​Leena Niemistö and Janne Jormalainen have been selected as the first two EAF Finland business angels, who will invest into innovative seed and early stage SMEs and get 1:1 matcing for their future start-up investments from EAF Finland, the EUR 30 million co-investment fund. Both business angels are established investors in the Finnish Business Angel Community and active FiBAN members. Leena Niemistö has background as a successful entrepreneur in the healthcare sector and was elected Finland’s Business Angel of the Year in 2016. Janne Jormalainen is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor, who serves as the Chair of Finnish Business Angel Network (FiBAN), Europe’s largest business angel association with more than 650 members.

EAF Finland was launched in 2017 and is jointly funded by EIF and Business Finland Venture Capital (formerly known as Tekes Venture Capital). The Fund will be advised by EIF and is part of the pan-European initiative European Angels Fund (EAF).

“We have withnessed high interest in EAF Finland and we are convinced that this instrument can greatly benefit Finnish Business Angels and early stage SMEs alike. Consequenly, we are pleased to see the first transactions with local lighthouse Business Angels materialising. Our target is to select 10-15 Business Angels to EAF Finland and expected this announcement to catalyse further interest in the programme.” says Juho Aminoff, Investment Manager at European Investment Fund (EIF).

Leena Niemistö encourages other business angels to have a look on the EAF opportunity.  ”EAF Finland is a valuable initiative for Finnish Business Angels and Finnish early-stage SMEs. It’s great to join the network of other 80 EAF-supported European Business Angels. I hope we can encourage other BAs to join us to boost the Finnish early-stage startup -ecosystem with the total of EUR 60 million investments during the next ten years.” says Niemistö.

Janne Jormalainen, the Chair of the FiBAN, is happy to support the Finnish start-up ecosystem. “Many business angels in FiBAN community are becoming increasingly professional investors. With EAF funding a business angel can effectively double his investment volume, thus lead much larger deals. As business angels are typically the first investors to a start-up, the increased funding will greatly benefit Finnish start-up companies, and the whole ecosystem. I am very pleased to join the European community of EAF supported business angel investors.” Jormalainen says.

The European Angels Fund establishes Co-investment framework agreements (CFAs) granting a predefined amount of equity for co-investments upfront to each Business Angel for future investments. All investment decisions will be taken by the Business Angels and their investments will be matched on a pari-passu basis, i.e. by the same amount by the European Angels Fund. The volumes available in total under an individual CFA range between EUR 250k and EUR 5m.

As of today, the programme has been launched in seven countries, reached a facility volume of c. EUR 320m and entered into agreements with more than 80 Business Angels for co-investment volumes of over EUR 200m. As of today, Business Angels have drawn an amount of over EUR 40m for co-investments in more than 350 SMEs. Once rolled-out, the initiative is expected to reach a portfolio of over 1,000 SME co-investments.

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank group. Its central mission is to support Europe’s micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment.

Leena Niemistö (MD, PhD) is a health care professional with 30 years of clinical and leadership experience. She was a CEO in a healthcare company Dextra (2003-2016) and a deputy CEO in a social and healthcare company Pihlajalinna (2013-2016) while the business grew from EUR 7m to EUR 400m of revenue both organically and via M&A. Currently she is a board executive in several publicly listed companies (Elisa, Stockmann, Pihlajalinna, Raisio) as well as in startups and organizations and foundations. She is an angel investor in 20 startups with enthuasism to empower companies dealing with digital health, well-being, cleantech, foodtech and digital marketplace platforms targeting to spread sustainable solutions.

Janne Jormalainen is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor. He is chairman of the board in six companies and chairman of the board of the Finnish Business Angel Network, FiBAN. Janne made his early career in large corporate environment at Nokia. He has lived and worked in the USA, Europe and Southeast Asia. Since 2005 he has been working as an entrepreneur in multiple industries and founded several companies. In 2015 he sold SPU, a company producing energy efficient building materials, to Kingspan Plc.