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Finland: The Next Tech Hub?


Patrik Backman, General Partner at OpenOcean explores…

Finland’s technology landscape is currently experiencing an incredibly prosperous period. At the end of 2020, the country ranked second in capital investments per capita in Europe. Historically, Finland has always produced strong engineers and mathematicians, yet it lacked commercial acumen until about 20 years ago.

In a country with less than six million people, Finland has become the home to a handful of unicorns and host to a thriving technology ecosystem.

What is in the Finnish sauce?

Our foundation for success is steeped in the spirit of collaboration. We boast the best education system, the finest public services and highest rate of digital skills. The country has shared values of equality, freedom and education that underpin all business and growth activities.

Finnish founders emerged from the shadows in recent years which is in large part down to the country’s unparalleled commitment to fostering an inclusive and collaborative tech ecosystem with strong support from Universities and former business leaders. Everyone has access to quality education, our engineering Universities are among the top in the world and successful tech leaders continually nurture the start-up community.

The most influential Finnish technology innovation over the past 30 years is Linux, Linus Torvalds’ open-source operating system, which serves as a powerful example of the incredible work achieved by Finnish minds in recent times. Today, several Finnish technology companies have achieved their place on the world stage, including MySQL, Supercell, MariaDB, Supermetrics, Wolt, Aiven, and Smartly.

Fostering future growth

The future looks bright here in Finland as we continue to go from strength to strength in data economy utilisation. Finland’s strong engineer and developer foundation ensures that the nation remains a European leader in the deep tech field and AI research. As the quantum realm edges closer by the day, Finland will sit at the forefront of its European innovation.

Capital attraction into Europe needs to multiply to guarantee that the Finnish tech scene continues to mature at this rate. To achieve this, Finnish founders need to attract the best investors possible, who can offer counsel, connections and experience to help companies rapidly scale.

Founders must remain focused on operating competitively from the outset, provide clarity of their product and go-to-market strategies and establish a solid plan to ultimately penetrate the global market. It is important to reiterate that consistent collaboration at events, like Slush – where start-ups can foster cooperation among each other and enterprises, will be paramount for the future of Finland’s tech scene.


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