A record sum of Venture Capital investments in Finland – what’s going on behind the statistics?

The amount of Venture Capital (VC) investments made by Finnish investors has almost reached the peak levels from ten years ago. The growth has been fueled especially by increases in startup stage investments. Seed and later stage venture investments on the other hand have not shown a similar growth trend. Although the development has been positive, the average size of Finnish funds and their average investment sizes are significantly lower than the European average.

However, as a whole, 2018 has been a peak year for Finnish startups and early-stage growth companies, as well as for domestic VC investors – read our deeper analysis of the industry and market situation below.

Fundraising

The fundraising of Finnish VC funds was considerably lower in 2018 than in previous years. However, the industry was diversified, and three new VC teams raised their first funds. For example, Maki.vc raised 80 million euros, which is significant amount for a first fund. In addition, Evli Growth Partners and Nordic Ninja VC published their new funds at the end of 2018. However, there is still room for new investors in the industry, both for smaller funds focused on early stage as well as for larger funds that are closer to the European average.

Venture capital industry statistics

Finnish VC investors invested 137 M€ into domestic and foreign startups and early stage growth companies. Thus, the investment activity almost reached the record level from 10 years ago. Most of the funding was directed to startup stage companies – a whopping 91 M€ – whereas seed stage and later stage venture investments remained practically unchanged.

The 137 M€ of capital was invested into a total of 183 startups or early stage growth companies. Out of the total sum, 36 M€ i.e. 26%, was invested into 45 foreign companies. The rest, 101 M€, were invested into Finnish startups or early stage growth companies.

However, the average investment size was small – less than one million euros per company. Compared to European peers, Finnish VC investors’ investment sizes are substantially smaller, especially in seed and later stage venture, which in turn limits the growth potential of Finnish startups and early stage growth companies. In 2018, the average investment sizes in Finland increased, excluding seed stage, and neared the Nordic averages, but as European investment sizes also continue to grow there is still a lot of catching up to do. In 2018, the average investment sizes by development stage in Finland were 0.2 M€ in seed stage, 0.9 M€ in startup stage and 1.4 M€ in later stage venture.

Market statistics

Finnish startups and growth companies raised a record amount of funding from domestic and foreign VC investors in 2018: a total of 203 M€. More than half of this sum – a whopping 103 M € – came from foreign investors. The share of Finnish private sector investors of the total amount was 76 M€, which is slightly behind the record level from 10 years ago. The public sector on the other hand made 25 M€ worth of direct investments in order to support the private sector’s growth.

Approximately 100-200 Finnish startup companies receive VC investment each year. In 2018 the record sum of investments was divided among 154 Finnish early stage companies. Most of the funding was directed to later stage venture companies, some of whom led extremely large funding rounds such as phone manufacturer HMD Global (86 M€), gaming company Small Giant Games (33 M €) and satellite technology company ICEYE (29 M€). Foreign investors are often involved in the largest financing rounds. In total, foreign investors invested into 28 companies in 2018, which is 18% of all the companies that received funding.

Even though startup and later stage venture companies attracted a record amount of funding in 2018, the investments into seed stage companies remained at 14 M€. In total, 49 startup companies received seed stage investments.

Early stage funding from VC investors and others

In addition to Finnish and foreign VC investors, Finnish startups and early stage companies receive investments also from Finnish business angels, other foreign investors, crowdfunding and accelerators etc. Counting all of these investments together, Finnish early stage companies attracted almost half a billion euros in funding in 2018. The strong growth trend of recent years shows that the quality of Finnish startups has increased to a level that attracts significant investments from foreign investors. This has required a lot of work from the startup ecosystem and successful co-operation between domestic and foreign investors.

Learn more

Learn more about last year’s statistics and business angels’ perspective from the VC press release published in March. Also visit our new Nordics.vc pages and the short summary of them if you want to understand what the entire Nordic VC market looks like.