2019 was an eventful and in many ways significant year for the venture capital and private equity industry. What were the most interesting industry phenomena and other highlights of the year? Read below to find out!
Pia Santavirta is the Managing Director of the association. Her team is filled with young talent – hence why the association has sometimes been referred to as a “talent accelerator”. Our dynamic team manages the association’s member services and communications, in addition to acting as the public policy advocate of the industry.
At the beginning of 2019, the association’s team consisted of Pia Santavirta, Karin Hentunen, Annemari Kirppu, Anna Brchisky, and Markus Nyberg. Anna Brchisky joined the team in January, as Pauliina Martikainen accepted a position as Maki.VC’s Investment Director. In March we welcomed Lyydia Lappi in our team when Markus Nyberg joined Slush’s start-up team. Annemari Kirppu was acting as the parental leave substitute for Jonne Kuittinen until the end of September, after which she accepted a position at the Boston Consulting Group.
In October Jonne came back from his parental leave and Toni Pakarinen took charge of FVCA’s communications, while November saw us welcoming Saara Vettenranta in the team as a communications coordinator.
The board of the FVCA oversees decision making, monitors the association and organises its operations. The Chairman of the board runs the meetings and the managing director acts as the secretary.
In the annual board meeting on 19th of March Sami Lampinen (Inventure) was chosen as the new Chairman of the Board. Jussi Seppälä (Sponsor Capital) was chosen as the Vice Chairman of the Board. Anita Ojala (Juuri Partners), Anne Riekki (MB Rahastot), Jan Sasse (Tesi), Timo Argillander (IPR.VC), and Jan Mattlin (CapMan) continued as board members.
The board also got a new member, Janne Holmia (Verdane) and two new deputy board members, Tanya Marvin-Horowitz (Butterfly Ventures) and Aapo Eskelinen (MB Rahastot). Juhana Kallio (Intera Partners), Vesa Lehtomäki (Korona Invest), Jari Mieskonen (Conor Venture Partners), Riku Seppälä (Icebreaker.vc), and Liisa Harjula (Sentica Partners) continued as deputy board members.
The board convened seven times over the course the year.
You can read more about the Board of Directors and committees here.
Sami Lampinen was chosen as the new Chairman of the Board in 2019 – “This is people’s business – in the future co-operation will matter more than ever”
In March we interviewed the new Chairman of the Board, Sami Lampinen.
What kind of a career has he had, and how has the industry changed in his eyes? In the interview, Lampinen also envisions what the private equity and venture capital industry looks like in the future – you can read the full interview here.
In addition to the board, seven regular committees and three ad-hoc committees operated in the association in 2019. Altogether, the committees gathered 18 times.
The following regular committees operated in 2019:
Venture Capital Committee
Lists of each committee’s members can be found here.
In 2016, a new Managing Director was chosen for the FVCA, which was followed by a reorganization of the association’s operations. As a result, our membership has increased remarkably – with over 70 new members. We will begin 2020 with 146 members in total!
In 2019, a new member category – other private equity investors – was created for the association. This group includes, for example, family office and corporate venture capital investors, as well as other comparable investors that make investments from their balance sheet.
We warmly welcome new members to join the association.
FVCA’s member services are split into three categories: basic services, public relations/lobbying, and communication.
Member services include, for instance, industry networking events and seminars, cooperation in communications, as well as access to industry news, research, and other materials. In addition, members get discount codes to many of the major industry events, such as Slush.
Are you interested in joining our association’s growing membership? Read more about becoming a member here.
In 2019, the association received 9 new full members, 4 members in the “other PE investors” category, and 9 new associate members.
Introduced members in 2019:
In addition to the above, the following members joined: Evli Growth Partners, Pikespo Invest, Voima Ventures, Courage Ventures, Gorilla Ventures, Norvestor, NGP Capital, Sontek Ventures, Hartwall Capital, Metsä Spring, Translink Corporate Finance, POP Pankkiliitto, Saltic.mobi, Capacent. and Collector Bank. Welcome!
We organised 25 events in 2019, most of which were seminars held in collaboration with our members. Altogether, over 1200 members participated in our events during the year.
We are happy to organise events with our members, so please be in touch if you have ideas for future events.
In addition to our own events, we attended various stakeholder events, speaking to policymakers, board professionals, students, start-ups, and growth companies on topics such as corporate social responsibility, impact investing, and building growth now and in the future.
On April 4th, 350 guests gathered in Clarion Hotel Helsinki for our main event of the year – Spring Seminar. PwC was the main partner of the event again this year. Inspiring Finnish and international speakers took the floor, and the Venture Capitalist of the Year was awarded.
