Finnish Business Angel Exit of the Year
Finnish Business Angels Network annually awards the Finnish Business Angel Exit of the Year. With the award, FiBAN aims to increase the interest towards business angel investing and to share the best practices from startup investing. Exits plays an important part supporting the interest and continuity of private startup investing supporting the startup field in additional to capital with skills and viral networks. Positive exits increase the private investment capacity. A great deal of the profits earned from exits are returned to the startup market in the form of new investments.
Previously awarded business angels
Finnish Business Angel Exit of the Year 2022
Syndicate exit from Miradore
The Exit of the Year award was given to Miradore, where angel investors – Ari Korhonen, Markku Toivanen, Ari-Pekka Salovaara, and Kim Väisänen, where the company valuation was more than 10x their initial investment. Miradore was acquired by GoTo.
“Miradore started to narrow down the sales funnel and succeeded with marketing. Another success factor was that the process was made easy for the buying customers,” the awarded angels described.
“It was not a typical angel investment case and even seemed like the company would go bust. But together with the CEO and an exceptional board of business angels, it was turned into a success case, and it became a very international, highly profitable business,” they added.
Finnish Business Angel Exit of the Year 2021
Syndicate exit from Whiteboard.fi
Exits play a crucial role in the continuity of startup funding, as typically exit profits are returned to the startups in the form of new investments.
This year, the Exit of the Year award was given to two business angels, Janne Jormalainen and Reima Linnanvirta, who made an impressive exit with the startup Whiteboard.fi.
“With Whiteboard.fi everything matched – an ambitious, skillful founder, a good investor team, and already a million users. The entrepreneurs knew what they were doing and they had their hearts in the game,” Jormalainen and Linnanvirta described.
Whiteboard.fi is a Finnish education startup acquired by Kahoot, a global ed-tech company with 6 million USD. Whiteboard grew exponentially reaching more than 7 million users in a 30-day period, where angels were able to exit within 100 days from the pre-seed investment.
Read more about the pre-seed stage investments to Whiteboard and the exceptional exit story of Whiteboard.fi
Finnish Business Angel Exit of the Year 2020
Syndicate exit from Nordcloud
2020 was a year of many great angel exits, and the Nordcloud exit was one of the most noted ones with Jussi Autere and Fernando Herrera with it until the last exit. “There were also more FiBAN members taking part in the journey of the company, both as investors as well as a founder. The case shows that in ICT business, you can also be an exceptional service company.” describes Linnanvirta the awarded exit.
Finnish Business Angel Exit of the Year 2019
Syndicate exit from from Verso Food
The award has been given to a business angel syndicate of two business angels: Leena Niemistö and Niklas Geust. The exit was achieved in Verso Food which was sold to the Norwegian food producer Kavli Oy. Verso Food, which develops vegetarian food, is known in Finland especially for its Härkis products.
Finnish Business Angel Exit of the Year 2018
Syndicate exit from Small Giant Games
An exit to Zynga to the tune of USD 700 million. Some years, the award goes to a single individual. For 2018 – like for 2017 – the exit was achieved collectively by multiple early co-investors in Small Giant Games. Ari Korhonen, Kim Groop were awarded on stage in front of the international audience consisting of EBAN Helsinki 2019 Gala Dinner participants. Teemu Aho will receive his awards later and Risto Siilasmaa on Tuesday morning as his keynote opens the second day of EBAN Helsinki 2019.
Finnish Business Angel Exit of the Year 2017
Seven-angel strong sydicate – NordSafety
The Finnish Business Angel Exit of the Year 2017 has been given to a business angel syndicate including seven business angels: Toni Mattila, Tom Lingdgren, Anna-Kaarina Lipsanen, Maarit Gockel, Jussi Heinilä, Jukka Hienonen and Jukka Mäkinen. This is the first time FiBAN awards a whole investor syndicate for an exit. Nordsafety is a Finnish growth company that provides a new mobile method for handling occupational safety, quality and site information management. The syndicate made their exit in November 2017 when the deal was made with EcoIntense GmbH.
Finnish Business Angel Exit of the Year 2016
Ainomaija Haarla – Gold&Green Foods Ltd., “Pullet Oats”
Ainomaija Haarla has worked in several Finnish large companies, and taught entrepeneurship at Aalto university. She made her first startup investments in 2013 to Samuji and TribeStudios. The award of the Finnish Angel Exit of the Year is awarded to Haarla for her successful exit from Gold&Green Foods Ltd company, that she invested in back in 2015. Haarla had an important role in supporting Maija Itkonen’s pulled oats business as an industry expert, sparring partner and providing capital to begin operations. Thanks to Haarla’s business angel investment’s result, Finnish consumers can enjoy pulled oats forming its role into the everyday food.
Finnish Business Angel Exit of the Year 2015
Petteri Laitala – “Shipyard company from Turku”
Petteri Laitala has been an active investor in Turku for over 20 years. Laitala has done over 10 startup investments (such as Afore Oy, Tribeflame Oy, and Ekovista Oy), he usually tends to invest in other than programming companies, although there is one game company among his investments. Laitala began his investments with real estate, but nowadays invests mainly in companies that he feels are “more attractive and interesting in content and economy”. Although there is no regional boundaries in Laitala’s investments, most of his investments are in Southwest Finland. Laitala is a Master of Science in Economics and he has made his career in large companies especially in financial sector and Sonera for 15 years. Alongside startup companies, Laitala is also a member of the board and investor council.
Finnish Business Angel Exit of the Year 2014
Kaj Rönnlund – The Switch & Fixura
Kaj Rönnlund’s two exits are excellent examples of how private investors actively supports early-stage growth goals rapidly leading the companies to fit large market needs. In both of Mr. Rönnlund’s exits there has been growth challenges but with the support of private experience, networks and financials has brought the necessary dynamics to support continuous growth. Both of the companies are in a strong growth phase and for example The Switch has established 175 jobs. Mr. Rönnlund lives in Vaasa where he acts and supports the development of local startup activity, especially in the sectors of Clean tech and ICT. Mr. Rönnlund will continue as an active business angel and has so far made 14 startup investments of which currently five are active.
Finnish Business Angel Exit of the Year 2013
Jari Ovaskainen – Supercell
Jari Ovaskainen is known in Finland for his first business deal done in 2000 when he sold Iobox, a web portal he’d founded, to the Spanish operator Telefónica’s subsidiary company Terra Mobile for €230 million. After this Mr. Ovaskainen has worked closely with startup companies. His investment portfolio includes for example Next Games, Stylewhile, Miivies ja Atacama Labs, and Supercell. Supercell’s majority was sold this October to the Japanese mobile operator SoftBank and game company GungHolle for €1,1 billion. Mr. Ovaskainen was the first investor in Supercell.”Mr. Ovaskainen’s role as ”the first investor in Supercell” is also very inspirational for others to bravely head towards new potential growth sectors like gaming.”
Finnish Business Angel Exit of the Year 2012
Antti Pekkanen – BLStream
During the Nordic Business Angel dinner FiBAN board together with Nordea awarded Antti Pekkanen for his business angel case BLStream. Antti participated in the investment of this company from a very early stage and during a ten years of “up and downs” finally made X32 exit during 2012. BLstream is a great example of the meaning for an angel when supporting the entrepreneur during the challenging periods. The award was naturally a “hockey stick” representing the long, but successful investment period. FiBAN wishes the company best of success in the years to come.