Finland

Helsinki Metropolitan Area

MEMBERS:
City of Espoo City of Helsinki City of Vantaa

"Helsinki Metropolitan Area delivers the kind of innovation the world needs. We believe in trust-based and radically multidisciplinary collaboration that drives purpose-based growth. Innovation is driven by the well-being of empowered people."

Harri Paananen
Director of Economic Development, City of Espoo
#4 European Ecosystem in Performance
Top 10 European Ecosystem in Talent & Experience
Top 10 European Ecosystem in Funding

Highlights

Finland may have a population of just 5.5 million, but the country has a proven ability to turn out global startup success stories from Nokia and Rovio to Wolt and KONE. Some 4,000 startups are currently located in the country, and the Helsinki Metropolitan Area is the beating heart of its startup scene.


Slush, a student-run tech conference, brings international and domestic entrepreneurs and investors to Helsinki every November. Junction started out here as a single hackathon, but has developed into a series of tech events around the world. The Otaniemi-Keilaniemi area in Espoo is an innovation hub — home to startups, corporations, and R&D institutions including Aalto University and the Technological Research Centre of Finland VTT.


In recent years, several domestic venture capital funds with more than €100 million ($109 million) in assets have emerged in Finland. Longtime players in the local investment scene have also successfully marketed the nation to global investors. Finnish companies received €929 million (around $1 billion) in private investment in the first half of 2021, an all-time high. The average investment in Helsinki area startups is now $408,000 at seed stage and $2.7 million at Series. A. Many Helsinki area accelerators and incubators, including Nordea Startup Accelerator and Kiuas, invest in early-stage startups. Government start-up grants offer new entrepreneurs around €700 ($763) per month for 12 months while they get their businesses off the ground. With its track record of producing unicorns, Finland also now has serial entrepreneurs who are reinvesting the money they made from successful exits in the country’s ecosystem.

Ecosystem by the Numbers

TOTAL EARLY STAGE FUNDING
(2019H2-2021)
$950 m
GLOBAL AVG.
$687 m
ECOSYSTEM VALUE
(2019H2-2021)
$25 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$28.6 bn
MEDIAN SEED ROUND (2019H2-2021)
$746 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$671 k
MEDIAN SERIES A ROUND (2019H2-2021)
$2.4 m
GLOBAL AVG.
$4.7 m
SOFT. ENGINEER SALARY (2021)
$54 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$46 k
14 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
11.3 bn
163
GLOBAL AVG.
101
Amount ($)
Count (#)

Exits

(2017-2021)
EARLY-STAGE FUNDING GROWTH TIER (2018/19 VS. 2020/21)
5
Calculated on a scale of
1 (lowest) to 10 (highest)
TOTAL VC FUNDING (2017-2021)
$4.8 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$4.5 bn
TIME TO EXIT (2017-2021)
8.9 years
GLOBAL AVG.
9.4 years

Sub-Sector Strengths

Digital Health

Finland is a global leader in Digital Health, with Bayer, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Fujitsu, and GE Healthcare choosing the country for R&D centers of excellence. Business Finland’s €12 million ($13.1 million) E3 initiative aims to combat future pandemics. CleverHealth Network brings together government, clinicians, companies, and startups to develop health solutions. Finland will host the 2022 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society European Health Conference. Success stories include Deep Sensing Algorithms, makers of the world’s first rapid COVID-19 detection technology that analyzes exhaled breath. Aiforia, a provider of AI-based solutions for clinical diagnostics, raised a €17.5 million ($19.1 million) Series B in September 2021.

AI, Big Data & Analytics

According to Business Finland, there are over 300 AI startups in Finland and the top 30 companies are doubling their growth each year. The number of people working at AI startups in Finland is shooting up 33% each year. The Finnish AI Accelerator, the Tampere AI Hub, and the AI Academy at University of Turku are all driving AI commercialization in the country. Finnish universities offer top-level AI education. The Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence is a community of AI experts in Finland, initiated by Aalto University, University of Helsinki, and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Database-as-a-service platform Aiven raised a $60 million Series C in October 2021, putting the company's pre-money valuation at $1.9 billion.

Gaming

Finland is home to Scandinavia’s biggest gaming industry. AMD, Nvidia, EA, Ubisoft, Unity, and Zynga all have a presence in Finland. More than 3,000 people are employed in the Gaming industry in Finland and nearly one quarter of Finland’s game developers are foreign born. Over 20 universities in the county offer programs in Gaming, attracting students from around the world. Gaming startup Return Entertainment closed a €5.3 million ($5.8 million) funding round in February 2022. Mobile game studio Metacore has raised $218 million over six rounds.

Reasons to Move Your Startup to Helsinki Metropolitan Area

Access to Talent

Finland’s educational system is among the best in the world, and the Helsinki area consistently ranks in the European top 10 for productivity and global competitiveness. The Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2021 from INSEAD ranked Finland #7 among 134 countries globally, citing the workforce’s strong technical skills among other strengths. Aalto University rose 15 places in the QS World University Rankings from 2020 to 2021 and now ranks #63 worldwide in research impact. The Otaniemi-Keilaniemi area is home to 800 companies and R&D actors, including Aalto University and the VTT Technological Research Centre of Finland.


Ease of Doing Business

Finland's corporate tax rate of 20% is among the lowest in the EU and the lowest among the Nordic countries. Finland is also offering new tax deductions for companies operating in the country. Business Finland provides low-interest loans and grants to innovative companies with global growth potential, as well as funding for R&D work carried out by companies, research organizations, and the public sector. The Aalto Entrepreneurship Society has helped nurture startup success stories such as Wolt and accelerator Kiuas.

Quality of Life

Finland has been ranked the world’s happiest country for the five years in a row, and Espoo, just west of Helsinki, has been ranked as one of Europe’s most sustainable cities. Human wellbeing is among the best in the world. According to BMI Research, Finland will remain one of the world’s most politically stable countries at least through 2025. Finland is also a high-trust society: in 2019, 64% of the population reported trusting the government, compared to an OECD average of 45%.

Selected Startup Organizations

Startup Genome Members

MEMBER
City of Vantaa

Vantaa is an innovative city of sustainable growth and was elected as the rising innovative city in Europe in 2021. Aviapolis is also a logistics hub and an innovative future airport city, combining residential area, business opportunities, and the airport. To enhance the dialogue between the city, businesses and higher education institutions, Vantaa operates within business ecosystems. The purpose of these Key Business Clusters is to create connections between companies of all sizes, from startups to industry leaders. The aim is to create new business opportunities by sharing knowledge, new ideas, and innovations.

Key Ecosystem Players

Startup Genome
Partners

A Grid
Aalto Entrepreneurship Society (Aaltoes)
Arctic15
Business Espoo
Enter Espoo, Kiuas, Junction
Helsinki Education Hub
Maria01
Slush
Terkko Health hub

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