a highly experienced venture capitalist with 17 years as Senior Partner for Capman Oyj. Before Capman he held various executive leadership positions in multiple industrial companies.