When looking for money, the path is so clear in todays startup ecosystem that startups often overlook alternative possibilities. When you are just starting out all you do is try to find friends, family and other fools. Later, you look for angel investors. Once you are ready to scale, you think that reaching out to VC’s directly is your only way forward. Each following round is labeled and you “know” which investors to look for.

Although this clarity is good, it also makes startups unaware of where else they could look for funding and investors. For instance, if we told you that a single Finnish organization facilitated over €250 million worth investments over the course of seven years with an impressive €29.7 million in 2015, you would probably be hard pressed to figure out which “investor” it is.

The reason being is that it was not an investor per say, but Helsinki Business Hub’s Investor Services that helps later stage startups from Finland to connect with investors and facilitate deal flow. Without charging either side for the help.

Good investing is people business and money is made through knowing the right people. So when you are starting to scale your business and looking for your first international funding round – it is often best to start figuring out how you can get those warm introductions to the right people as opposed to spamming every investor on a random Google Sheet list that you found somewhere.


Image: Shutterstock, Logo: Helsinki Business Hub

However, you need to start somewhere and if you look around, there is probably someone that can help. HBH Investor Services currently has a portfolio of 450+ potentially VC fundable startups from Finland that they track. On the other side of the equation, they consistently talk to 60 international investors.

To get a glimpse into how the organization works, we met up with Timo Felin from Helsinki Business Hub, who gave us a look into just how personal they try to make it.

“For instance I met with Chrys Chrysanthou from Notion Capital last year around June. We’d noticed that they have their scope on the Nordics so we sat down in his office and went through in detail the kind of company profile they are looking for. Since then I’ve been in contact with him monthly regarding news from Finland and growth company leads,” says Felin and continues:

“Chrys was interviewed recently by a third party and he mentioned how the information we provide is perfect and it makes him happy to get email from us. This is the kind of feedback that lets us know we’re on the right track. In time we’re confident it will materialise into investments such as the one made in M-Files, in which two of our network members took part, Draper Esprit and Partech Ventures.”

So when you sit down and start planning your next international funding round, and planning it you should, think of all the ways in which you can make it happen. Look at supporting organisations, events, people who can get you warm introductions, and alternative sources of funding and if you are in Finland Helsinki – reach out to HBH Investor Services.

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