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Opinion

Meeting face-to-face closes the deal

This week Emmi Kaipio takes a look at the importance of face-to-face encounters between startups and investors when making investment decisions.

Despite the world digitalising more and more, and most communications being handled via digital channels irrespective of distances, the popularity of capital investment events is ever growing. A face-to-face encounter continues to be one of the prerequisites for an investment decision; as the investor often commits to working together with the company, personal chemistry matters.

For Finnish startups and growth companies, this often means having to spend scarce resources on travelling around the world pursuing investor contacts.

In Finland, there are various globally significant capital investment events every year. Their goal is to introduce potential investment targets to investors and facilitate face-to-face meetings to create deals. For example, Cleantech Venture Day has been organised since 2006, and it has established itself as the biggest meeting place for cleantech sector in northern Europe.

Finnish expertise in cleantech is in the top league globally, and the event attracts dozens of international investors to Finland. This is of irreplaceable assistance to Finnish companies, as investors arrive here just to hear what Nordic companies are developing. I’ve also been thrilled to notice that the presentation skills of Finnish companies have vastly improved in recent years, and I believe this is at least partially due to the growing popularity of investment events and the toughening of international competition.

In a digitalising world, complementing networks with digital tools is crucial. Around Cleantech Venture Day, we’ve built a digital network known as Nordic Innovation Accelerator, which helps companies present their expertise and innovations to multinational companies and investors all year round. Together, the event and the network saves time and energy: companies gain access to investors who would otherwise be difficult to reach, and we’ve already cherry-picked the most interesting companies who get on stage for investors to see.

However, I still believe that the significance of meeting in person will remain, regardless of digitalisation. A genuine encounter between two people can’t be digitalised.

Published on 08.06.2017