Finland, portrait of a countrywide startup ecosystem
Finnish startups raised a total of €2B in 2021 alone, making it the highest annual amount on record with foreign venture capital investors well-represented in the numbers. Finland’s success story in becoming a highly industrialized, knowledge-based, and innovative economy is based on free trade and openness to investment in the globalized economy. As a result, the Finnish business climate is very international and attractive to foreign investment. In fact, 46.6% of VC investment in Finnish startups in 2021 came from outside Europe.
Consistently ranked among leaders in various international comparisons, Finland offers a business environment with a uniquely high level of stability, continuity, and predictability. Over 3,821 startups and scaleups call Finland home in 2022, and together they are now worth €48.2b in combined enterprise value. More than 1,300 corporates and 1,087 investors add to the ecosystem’s strength and prosperity.
Helsinki is both the capital city of Finland and the heart of its startup ecosystem. In the greater Helsinki area alone, you will find 2,138 startups and scaleups and over 100 venture capital investors. The combined enterprise value of Helsinki’s fast-growing companies is €40B, 82% of Finland’s total combined enterprise value. Furthermore, 4 out of the 7 unicorns in Finland are also headquartered in the capital, and Supercell, Wolt, Aiven, and Relex Solutions are worth a combined €24,4B.
Startups in Helsinki will find much infrastructure and networks to support their business. For example, MARIA01 is the Nordics’ leading startup campus, and every year the famous tech conference SLUSH takes the city over. But more industry-specific accelerators are also present in the capital, like the Health Incubator Helsinki, an incubator program for research-based early-stage teams and startups operating in the health sector in Finland and abroad, or Helsinki XR Center another incubator for talent in the field of VR and AR.
Although much of the country’s activity can be traced back to its capital, smaller hubs most definitely bring their share of innovations and talent.
As a pioneering city for digitalization, Oulu is known particularly for innovations in Healthtech, Cleantech, and Information Technology. The city boasts 50 years of expertise in wireless technology. Every day, close to 3 billion people globally use mobile technologies developed in Oulu. A lot of the much talked about 5G technology has been created in Oulu, and the visionaries at the University of Oulu already have their eyes on the next wireless generation – 6G.
Startups and scaleups headquartered in Oulu reached a combined enterprise value of €3.2B in 2022 so far and raised over €115M in 2021. This record-breaking year was mostly made possible thanks to Ōura’s Series C round in May 2021, where the city’s healthtech unicorn secured €100M funding led by The Chernin Group and Elysian Park.
Espoo is the second largest and fastest growing city in Finland. Home to 476 startups & scaleups, the ecosystem’s combined enterprise value is now worth €6.5B.
The city is recognized as an innovation epicenter and Finland’s growth engine. The key players in Espoo include Aalto University where its active student members were the driving forces behind SLUSH, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and global corporations such as Nokia, Kone, and Neste. The Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence (FCAI) completes the picture; this open collaboration ecosystem for organizations aims to create new types of AI, which can operate with humans in the complex world, and renew the Finnish industry with this new AI. With such a high concentration of research centers and cutting-edge innovations, the deeptech landscape of Espoo-based startups is flourishing. In 2022, over 50 startups in the region hold at least one patent, proving that the local innovation community offers vast possibilities for systemic cross-disciplinary innovation. Furthermore, Espoo is also home to 2 of the country’s unicorns: HMD Global and Rovio.
Turku region’s closely knitted ecosystem is home to 112 startups & scaleups and together they reached a combined enterprise value of €320M in 2022. Turku has quite a multidisciplinary approach resulting in a significant number of startups and growth companies that produce new solutions for circular economy but also in artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation. The Turku region is home to the leading health cluster in Finland, HealthTurku, and last but not least, the Blue Industry Park in Turku is the place where the future of the maritime industry is being planned, developed, and constructed.
Tampere is said to be the birthplace of the industrial revolution in Finland, with over 315 startups and scaleups calling Tempere home. In 2022 so far they are worth a combined €733M in enterprise value.
Tampere has evolved into a buzzing modern city hosting, among others, the largest concentration of mobile intelligent machinery R&D in Europe, the Smart City Test Area meeting the level 4 automated transport requirements today, and the Hiedanranta city district as a development platform for a carbon-free city for 25000 people.
Finland’s innovation ecosystem has much to offer, and certainly much more to explore through the launch of the country’s respective ecosystem platforms, powered by Dealroom. Discover Finland’s most promising companies today, in Helsinki, Oulu, Espoo, Turku and Tampere.
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