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Five From Finland

2022’s biggest investment rounds

With some remarkable and even record-setting funding rounds closed, 2022 was a big year for Finnish companies.

Credits: : Julia Helminen

In the record-breaking year of 2022, many innovative Finnish companies reached new heights and closed remarkable funding rounds.

2022 was yet another banner year for Finnish startups, according to the Finnish Venture Capital Association (FVCA). Although the final numbers for 2022 are yet to be published, Finnish startups were reported to have surpassed 2021’s full-year total already in November, after raising over 1.3 billion euros in capital.

“Even though [2022] has been turbulent in world politics, our startups have been attracting growth capital,” commented Pia Santavirta, the managing director of FVCA at the time. “Albeit it remains to be seen what future brings, right now the situation looks good.”

Below is a wrap-up of the most significant investment rounds for Finnish companies from 2022.

RELEX Solutions – EUR 500 million

After raising 500 million euros last February, RELEX Solutions is now valued at five billion euros.

RELEX

In early 2022, the Helsinki-headquartered provider of unified retail planning solutions secured 500 million euros in what was reported to be the largest funding round ever by a Finnish growth company. The round was led by Blackstone Growth (BXG), Blackstone’s growth equity business.

RELEX said it will use the funding to add hundreds more developers to its technical team of over 400 to pursue further growth. With offices in the US, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong, RELEX employs 1 300 people and has a customer base of over 350 businesses.

“With the support of Blackstone’s capital, expertise and global network, we look forward to seeing RELEX cement its position as a market leader and continue to expand the number of products they can offer their customers,” commented Paul Morrissey, senior managing director who leads Blackstone Growth in Europe.

Aiven – USD 210 million

Aiven was described by investors as “a prime showcase of a European-born champion on a trajectory of global category leadership.”

Aiven

Last year, the Helsinki-headquartered provider of open-source data technologies on all major cloud platforms raised 210 million US dollars in funding, topping a three billion-US dollar valuation. The series-D round was spearheaded by Eurazeo SE with participation from BlackRock Inc and existing investors.

According to Aiven, it will use the funds to embark on an intensive recruitment campaign aimed at doubling its headcount. Furthermore, Aiven will continue its international expansion, notably in the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions, as well as launch a global sustainability programme intended to enable collective action within its community and encourage customers to build more sustainable applications.

“Aiven’s mission is to make developers’ lives better, to help them build better applications,” said Oskari Saarenmaa, CEO and co-founder of Aiven. “Further investing in supporting open, community-driven development of software and sustainable use of cloud services is a natural extension of what we value and have always wanted to achieve with Aiven.”

ICEYE – USD 136 million

Owning the world’s largest SAR constellation, ICEYE provides global customers with imagery and data needed for objective, data-driven decisions.

Facebook / ICEYE

Space tech startup ICEYE last February took its total funding to 304 million US dollars by closing a 136 million-US dollar round led by long-standing investor Seraphim Space, with BAE Systems and Kajima Ventures joining as new strategic investors.

ICEYE, which owns and operates the world’s largest constellation of synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellites, announced it will use the cash infusion to expand its manufacturing capacity and ramp up its launch tempo. Moreover, the company will expand its offering of natural catastrophe monitoring solutions.

“As the world’s leading specialist investor focused on the new space ecosystem, we have identified ICEYE as one of the sector’s brightest stars,” noted James Bruegger, chief investment officer of Seraphim Space. “We anticipate that its global-scale persistent monitoring of the planet will have a major impact in helping address some of our most pressing challenges.”

IQM – EUR 128 million

IQM is building superconducting quantum computers for HPC centres, research institutes and businesses across the European continent, including Finland’s first commercial 54-qubit quantum computer.

IQM

Expanding international business and accelerating product development to tackle the global climate crisis were identified as the key areas toward which deep tech startup IQM was planning to devote the 128 million euros it raised last summer.

The funding round, led by World Fund, turned out to be the largest ever by a European quantum computing company. In addition to new investors, the round attracted existing investors, including Maki.vc and Finnish Industry Investment (Tesi).

“This funding underscores the importance of our mission: building quantum computers for the wellbeing of humankind”, underlined Jan Goetz, CEO and co-founder of IQM. “It also demonstrates the confidence in our business model and the continued trust in our team's ability to build the future of quantum technologies.”

In an earlier interview with Good News from Finland, Goetz forecast that quantum computers will soon impact everyone’s lives, helping to solve the hardest problems in society. Read the full interview here.

Swappie – EUR 108 million

On a mission to drive circularity, Swappie wants to make buying a refurbished smartphone as common as buying a used car.

Facebook / Swappie

Since its foundation in 2016, Swappie has been focusing on making a positive social and environmental impact by providing consumers with a sustainable alternative to buying a new smartphone. Swappie refurbishes and resells used iPhones, taking care of the entire process and controlling the whole value chain, which distinguishes the company from other players in the market.

Last February, Swappie received 108 million euros in series-C funding from the likes of Verdano, Lifeline Ventures and Inventure. The company planned to use the funding to accelerate its European expansion by hiring 1 000 new employees and scaling operations in its existing 15 markets across the continent.

“As people and companies progressively move towards a more sustainable lifestyle, the iPhone refurbishment and re-commerce space has grown considerably, and with it Swappie, which has demonstrated the potential to become Europe’s market leader in refurbished smartphones,” said Janne Holmia, partner at Verdane.

By: Zhanna Koiviola
16.01.2023