At the end of the night, the finalists of the “Building Growth 2019” competition pitched their growth stories and the winner of the competition was announced.
Each year the association awards a person who has developed the PE and VC operating environment and has actively worked with the association with the Venture Capitalist of the Year award. This year the award was given to Heikki Wahlroos and Paulus Hidén from Borenius, for their work on an amendment regarding foreign fund of funds, and as a thank you for their excellent cooperation with the FVCA.
The Communications of the Year award was given to Juuri Partners for their active, high-quality approach to communications.
The Blog of the Year award went to Inventure’s Ekaterina Gianelli, whose interview in FVCA’s blog is one of our most popular blog posts and continues to collect readers.
Congratulations to all of the winners!
In the Spring Seminar 2019, FVCA and PwC held the annual “Building Growth” contest. The top three companies were chosen from over 600 growth stories from PE and VC backed companies.
The winner of the award was Smartly.io!
The parliamentary elections in Finland, European Parliamentary elections, Brexit and the Finnish Presidency of the European Parliament amounted to a busy year of domestic and EU-related policy work.
On January 23rd, we held an event to publish our Policy Agenda. At the event, we made suggestions to improve the business environment for start-ups, growth companies and VC & PE investors. The proposals are based on our aim to make Finland an attractive country for domestic and foreign businesses, investors and professionals. By attracting a variety of new players in Finland we can accelerate growth, create new jobs, and support the well-being of the country.
You can read more about our proposals here: Policy Agenda for the 2019-2022 term.
The most important gain of the year in terms of lobbying was the amendment to article 9.5 of the Income Tax Act, which was approved on March 15th. The change, which came into force on the 20th of March, is a particularly welcomed change for the Finnish PE & VC industry, as it allows foreign funds of funds to invest in domestic funds without the risk of double taxation.
In the spring, we published a summary of legislation for our members, outlining all domestic and EU regulatory projects and case law affecting the PE & VC industry.
On May 29th, we released an information package for policy-makers called “The importance of private equity investments in Finland – growth, jobs and well-being”. The publication was released at an event for the newly elected members of the parliament hosted by the FVCA and FIN-FSA. At the event, we reviewed Finland’s financial field’s situation and explained how startups and growth companies create jobs and well-being.
The information package brings together the key terms, statistics, and goals of the VC & PE industry. It was sent to all parliament members and parties in May 2019.
In 2019, we focused more than previously on EU lobbying and Nordic co-operation.
In January 2019, we joined Invest Europe’s Public Affairs Executive (PAE) Committee, which is the leading decision-maker on issues affecting the European private equity & venture capital industry. The British, French and German private equity associations, the three largest in Europe, have permanent seats on the PAE. Membership in the group has strengthened the FVCA’s influence at EU level as well as increased cooperation with other European players.
FVCA is a member of Invest Europe. Invest Europe takes care of the prerequisites for the PE and VC industry and develops professional standards at European level.
The following professionals represent the Finnish PE & VC industry in Invest Europe’s Committees: Jyrki Tähtinen (Borenius), Mikko Alakare (Castrén & Snellman), Jari Mieskonen (Conor Venture Partners), Juha Peltola (Vaaka Partners), and Pia Santavirta and Jonne Kuittinen (Pääomasijoittajat ry).
Pictured with Pia are Invest Europe’s new Managing Director Eric de Montgolfier and the Deputy Director General Gurpreet Manku of the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association.
We invited Invest Europe representatives to Finland for the “EU-morning with Invest Europe” seminar on the 17th of June, at which topical EU legislative proposals affecting the PE & VC industry were discussed.
FVCA’s industry research and statistics are based on European Data Corporation’s database. We gather together relevant information about the VC & PE industry, based on which we release, for instance, the annual VC and BO statistics.
2018’s statistics are found here:
2019’s H1 statistics are found here:
One of the FVCA’s major studies on private equity and venture capital industry impact figures was published on January 23rd. The study, carried out by the Finnish Venture Capital Association and KPMG, mapped the development of growth and revenue of Finnish businesses that had received private equity or venture capital. The study focused on the period from 2010 to 2017. The study showed that the companies owned by Finnish venture capital and private equity investors are the fastest growing businesses in Finland.
During the three years after receiving private equity, the companies’ average annual growth rate was 22.8 per cent – six times faster than that of the control group. The annual growth rate of the number of personnel in the companies that had received private equity was 16.8 per cent, or 15 times faster that of the control group.
