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Finnish startups continue to make an impact

A company’s intention to generate a positive, measurably social and environmental impact alongside a financial return was paramount for its categorisation as an impact startup.

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A new report on the state of impact startups in Finland finds that such companies are growing in revenue and funding, but still lack gender-diverse teams.

Finnish online media Startup100 in its inaugural report ranked 318 companies whose intention is to generate a measurably positive social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. A company was classified as an impact startup by comparing its solution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and seeing whether it worked towards achieving these goals.

The companies selected represented a range of industries including cleantech, climatech, energy, new materials, consumer goods and marketplace, data and analytics, edtech, healthtech, medtech, foodtech and mobility. Healthtech was represented by the most companies (59), with cleantech at the other end of the scale with only four companies listed.

The top 10 impact startups included companies such as ICEYE, Swappie and Oura, which have together raised almost 900 million euros in funding. The amount of funding received by companies varied as much as the industries represented, with edtech attracting smaller sums and startups handling data and analytics conversely drawing more investment.

The space tech startup ICEYE landed around 74 million euros in funding in 2020. Image: ICEYE

Startups making a positive impact on the society or environment saw their revenue continuing to grow, increasing by 62 per cent from 2020 to 2021 – a figure comparable to that experienced by other local startups.

Whilst funding and revenue continued on an upward tick, this growth wasn’t reflected in employee numbers. Furthermore, the number of male-founded companies was 66 per cent of the total of new companies. Indeed, mixed-founder teams only accounted for 12 per cent of the startups.

The report was produced by Startup100 in conjunction with Wicked Helsinki, San Francisco Agency, Bay Area, Vainu, Crunchbase and Google.

By: James O’Sullivan