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16-07-2021 11:13

Finland’s startup boom breaks records

Last year, Finnish startups attracted a record-breaking amount of growth funding. Despite their small size, these early-stage growth companies play a large role in the economy.
Young web developers planning project.
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According to Ari Kaperi, early-stage scaleup companies are important to the economy. They can be anything from fast and agile disruptors and research and development pioneers to businesses that drive the application and commercialisation of innovations. At their best, they create highly successful products for export and contribute to society by paying taxes.

“Startups themselves play a big role, but many of them are able to further develop into promising scaleup companies in this scalable, digital world. They can also become important sources of employment and inspiring workplaces, attracting both homegrown and international talent.”

Economic growth comes from startups and scaleup companies in particular, which also create the majority of new jobs and products for export.

Ari Kaperi, Nordea’s Country Senior Executive for Finland.

Investments are growing but more growth companies are needed

Kaperi applauds the recent record-breaking increase in growth funding but wishes that the scale in Finland were much larger than it is now. 

“We need a lot more growing companies in addition to the traditional large corporates. Economic growth comes from startups and scaleup companies in particular, which also create the majority of new jobs and products for export. The growth potential and innovations of early-stage growth companies may be the key to our success in the future.”

Kaperi points out that Sweden has already fostered several generations of successful startups. 
“Some of these endeavours have found great success globally and have gone on to become unicorns – startup companies with a value of over 1 billion US dollars. The scale in Sweden is much bigger.”

In 2020, Finnish startups raised closed to a billion euros in growth funding – 951 million to be exact (compared with 505 million euros in 2019). Activity was low in the second quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the rest of the year was excellent.

According to European statistics on private equity activity, Finnish growth companies raised the most venture capital funding in Europe relative to GDP. And this year does not appear to be any different.

Nordea is a major corporate financier

Nordea helps early-stage growth companies by offering advice and arranging funding. Funding the growth of businesses in their early stages requires close collaboration, as they may struggle with collateral and an unpredictable cash flow. These businesses have a great need for capital, as well as additional funding rounds later on.

“We are able to channel our vast experience, expertise, market knowledge and networks into the relationships we have with corporate customers of all sizes. We can fund businesses ourselves or help them raise more capital from investors. Traditional bank financing comes in when a company has been able to create a positive cash flow and has a clear vision for developing its business,” says Ari Kaperi.

“Our Startup & Growth unit provides advice and makes arrangements for local and international investors to come in, if needed. This gives the investors an opportunity to get to know local businesses and find good companies to invest in.” 

Contact Startup & Growth

vesa.riihimaki [at] nordea.fi (Vesa Riihimäki), Head of Startup & Growth Finland 

mikkel.rorvig [at] nordea.com (Mikkel Rørvig), Head of Startup & Growth Denmark 

havard.lindtvedt [at] nordea.com (Håvard Lindtvedt), Head of Startup & Growth Norway 

oskar.kihlmark [at] nordea.se (Oskar Kihlmark), Head of Startup & Growth Sweden 

Business growth