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Finnish startups raise record amount of funding

There’s hope on the horizon for the Finnish startup scene. Pictured are Pia Santavirta, managing director of the FVCA (right) and Sami Lampinen, FVCA’s chairman of the board.FVCA

Startups and growth companies in Finland attracted 707 million euros in funding in the first half of 2020, including a record-high 244 million euros in venture capital investments, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Finland has remained an attractive destination for investments, pulling in top dollar amid the pandemic, according to the Finnish Venture Capital Association (FVCA). Venture capital investments hit an all-time record for a half-year period of 244 million euros, of which 59 per cent came from international investors. Buyout investments brought in 463 million euros, led by B2B product and service providers.

The half-year investment statistics surprised us positively,” commented Pia Santavirta, managing director of the FVCA. “The activity in the second half of 2020 also looks lively.” 

Highlights from the first half of 2020 include Wolt, which raised 100 million euros; Aiven, which pulled in 36 million euros to strengthen its North American operations; and Swappie, which secured 35.8 million euros in June. Despite the ecosystem’s successes in past years and quick response to the pandemic, it’s not out of the woods yet.

“[I]n many of these funding rounds, negotiations had started before the coronavirus crisis,” Santavirta noted. “The real impact of the pandemic on growth financing will not be seen until next year.”

The first half of 2020 is in good stride to hit top numbers at year’s end. Image: FVCA

Meanwhile, Finnish private equity funds raised a total of 329 million euros from fund investors, and the scene saw the founding of the first Nordic edtech venture capital fund, Sparkmind.vc, and Nordic FoodTech VC, a fund investing in the future of food. According to the FVCA, companies that are backed by Finnish private equity investors outperform their peers in turnover growth by a factor of nine and grow their personnel at a fivefold rate.

“Private equity investors are growth-focused owners who want to invest time and capital in companies, even in exceptional circumstances,” told Jussi Seppälä, vice chairperson of the board of FVCA. “Now is not the time to put companies’ development plans on ice but to invest in digitalisation and new business opportunities where possible. This will generate new growth and jobs, creating overall wellbeing in our society.

By: Samuli Ojala