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 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.