Just recently, Inc. magazine published the 5000 fastest growing companies in Europe with minimum revenue of two million euros, and it was striking to notice that there were no or very few venture-backed companies from Finland.
According to a study on “Industry clockspeed's impact on business innovation success factors” published in the European Journal of Innovation Management, industry clockspeed has been considered a possible moderator of innovation success. The results provide clear evidence about the importance of industry clockspeed as a moderator of the relationships between strategic leadership, competitive intelligence, management of technology and company's innovation process. There is room for improvement in this space in Finland, especially when also taking into account the relatively rigid market for workforce.
Invest Europe (former EVCA) compiles statistics about exit activity on venture-backed companies in Europe. Without going too deep into the comparability of the data from different countries, it seems that we have room for improvement on this front as well.
The world is still getting smaller – we have the relative advantage
Finland has been described as a small, capital-poor market with a peripheral location characterized by harsh weather and a difficult local language. Development of global communication, travel, logistics, quality of the workforce and many other key assets have changed the conditions for the better in building growth enterprises, and none of the above factors remain real obstacles today.
Technology is less capital-intensive and much more accessible than ever before for anyone to utilize or develop further. It is no longer a privilege of the corporate world alone. Digitalization and real opportunities for creating disruption are major enablers of growth entrepreneurship today. Disruption and entrepreneurship are, and should be, on everyone’s agenda today in one way or another. Disruption is not only about technology and ever-changing business models, it affects working life and customer needs, among other things.
In order to get venture capital industry on healthy ground, we need to see more critical mass with good exits. This would keep the limited partners who invest in venture funds interested in this asset class for the longer term as well. This, in turn, would create much desired growth in this country.