Investments into Finnish startups hit a new record high at 349€M – foreign investors increasingly attracted to the maturing startup ecosystem
April 05, 2018
Statistics collected by Finnish Business Angels Network (FiBAN) and Finnish Venture Capital Association (FVCA) show Finland blasting to another all-time high on investments made into Finnish startups and early stage growth companies in 2017. The most significant change occurred in the number of foreign investors setting their sights on the region, as foreign investments surged to 208M€, resulting in a yearly increase of 33%.
In 2017, Finnish startups and early-stage growth companies raised the highest amount of business angel and venture capital (VC) funding to date, as the total financing figure raised hit 349 million euros.
The trend of foreign investors actively investing in Finnish startups and early-stage growth companies continued developing positively, as Finnish companies were able to attract a fresh record-high figure of 208M€ in foreign financing. The region’s development on this front is significant, as the number of foreign investments has increased tenfold since 2010.
Source: Business Angels: FiBAN, Finnvera; Finnish VC firms: FVCA, EDC; Foreign investments: HBH Investor Services, EDC, FVCA, public sources; Other: Repomedia, FVCA
Business Angels in Finland Have Invested Over 200M€ in 2010-2017 and an Immense Amount of Intellectual Capital
FiBAN has collected data about business angel investments in Finland ever since the association was established in 2010. Business angels have invested at least 202 million euros in 1423 startups in the time period of 2010-2017. Currently, business angels invest annually in over 300 startups.
”Last year business angels have invested a large amount of private capital and valuable know-how in startups.” says FiBAN’s Managing Director Reidar Wasenius. Business angels usually join a company at a stage when the investment risk is relatively high. “Support is needed especially early on to overcome ‘the valley of death’ and to accelerate growth” Wasenius adds.
Another important part of angel investment, beside funding, is bringing the know-how to the startup’s operations. Typically an active and professional business angel invests ten hours a month per company (The Profitability of Business Angel Investment, FiBAN 2017). As a business angel’s investment portfolio consists of multiple companies, the time invested per company is limited.
In addition to active investments, there are now even more alternatives for business angels to diversify their investment portfolios. New funding channels open new ways to invest passively, which leaves more time to focus on working with active investments. Business angels can concentrate to accelerate specific carefully chosen companies from their portfolios more actively. “Funding channels are in transition and business angels’ investment tools are diversifying. Investors, entrepreneurs, and the whole economy will benefit when capital moves more effortlessly.” says Wasenius.
What Kind of Investments Does a Typical Business Angel Make?
Business angel statistics of 2017 show that the investment median per angel is 20 000 euros, which brings for an angel a 1,28% share of a company. The whole investment round, along with other business angels, has a median of 200 000 euros with the valuation of around 1 million. Business angels in Finland make an average of 1,9 investments per year. In total, 218 business angels announced that they made investments in 2017.
New companies are carefully chosen to the investing portfolio. “Finnish business angels and venture capitalists are more selective when choosing their investment objects. This development has also been seen in the US and Europe in the early stage investments” states Wasenius.
The median investment in 2017 has remained in the same level as the previous years. Comparison of the statistics sheds light on the typical profile of a Finnish business angel is like. “According to our estimations, business angels in Finland invest annually around 30 million euros in over 300 startups” Wasenius recaps.
The total amount of direct investments in 2016 was exceptionally high, 53 million euros. This was explained by a couple of particularly high investments. In 2017, the total sum of investments returned to 26 million euros, so it is back in our estimated annual 30 million euro level. The number of statistical investments has increased to around 600 while the amount of startups that received investments stayed in the level of 300, which is about the same as previous years. Now that FiBAN has been collecting the statistics for several years, we can already see that some companies have received additional funding rounds from business angels. Also, the growth of co-investments can be seen. The development follows a good direction and supports angel investors risk diversification.
Currently, Finland does not have a direct tax incentive model for investments as Norway and England have, for instance. This is one of the things that according to FiBAN should absolutely be fixed in order to ensure economic viability.
Internationalization Has Reached New Heights
The investment statistics of 2017 verifies a long-term trend of internationalization of investing. Finnish startups and early stage growth companies have successfully managed to attract 208 million euros of foreign capital to Finland. From the perspective of an entrepreneur looking for funding, this is a major change as foreign investments total sum of investments in local companies has almost increased by tenfold since 2010.
“FiBAN has always been one of the most international angel networks. Furthermore, we are now taking the internationalization to the next level.” says FiBAN’s chair Janne Jormalainen about the development of internationalization. There is a Nordic promoting angel investing NordicBAN that has come from FiBAN, which is led by one of FiBAN’s founders, Claes Mikko Nilsen. FiBAN has also started this year a new Nordic Angel Program, which aims to train business angels for cross-border investing. The Internationalisation Award of the President of the Republic of Finland was awarded to FiBAN in 2017 as an acknowledgment of the support of internationalizing companies.
“In seven years, FiBAN has grown to an organization with over 650 business angels, which is Europe’s largest and most active business angel networks.” says Jormalainen. The organization’s aim is to promote private investors making investments in unlisted potential growth companies. The purpose of the action is to develop startup investing by organizing trainings and events, networking with angels, and by promoting collaboration between growth companies and angel investors.
“FiBAN’s startup concentrated deal flow offers a very effective way to seek funding. A business angel can also be a gateway to other funders both locally and internationally” Jormalainen emphasizes. “It is essential to remember to not only look at the euros that the business angel invests. What is much more significant, is what else the knowledged and networked business angel can give to the company” he concludes.
FiBAN’s Managing Director
+358 400 432 100, reidar.wasenius(at)fiban.org
FiBAN’s Chair of the Board
Finnish Business Angels Network (FiBAN) is a Finnish, non-profit association inspiring private startup investing. The network consists of over 650 approved investor members actively seeking new growth companies. FiBAN is a member of the European Business Angels Network (EBAN) and was chosen as the Business Angel Network of the Year in 2012 and 2014. The President of the Republic of Finland awarded the Presidential Internationalization Award 2017 to FiBAN. www.fiban.org.