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Finns shine bright in Forbes’ 30 Under 30

Marianne Vikkula’s was once also the president of Slush, the biggest startup event in the Nordics.


Five Finnish people have been recognised in Forbes' annual listing of young European entrepreneurs, leaders and stars who have made an impact in the past 12 months.

The Finnish quintet in the 30 Under 30 Europe listing represented the categories of finance, manufacturing and industry, social impact, and alumni.

They included Pauliina Martikainen, a seed investor for Mäki VC, the 190-million-US dollar venture capital firm where she is a partner. Martikainen has invested in everything from mobile applications and packaged goods to science-based software as a service, health, food and sustainable fashion.

Henrik Helenius and Johannes Salmisaari are with Droppe seeking to bring the industrial community into the digital era.


The inclusion of Droppe’s co-founders – Henrik Helenius and Johannes Salmisaari – followed the news of the Helsinki-based company’s 2.4-million-euro seed round last year. The duo’s B2B marketplace connects European industrial buyers with European manufacturers of industrial supplies. The solution allows buyers to unlock wholesale prices and shorten the supply chain, curbing industrial waste, packaging and logistics.

Sonja Salo, the co-founder and COO of smart energy startup Kapacity.io, was also recognised by Forbes. Kapacity is transforming the way buildings utilise energy by reducing energy costs by 25 per cent and CO2 emissions by 15 per cent with existing infrastructure and is backed by 1.9 million US dollars in funding. 

Pauliina Martikainen became a partner at Mäki VC in 2022.

Mäki VC

Finally, Marianne Vikkula was named an all-star alumni in this year’s 30 Under 30. Originally the vice president of delivery platform Wolt, Vikkula is now the vice president of new markets at DoorDash. Wolt was acquired by the food ordering and delivery giant in 2021, in a deal that valued the company at 8.1 billion US dollars.

Despite the proportion of women among the Finns listed, Forbes emphasised that gender parity across the EU bloc is still lacking. Indeed, only 11 per cent of founders in the EU are women ­– compared to 23 per cent in the US and 20 per cent in the UK. Furthermore, the amount of funding going to European women founders has decreased over the past five years.

Last year saw four people from Finland recognised by Forbes.

By: James O’Sullivan