Finnish venture capital investors continue to find high-quality startups – Fundraising and exits pose challenges

Press releases

A recent market sentiment barometer tracking the views of Finnish venture capital investors reveals that the ongoing economic downturn is presenting hurdles in fundraising and portfolio company exits. However, VCs think that high-quality investment opportunities are still available in the startup scene. While the market conditions are expected to remain challenging, there are indications that the worst is already behind.

Venture capital investors raise funds from institutional investors and invest these funds in startups, with the goal of exiting portfolio companies within an average ownership period of 3-7 years and returning profits to fund investors. The Finnish Venture Capital Association’s (FVCA) semi-annual barometer survey examines investor sentiment on fundraising, investment opportunities and exits.

The survey results highlight that fundraising and portfolio company exits are particularly challenging at present. The fundraising conditions have remained similar to six months ago, while the exit environment has become even more difficult.

“The general economic uncertainty affects the venture capital industry in many ways. Exiting from portfolio companies is challenging in the face of a quiet M&A market and a closed IPO window,” comments Jonne Kuittinen, Deputy Chief Executive of FVCA, and continues:

 “A reduction in the number of exits leads to a weaker distribution of capital back to fund investors. At the same time, challenges in the public market have caused many institutional investors to be overallocated to the private markets.

Despite these challenges, venture capital investors still identify high-quality investment opportunities in the startup landscape.

“The responses highlight that while there may be a slight reduction in deal flow, the quality of potential portfolio companies has improved. However, concerns arise about the impact of the weak economic situation on risk appetite and the attractiveness of entrepreneurship, potentially leading to a decline in new startups. It is important to reinforce the perception of entrepreneurship as a viable option and underscore its positive societal impacts,” comments Anne Horttanainen, Managing Director of FVCA.

Significant changes in market conditions are not expected yet – Slush remains a highlight of the year for European investors

In addition to gauging current sentiments, the barometer surveyed venture capital investors’ expectations for the next six months. While fundraising and exits are expected to remain challenging, the survey results suggest that the most difficult period may be in the past. Investors maintain a positive outlook for discovering high-quality startups.

“The fundraising environment is still challenging, but there is always capital in the market seeking new investment opportunities with potential returns. From a deal flow perspective, now is one of the best times to be a VC investor, as high-quality opportunities are abundant, and valuations have adjusted from the levels seen in 2021-2022,” comments Terhi Vapola, Founder and Managing Partner of Greencode Ventures.

“There has been a decline in investment volumes in startups in Finland this year – a trend already seen elsewhere last year. It is possible that in 2024, we will see a correction as investors catch up on missed investments. International crises underscore the need for greater self-sufficiency in energy, food supply, and technology, creating opportunities for startups with innovative perspectives,” comments Jussi Sainiemi, Deputy Managing Partner of Voima Ventures.

“Last year’s record investment activity has declined across Europe in the past year, with pressure on valuations evident in all stages of companies’ growth cycles. Such market dynamics are inherent in VC and growth investing. Hence, Slush remains the highlight of the year for European investors, drawing all active market participants to Helsinki at the end of the week,” comments Riku Asikainen, Founder and Managing Partner of Evli Growth Partners.

Read more about the barometer results here.

A total of 39 Finnish venture capital investors from among the members of the Finnish Venture Capital Association responded to the barometer survey. Respondents had the option to participate anonymously, but based on the personal information provided, the survey included participation from at least 15 different venture capital firms.

Additional information:

Anne Horttanainen
FVCA, Managing Director
+358 40 510 4907

Jonne Kuittinen
FVCA, Deputy Chief Executive
+358 44 333 3267

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