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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Finnish Business Angels Network’s new CEO “Angel investing is a patriotic act”

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Finnish Business Angels Network (FiBAN) has appointed a new CEO, Tiina Laisi-Puheloinen, who’s not afraid to be a pioneer and drives a vintage Beetle she purchased “at a price of a Cognac bottle.”

In May, Tiina Laisi-Puheloinen will step into the shoes of the CEO of FiBAN, the largest angel investor network in Europe. She saw the opportunity at FiBAN to develop the startup field and make the role of angel investors more visible in society.

“Angels play a key role in the growth of startups before they receive follow-on funding, and it is a prerequisite for the survival of many startups,” she says.

Visionary thinking and professionalism

Tiina Laisi-Puheloinen describes herself as positive and energetic, which fits well in the startup field.

“I have lived and breathed the startup world and seen first-hand how to look for funding. When the position of CEO of FiBAN came up, I thought I could have something to contribute to that role. Angel investing in your homeland is a patriotic act,” she adds.

Laisi-Puheloinen’s understanding of the startup field, strong expertise, and visionary thinking also impressed the FiBAN board.

“In the recruitment process, we were looking for a candidate who would bring new perspectives to the development of FiBAN. We were fortunate to have several high-quality applicants apply. We decided to go with a person with essential experience as a startup entrepreneur and strong leadership skills. Additionally, she had excellent credentials as a supervisor,” chair of the board Kim Väisänen and board member Eljas Repo say.

From the Finnish Defense Forces to leadership and startup pitching

Laisi-Puheloinen has bravely taken new turns in her career. Previously, she worked in the Finnish Defense Forces and held leadership positions in several well-known Finnish companies.

“I began my career in the defense forces and moved to the commercial side in 2005. My career path took me from leading Monster and Sanoma Digital’s business and various other digital businesses, all the way to international leadership positions in the furniture company Isku, until my path led me to the startup company Priceff,” she continues. 

She was supposed to join Priceff “just to help a little bit for a short time.” 

Five years later, she realized that the startup world had taken over, and her path merged with FiBAN’s.

“Suddenly, I was a shareholder and chairman of the board of Priceff, and in the next turn, I was pitching to FiBAN investors as CEO. Two of Priceff’s investors were found through FiBAN,” she describes.

Perspectives from the entrepreneur background: “Everyone should try startup entrepreneurship”

Laisi-Puheloinen has extensive experience in multiple types of startup roles. Working in a startup requires an unwavering attitude and versatile skills, she states: “In a small company, you have to be able to do everything,” she says. 

“I claim that startup entrepreneurship is the toughest game in the world. Those who think that startups make money easily should try starting from scratch. It would be good for everyone to try startup entrepreneurship sometime to learn what it takes to make money. It’s far from lazing around,” she points out.

She describes her core values as openness, honesty, and positivity. When she’s not hunting or exercising in her free time, she spends her summers cruising around with her red 1972 Beetle, the same car she learned to drive with. 

“I bought the Beetle from my father for the price of a bottle of cognac. I have since restored it, and it certainly wasn’t a financially sound investment. But some investments are best when made without thinking of the cost too much,” she says.

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Jan Ameri
Jan Ameri
Entrepreneur-by-heart – and by actions since 1998. Being an expert in spotting new opportunities and creating new concepts, Jan has been a partner or co-founder in seven different companies in various industries. In the early 2000’s he was pioneering some of the very first WAP, SMS, and interactive TV based wireless games and fantasy sports games in the Nordic countries. Jan loves to watch Shark Tank and The Profit in his free time. And he is an FC Barcelona fan.

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