Finland attracts global VC to setup in the Nordics

In recent years the Nordic region has gained a veritable reputation as a hotbed for innovative startups. This reputation has now attracted also the first international venture capital (VC) company to set up office in Finland.

Northern expertise

Since Ventech was founded in Paris in 1998, the firm has raised over 650 million euros in its funds, opened offices in Munich and Shanghai and invested in over 120 companies in Europe, China, Russia and the US.

“We only invest in technology companies, but on a very wide scale from basic infrastructure and components to online marketplaces, web and mobile applications,” says Mennander. “These are all areas where the Nordics particularly have plenty of interesting things to offer.”

In Finland Mennander highlights digital health, software, mobile and cloud expertise as strong sectors. He believes Finns easily match their American counterparts in technical and business skills and believes the local startup scene has benefitted from former Nokia employees pouring their know-how into new ventures.

“There are plenty of potential investment targets in Finland,” Mennander explains. “The success of mobile gaming companies has been very visible in the news, but there is a lot more than that.”

Ventech is not the only investor to spot this. While the VC firm prefers control over funding rounds, it does not rule out partnering with other local investors when they add value into a round.

Product, team and a vision

While Ventech’s Helsinki office is currently a one man operation, Mennander is far from alone in scouting potential investment targets. With a 25-year career in the tech sector (previously as the CEO of Finnish fitness tech company Pulse On) Mennander’s extensive contact network is being put to good use.

“Ventech also does a lot of research and its analysts examine a variety of interesting sectors where there could be new business opportunities,” Mennander explains. “We then proactively look for companies which fit that bill.”

Still being in the right sector is not enough to capture the interest of a major VC. Ventech also stresses the importance of scalability in its potential targets. A competitive product must have the ability to become a global brand backed by a strong core team and customer base.

“Of course we look at the management team, that they have a suitable track record and expertise from that industry and market,” Mennander adds. “The third thing is a clear business plan and vision for how to proceed during the next two to three years. We will hone the business plan together, but the management needs to have their own strong vision on how the business should grow.”

Follow these tips and you might just find yourself talking serious business with Mennander.

Text: Eeva Haaramo


This article has been published in cooperation with Good News Finland