Think Finnish Innovation If You Want To Go Up Against The Norm
The Slush conference in Helsinki is certainly living up to its slushy reputation but it's a good place anyhow for networking and doing deals within Europe. And with the Nordic region accounting for half of the billion-dollar tech exits in Europe, it's a fast-growing startup hub that can't be ignored.
The connections between Finland with tech powers Silicon Valley and Asia are more limited but growing. A chartered plane from the Valley to Helsinki was loaded with venture capitalists making the 14-hour trip to check out what's going on in tech in the Nordic region.
A presentation I attended by Tesi, a key player in the Finnish venture capital and private equity sector, highlighted some interesting facts about rising interest by Asia technology investors in the Nordic region. Though far behind the UK and Ireland, the Nordics ranked second in Europe for technology deals with buyers from Asia, with 20 deals amounting to $14 billion from 2010 to April 2017.
CEO Jan Sasse of Tesi pointed to growing ripples from China into Finnish technology companies. These investments include Baidu in Indoor Altas in 2014, Alibaba in MarjaDB in 2017 and Tencent in Supercell in 2016. Chinese investors have yet to show up as limited partners in Finnish-based funds, however, he noted.
But Finnish companies are looking to China for its large and fast-growing markets. Backed by academics at the University of Helsinki, HEI Schools is taking the acclaimed Finnish early education model to China. It's running a pilot at a school in Baotou, China and is looking to expand in China and elsewhere, including Australia next year.
At Slush, Asia was represented by startups and investors from India, South Korea and Taiwan in the crowds but not many Chinese yet. A growing interest among European startups about breaking into the Chinese market was reflected by the presence of Comb +, which runs an accelerator in Beijing geared around successfully entering China.
The Nordic region prides itself on being small but with a global mindset and a growing ecosystem to support startups. The ecosystem includes commercialization of innovations from the University of Helsinki and funding and support by the government agency Tekes for innovation, R&D projects and work with some 3000 Finnish startups. The Tesi portfolio includes 723 companies and investment totaling Euros 1 billion.
via Forbes - Entrepreneurs http://ift.tt/dTEDZf
November 30, 2017 at 01:35PM