In 2019, startups and growth companies raised a new record amount, totaling 511 million euro. Business angels invested 54 million, a new all-time high, and Finnish venture capital (VC) funds invested 113 million euros. Foreign investors invested 295 million euro into Finland. The most significant increase in investments came from foreign VC funds, which invested 180 million into Finnish companies, while the share of other foreign investments dropped to 115 million euro.
A Peak Year for Both Angel and Venture Capital Investments
The sum of angel investments rose to record levels in 2019, when business angels in Finland invested 54 million euros into a total of 415 startups. This is what FiBAN's annual investment survey of its members – one of the most comprehensive statistics on angel investment in Europe – finds. FiBAN, which operates in Finland, is one of the world's largest business angel networks.
The record figures are partly explained by a few exceptionally large individual investments. Often, angels also fund their portfolio companies through follow-up rounds, the number of which was significant in 2019. “We have a community of more than 650 private investors with diverse investor profiles. There is a lot of variation in the investment volumes of individuals who invest their personal wealth,” says Amel Gaily, Managing Director of FiBAN.
“Instead of looking at a single year, it’s more relevant to follow the long-term trend,” Gaily emphasizes. The median investments in 2019 remained roughly the same as in previous years: the median investment of an individual business angel was 20 000 euro and the company-specific median investment round was 240 000 euro“. In addition, our members invest a significant amount of time and expertise in startups, the value of which cannot be measured in money,” she adds.
2019 was an all-time high year for venture capital measured by almost all indicators. Last year, several new venture capital funds were established and some of the previously established funds grew to the next size class. The VC firm Lifeline Ventures raised Finland's largest venture capital fund of 130 million euro. A record amount of VC investments were also made: 176 Finnish startups received a total of 293 million euro in venture capital investments in 2019. The average size of later-stage venture capital investments rose to a record of 9 million euro.
The development of Finnish startups is reflected in the increasing number of foreign investments, with foreign investors already accounting for 58% of all investments received by Finnish startups, a total of 295 million euro. The majority of international investments in Finland are made together with a local VC investor.
“The international funding received by domestic startups is not a coincidence, but the result of determined work. We have both high-quality companies and a diverse startup ecosystem in Finland,” says Sami Lampinen, FVCA’s Chairman of the Board.
The Impact of the Crisis on Startups
Startups are in a challenging situation, as they face the sudden drop in demand caused by the coronavirus, and the possibility of a financing shock. However, Finland's close-knit startup community believes that this crisis will be overcome through cooperation, and the first steps have already been taken.
Companies can benefit a lot from the existing investor relationship, emphasizes Reima Linnanvirta, Chair of the Board of FiBAN. “The importance of investor experience, networks, and support is highlighted at a time of crisis. Entrepreneurs are being supported from morning to night and plans to ensure the continuity of business operations are made in close cooperation,” Linnanvirta describes. “Finland has one of the most advanced business angel networks in the world, highly experienced venture capital investors, and a startup ecosystem in which everyone pulls together,” he continues.
At a time of crisis, we must dare to look ahead. “We believe that startups and investors together with the public sector will do their utmost to get back to the 2019 target level soon. The Finnish government has made many necessary decisions to support the Finnish business community at a commendably fast pace. The Finnish startup ecosystem is also stronger than ever. With investors and, for example, world’s leading startup event organizer Slush and Nordics’ biggest and ever-expanding startup hub Maria 01 at the service of the startups we will overcome the effects of the crisis,” comments Pia Santavirta, Managing Director of the Finnish Venture Capital Association.
The Finnish startup scene has developed enormously over the past ten years, and its capability for agile problem-solving is necessary, especially in crisis situations. It is now absolutely vital to ensure that we continue to have companies with both the will and the ability to solve problems and build new growth in the future.
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