In 2008 I took a career turn from stock market risk controller to politics as a political advisor to a minister in charge of government-owned companies. After two weeks in office, the mayhem hit the fan. The financial crisis was a pandemic of the time. Economies froze up as no money, nor trust was available. We sought high and low with the minister to find new hope for the turn. We visited Aalto ES, Venture Garage, traveled around the country meet with sunset and sunrise industries, watched private and public finance sitting on their hands.

Three important things were crystallized during those years. We have a great number of ideas popping up in this country at all levels up to universities and research institutes, that would need to be commercialized. We have enthusiastic entrepreneurs willing and able to develop their products further. And, Finnish funding does not easily find these grass-roots companies.

I’m happy to say, it was not public money that got activated on these. It was a great bunch of private people that saw the same problem and acted on that, and they had the drive to found FiBAN. I got really excited about this already then. In 2015 I was ready to jump in myself and feel the heat. I’ve been happy since regardless of the success or lack of it.

The most valuable asset is the network of qualified private angel investors. 

FiBAN represents today an active and visible difference in early-stage, grass-root, startup funding in Finland. The deal flow is curated and tested. The most valuable asset is the network of qualified private angel investors. FiBAN is not alone, though, and our impact is larger than the size would imply. As a partner, we are sought after and trusted both here and abroad. This is something to build on for years to come, for us, founders and companies.

Continuous learning and support to active investing, evolving network, and international contacts keep us growing. We can be proud of Finland as the home base for many fast-growing companies that have searched new markets abroad. FiBAN investors have been part of making this happen. The most valuable companies are built to last and endure in different markets. From an early stage on.

I wish you all an active year ahead. Let’s network, for fun and good moves.

Annukka Mickelsson
Chair of the Board, FiBAN

FiBAN Monthly is a blog series discussing current topics among FiBAN and angel investing. A new post is shared each month, alternating between FiBAN Chair of the Board Annukka Mickelsson and Interim Managing Director Aija Bärlund. In case you missed the letter from December, you can read it here.