We launched the new Nordics.vc site together with other Nordic venture capital associations on February 7th. Nordics.vc is one of our first joint research projects with other Nordic industry associations. The purpose of the project has been to strengthen our lobbying cooperation and to improve the industry environment in the Nordic countries.
Read more about the study:
Annemari Kirppu, who was in charge of FVCA’s statistics at the beginning of the year, carried out a research about impact investing for the association as her master’s thesis. Kirppu presented her findings at an “Impact Investing in Private Equity” event organised in September.
Read more about the Impact Investing study here.
The FVCA, as its members’ communicational channel, publishes and shares information about new venture capital and private equity funds, investments into start-ups and growth companies, as well as other key industry events, statistics and studies.
Our newsletter was published four times this year in Finnish and English. From the newsletter, you can read about the biggest industry news and policy matters, as well as find out about interesting upcoming events. Subscribe to our newsletter here.
In 2019, our members were also informed about industry regulations, statistics, publications, events, and other relevant matters in the form of member newsletters. Member newsletters can be found on the Extranet member website.
2019 was a success for FVCA’s communications, especially on social media. We launched Instagram and Facebook accounts as new communication channels in 2019, on which our followers are mostly younger influencers and students in the field. As a result, we reached a much higher number of people on social media this year.
Our following on social media has grown steadily – for instance, the association’s and CEO’s Twitter accounts combined received over 1,200 new followers in 2019.
Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram to stay up to date! Our username is @FVCAfi on all channels.
In 2019 the association released 11 own press releases and organised 5 press conferences. Here are a few highlights from the past year:
More press releases can be found from the newsroom!
We published 33 blog posts in 2019. The posts featured current issues in the VC and PE industry. The most popular blog posts highlighted diversity, talent boost and sustainable finance, sparking interesting discussions also on social media.
The association continued the ‘Polkuni pääomasijoittajaksi’ (My journey to becoming a VC/PE investor) blog series, launched in 2018, which dives deep into the varying backgrounds of Finnish VC and PE investors.
As in previous years, the ‘Building Growth’ contest held at the Spring Seminar was an important way to highlight the collaboration between investors and portfolio companies.
Read more blog posts from the Newsroom!
In February 2018 the association launched a guide for startups and growth companies to help them find the right investor. The guide enables entrepreneurs to easily understand the basics of the investment process and to assess whether a PE or VC investment could be a suitable alternative to grow one’s company further.
The guide is now available both in English and Finnish on FVCA’s website.
At the initiative of VC investors, we co-founded the VC Benchmark Sessions concept together with NordicNinja, Maki.VC and Inventure. The idea of the VC Benchmark Sessions is to be a place where VC fund representatives have a low threshold to discuss best practices for running a VC fund and developing operations.
The Industry Mentor Group has been created to support new Venture Capital and Private Equity funds and industry newcomers. The meetings with the mentors are meant to be informal – discussions, sharing own experiences, and helping with the challenges of working in the industry. Above all, the mentors are supposed to provide support to teams that have already begun their journey in the industry, or those who are interested to learn more. We warmly welcome anyone, also students with different backgrounds to apply for a mentor from the Mentor Group.
Get to know the Mentors here!
At the beginning of 2019, we launched a competition to reward the best Master’s thesis concerning either the PE & VC industry, growth, or impact investing. Isabella Kartela won with her thesis that did a great job of investigating the tax treatment of PE & VC investors in Finland.
The winner was announced at the FVCA’s Christmas Seminar on November 14th. At the seminar, Isabella was able to share her research results in front of an audience of over 100 industry leaders. She received an award of 2,500€ from the FVCA as a reward for her excellent work.
Early next year, we will publish blog entries written by the graduation contest entrants and launch the 2020 competition.
We have been active in Next Generation cooperation, especially in the second half of 2019. In addition to the mentorship program and the Master’s thesis competition, we organised a “World of Venture Capital” excursion for university students at Maki.vc’s office together with Wave Ventures.
In addition, our Christmas Seminar had a Next Generation theme. At the panel discussion of the seminar, we gave the stage to young professionals in the field, and together we envisioned the future of the industry.
The themes highlighted in the panel discussion were:
-The importance of values in the working life
-Network that adds value to businesses
-Openness, accountability and ‘people first’ approach.
-Professionals from different backgrounds.
With these thoughts in mind, we shift our focus to the new year!
Are you interested in becoming a member? Read more about our membership here!
Pia, Jonne, Toni, Saara, Karin & Lyydia