Dealroom Talks: the new data-driven trade & investment

A global pandemic made the foreign direct investment (FDI) game even more challenging and demanded creative approaches to find the best opportunities. With the resurgence of in-person events around the world, how have trade and investment (T&I) orgs changed their approach?

In our latest Dealroom Talk, we chatted with Olivier H. Rivas (Montreal International), Pedro Teixeira (Startup Lisboa) and Meagan Blanton (Invest Alberta) to discuss the role data plays in their work and the FDI landscape.

The current FDI environment

It’s not an easy task to attract the best and brightest to your region, and the stakes are high. From opportunity identification to prospecting, to attracting world-leading companies, investors and talent, data matters. There are many variables at play when balancing the two missions of attracting foreign companies and investment, while also maintaining the right business environment in your domestic ecosystem. There’s also an overwhelming amount of economic indicators and policy data to consider, and honing in on the right focus areas to grow prosperity in your region can be complex.

Why hunt for high-growth companies?

Scaleups create huge economic prosperity for a region. They are the core generators of economic value in a startup ecosystem, and they employ the largest number of people by orders of magnitude. It’s this economic power that makes attracting scaling companies to our regions so important.

Recently, we met up with Nordic Innovation at TechBBQ in Copenhagen to talk Nordic scaleup hunting and found that of the 30,000+ startups active in the Nordics currently, only 5,200 employed more than 10 people. If we then consider the Top 1,000 scaleups within that population, we see an exciting and surprising trend unfolding, which is that the Top 1,000 Nordic scaleups generate 71% of the total enterprise value of the entire Nordic startup ecosystem. These 1,000 companies alone account for $275B dollars of the $386B dollars generated by the entire ecosystem.

The flywheel effect: startups breeding startups

Beyond economic output, we know that having a critical mass of mature companies in a ecosystem creates a flywheel effect that has a fantastic impact upon ecosystem growth.

The talent working for successful startups learns the ropes there and then goes on to found their own companies, with a higher rate of success. Additionally, these successful founders and leadership teams become the next generation of investors and mentors who nurture up-and-coming startups.

Finding companies at their prime in the startup lifecycle

Panelists agreed that there is no silver magic bullet when it comes to uncovering high-quality prospects, but instead there’s a mix of tools that make it possible to achieve organizational mandates.

Having up-to-date startup and scaleup data is a complex challenge, particularly as they are moving through the stages of development very quickly, from inception to breakout and scaling, to becoming unicorns and beyond.

Timing is everything and being able to track this growth and reach out to investor and startup communities at the right time when they are ready to start thinking about the next round of funding is key. 

"The startup market is dynamic and having the data especially at the pre-seed and seed stage of investment is critical because there is a short span of time to invest."

Pedro Teixeira, Partnerships Manager at Startup Lisboa

If you’d like to find out more on how FDI professionals use data to their competitive advantage, then watch the latest Dealroom Talk in the video below and listen to can’t-miss insights from T&I organizations around the world.