After a fairly slow Q1, Q2 saw a spike in Finnish investments, making our prediction (made at the end of 2016) of Finland having a strong 2017 look far more credible, as the second quarter of this year ended up with 32 investments totalling $96.9 million.
A quick note on methodology before we begin:
* We only record private minority (equity and loan) investments into Finnish tech companies
Despite not reaching the heights of Q4 2016, Q2 2017 was a very good quarter for Finland for the number of investments when compared to previous ones. Q4 is always strong due to Finnish companies positioning funding announcements around Slush, meaning the year is always bottom heavy in this respect. Therefore, Q2 is either fighting against the norm, simply an anomaly or an indicator that this could be a record funding year for the Finnish ecosystem.
For what it’s worth, while it is too early to be certain, our money is on the latter. This line of reasoning is also supported by the fact that Q2 2017 has a 52.3% year on year growth with Q2 2016, significantly ahead of the 23.9% increase seen across the region. When you factor in the potential Slush effect, and subsequently that H1 2016 represented just 37% of the year’s final total, then Finland could be on course for 140-150 investments this year, easily clear of last year’s record year of 99.
The increased number of investments also led to a strong quarter for capital raised, with nearly double the amount invested that Q1 witnessed. However, despite this, it is also worth noting that H1 2016 raised more than H1 2017, indicating that although the number of investments has increased, the earlier-stages are responsible for the majority of this. As it stands it is more than feasible that 2017 will see less capital invested than last year, even with a record year for the number of investments.
If we look at the sizes of the investments that are happening, it provides us with a fairly healthy picture of a funding pipeline that has investments occurring across a number of ranges and stages. The vast majority however are happening in the $1-3 million range, in fact, not far off 1 in 3 Finnish investments are in this size range, it’s no coincidence perhaps that this is the sweet spot for a lot of the domestic Finnish VCs.
Interestingly, Energy secured as many investments as the usual suspects of Enterprise SaaS and Health and Wellness did, demonstrating that for those interested in a sector that is increasingly becoming more and more popular amongst investors looking at the Nordics, that Finland might be a good place to look.
MariaDB provided Finland with its only investments above $20 million, while MaaS Global and BetterDoctor were the other two to come in at above $10 million. These 5 investments actually accounted for 67.8% of the total capital invested in Q2.
It was Helsinki who was driving the growth in investments in Q2. Normally we see more of a split with Oulu, Tampere and Turku picking up more of the slack, however only Espoo outside of Helsinki (literally and figuratively) recorded more than one investment. Helsinki represented 65.6% of the investments, compared to the 58.6% across 2016.
International interest remains high in Finland, with nearly 1 in 3 Finnish investments including an investor from outside of the Nordics. The Finnish startup scene has an excellent reputation and brand internationally, which no doubt serves it well in this regard.
In conclusion, Q2 was a very promising quarter for Finland and hints at a strong 2017. Combine that with Denmark’s relatively poor Q2 and it could even set Finland up for reclaiming second spot behind Sweden in terms of the Nordic hubs with the most active investment ecosystems.