State of the Startup Ecosystem in Finland


State of the Startup Ecosystem in Finland

August 8, 2016 In English startup 6
SOSDEMODAY16 - Startup gallery

This post is about a topic that cannot be discussed enough – the startup ecosystem in Finland. Finland is often referred as “the Silicon Valley of Europe”. There has been a huge increase in the number of different players supporting startups and the startup ecosystem. I was approached last week with questions “What is the Y Combinator of Finland? What is the organisation that one should turn to for the best results in making a world class startup? What is the best place to make one’s startup a potential unicorn?”

It’s just amazing how couple of innocent questions can lead into a long discussion about how those questions are wrong questions. ย I couldn’t answer those questions back then. I decided to ask my Facebook bubble. There was a slight doubt in my mind about what the answer would be, since so many of my friends are related to various startup entities and might get offended.

I think I’m still alive and these people will still talk to me when I see them, but for the sake of the discussion, I’ll share some of my thought behind the topic. Feel free to comment, disagree and suggest new things.

What makes something “the Y Combinator of Finland”?

The answer is “nothing”, or Y Combinator – should they setup presence in Finland. Y Combinator is one of a kind thing. No entity is like them nor should anyone be like them. The brand and the reputation of Y Combinator represents something unique…. hold on… I had to go and read what Y Combinator is really all about.

To me it really looks a lot like what many of the early stage accelerators do. Or at least what I think they do.

Is there anyone who really knows what the early stage accelerators and likes are doing? And what is the outcome?

What is a good place for a startup to grow?

And most of all, how do we measure that? In my opinion, we need to define what a startup needs to achieve before we can really evaluate what is good for them. Only once we can understand that, we can move forward. Let’s take a look.

Potential criteria from “customer perspective”

Would any of these criteria work? Are they something that a startup or a founder would need?

  • A unique idea and concept proven to have
  • Becoming “fundable”
  • Has potential to be a unicorn
  • Has potential to be a solid business
  • Is disrupting something meaningfull
  • Founders have learned how to run a company
  • Founders have learned how to aim to be a unicorn

Reason to exist

Or, is it about the accelerator trying to produce something?

  • N or N% of super successful companies
  • N% of not failing companies
  • Rate of graduating startups
  • Level of funding
  • Level of revenue
  • Number or % ย of exists
  • Number of companies
  • Big brand and good reputation

So, what is that good place then? Let’s keep naming them!

There can be many kind of metrics, but I can’t tell which ones are the right ones. Thus I’m asking you to help in defining the criteria for a good startup support organisation.

Please help me out in the comments. Also, please give examples of the ones that are fulfilling that criteria.

Thank you and sorry!

Q1: Name a criteria for a good startup place?

Q2: Name a startup place that applies to that criteria and the numbers they have?


6 Responses

  1. Kirsi Ek says:

    Don’t be sorry for raising a question that needs to be asked, discussed then most of all answered and brought to Action.

    Personally, not having too wide nor long-term experience on startup ecosystem in Finland or abroad, my objective is that accelerators seem to be rambling around vaguely in the same pond filled with teams and their ideas. I bet that pond is far too scary for many ideas to pop up to be found.

    Summasummarum: clear out the topics of all accelerators, gather them clearly under One easily approachable umbrella. One platform (place) that allows not just teams with ideas to be brought up, but also gather ideas, companies and people together in this cross-scientifically unifying accelerator.

    Mother of all startups ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Interesting thought, Kirsi.

      In my humble opinion, since differentiation is so important, it will be difficult simplify and uniform everything under one platform. That would make diversity to suffer?

      But, making the result comparison uniform would be something. Don’t you think?

  2. In the end what I find to be the most important for developing your idea and startup further is to bounce ideas back and forth with many people and especially people with different backgrounds as possible. How often have I experienced that talking to someone from a whole different field gives you a whole new perspective on what you have been working alone or in a small team. Diversity is key!

    Thinking about co-working spaces in the Helsinki region I would say that the most diverse crowd can be found at Microsoft Flux these days which is why I would recommend the place to anyone that wants to work on and further develop their ideas and visions with others.

    Also I find startup event like SoS Demo Day to be extremely important. Not only because they are extremely motivating and inspiring but also they give a feeling of belonging and make the community come together closer.

    This second aspect might not really fall into the category of places you asked for. I still think these kind of events (and there are obviously many more all the time in the capital area) are extremely important for entrepreneurs and in that way offer support as well.

    • I agree! Meeting people with diverse background is important for the development of the startup.

      On the other hand, sometimes you just need solid expertise on a specific topic. At that point a common opinion may lead you in wrong decisions.

      How do you feel about getting expert advise at Microsoft Flux?

  3. […] was a while ago when I was approached with a question about which “startup nursery” is the best in Finland from a founder perspective. This triggered some very interesting and diverse discussions online and […]

  4. mike bradshaw says:

    Other potential “Reason to Exist” could be;
    * Number of jobs created

    Also, you will need to consider;
    * stage of startup when entering (
    * time after graduation before next significant event in startup’s life (next round of funding, number of customers doubling, number of employee’s doubling etc)

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