As the year is coming to an end it’s the perfect time to stop and look back at the past year and everything that has been a part of it. The history books will probably tell tales of the dangers of lip balm in professional sports, countless news from the White House and the tweets that inspired them as well as the celebrations of 100-year-old Finland. However, the purpose of this blog post is to briefly discuss the venture capital investments made in Finland in the past year.
A natural baseline for this kind of comparison is last year. According to statistics by the Finnish Business Angels Network (FiBAN) and the Finnish Venture Capital Association (FVCA), the total amount of investments made in 2016 in Finnish early stage companies was 383 million euros. Of this amount, 216 million euros were venture capital investments made by foreign investors.
Based on publicly announced investments and Fondia’s own assignment base it would seem that the year 2017 has been more active than the previous. Asian investors, both corporate and financial venture capital investors, have made significant investments in Finnish start-ups this year as well. Investments have come from e.g. China, Japan and Thailand and the trend of the past few years is not showing signs of decline.
A few examples of this are MariaDB Corporation, which raised approx. 23 million euros in an investment round led by Alibaba, IndoorAtlas, which raised approx. 3.6 million euros from both domestic and foreign investors and MaaS Global, which raised approx. 14.2 million euros from inter alia Toyota and DENSO. Among venture capital companies, for instance Chinese Ascend Capital Partners has discovered Finnish early stage companies and invested 24 million euros in four Finnish start-ups in late 2017. Fondia has had the pleasure of being a part in making the aforementioned investments happen.
In my opinion, these statistics point towards at least two things: there has been growth in investments made in Finnish early stage companies compared to last year and Fondia has had a significant market share as a legal advisor in this market. Naturally, I would like to believe that both observations are correct.
I also asked directly from a foreign investor what made them invest in a Finnish start-up. “The Finnish start-up eco system is strong and we found Finland to have a deep pool of talent, particularly in Gaming, where we see global potential.” says Michael Cheung of Makers Fund, a Hong Kong based fund that recently completed its first investment in a Finnish start-up.
100-year-old Finland’s young companies would seem to have good chances to conquer the world - let’s hope the year 2018 brings with it many new investments and success stories.