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Impact Report is out: looking good in revenue and funding but not in the meaning of gender diversity

Startup Foundation and Startup Finland published a report that covers the Finland-based impact startups. These startups were analyzed by their business revenue growth, amount of funding they received, employee numbers along with other criteria including age, location, gender balance in founding teams and in terms of funding raised. The Finnish Impact Startups Report 2022 is based on 318 companies in different industries that consist of cleantech, climatetech, energy, new materials, consumer goods & marketplace, data and analytics, edtech, healthtech, medtech, foodtech, mobility and other.

Among the chosen companies, the most popular industry was healthtech with 59 companies while cleantech took the last place in the list with 4.

The smallest rounds in terms of total amount on external equity-based funding were raised by edtech companies. However impact startups won the leadership on this category. Yes, it is upsetting to see edtechs cannot find enough support right now but it is good to know the efforts of those working for nature have been appreciated in recent years.

Here are the top 10 Finnish impact startups with the most funding (a total of approx. €900M) so far:

As for gender balance, it is quite disappointing at this point since startups founded by men raised seven times more funding than the one founded by women. If looking at female-male founder ratio considering the chosen companies, there are 7,5 all-male founded companies for every fully female-founded ones. In total,

all male founded companies: 66%
all female founded companies: 9%
mixed gender founder teams: 12%

The study also shows the most popular location for impact startups in Finland which addresses the city Helsinki with 122 of them. Here are the top 10 with numbers:

  • Helsinki – 122
  • Espoo – 55
  • Tampere – 23
  • Oulu – 19
  • Turku – 15
  • Jyväskylä – 8
  • Vantaa – 8
  • Lappeenranta – 7
  • Kuopio – 4
  • Lahti – 4

Thanks to the report, now we know for sure that impact startups in Finland has been making a good progress so far. As the study suggests, impact startups are doing as great as other startups. The bright side is they are making a change for environment and also society on their way. The numbers in the report refer to a growth of over 65% in terms of compound annual growth rate for the chosen ones.

After a pandemic wind, like all others, impact startups might have troubles on the way to establish a business with the intent of protecting nature and all living creatures in it. Consequently, the outcomes of the study may go another way by the end of the year. But it is safe to say, expecially considering the funding and attention they have been receiving, impact startups would be still in a good shape at the end of the year (hopefully).

Summary of the Finnish Impact Startups Report 2022

The goal of this report was to create more understanding on the state of impact startups in Finland.

The report shows that impact startups have developed significantly in the past years, both in terms of revenue increase and amount of raised funding.

Impact startups are also creating over 60% increase in CAGR from 2017 to 2020. This goes hand in hand with the growth of all startups, based on a study by Finnish Startup Community. Their data shows that startups’ revenue grew 62 % from 2020 to 2021. In 2017, impact startups were creating a bit less than 50 million euros in revenue. In 2020, the same figure was already over 361 million euros. This means that impact startups are potentially growing as well as any other startups, while creating a positive impact on the society or environment.

Although revenue and funding rounds are getting more sizable, this doesn’t correlate with the team sizes. Shortage of talent might have a big impact on impact startups’ capabilities to grow in the next years.

Also, men are seven times more likely to establish an impact startup than females. Gender, and other aspects, of diversity are crucial to company’s success. The report was funded by Google which actively supports and engages in startup initiatives. One of the recent projects in Finland is the collaboration with the Shortcut organization that launched Spark Academy, a training program for female and non-binary entrepreneurs. These initiatives are crucial in order for founder teams becoming more diverse.

New report on Finnish impact startups: companies are growing in revenue and funding, but still lack gender-diverse teams

A new report made in collaboration with Startup Foundation and Startup Finland Ry shows that companies saving the world are good investment and growth opportunities. However, companies are not growing their headcount and mixed founder teams only accounted for 12% of the startups.

Finnish online media Startup100, published by the non-profit association Startup Finland Ry, has published its first ever report on the impact startups from Finland with collaboration with Startup Foundation and Google. The startups were validated as impact startups by comparing their product or service to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and seeing if the company’s solution worked towards any of the listed development goals.

An impact startup can be defined in multiple ways, but according to the Startup Foundation, impact entrepreneurship happens when a company has the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.

The chosen 318 companies were categorized in the following industries: cleantech, climatech, energy, new materials, consumer goods & marketplace, data and analytics, edtech, healthtech, medtech, foodtech, mobility, and other. The most popular industry was healthtech with 59 companies in the category, whereas cleantech only had four companies.

Funding round sizes and revenue rates are growing but not employee numbers

The report shows that impact startups have developed significantly in the past years, both in terms of revenue increase and amount of raised funding. In terms of the biggest funding rounds, the top 10 impact startups, including startups such as Iceye, Swappie, and Oura, have raised almost 900 million euros. While looking at the different categories the average funding round sizes differed significantly.

The smallest rounds were raised in edtech, while the biggest average funding round sizes were in impact startups that handle data and analytics. As many companies data and analytics can be categorized as deep tech startups, as well, the funding raised seems to correlate with State of Nordic Startup’s Report from 2021, which shows that 56% of the Nordic Deep Tech impact companies raise Series A within 36 months of Seed, compared to 32% for other Nordic impact startups.

Impact startups are also creating over 60% increase in CAGR from 2017 to 2020. This goes hand in hand with the growth of all startups, based on a study by Finnish Startup Community. Their data shows that startups’ revenue grew 62 % from 2020 to 2021. In 2017, impact startups were creating a bit less than 50 million euros in revenue. In 2020, the same figure was already over 361 million euros. This means that impact startups are potentially growing as well as any other startups, while creating a positive impact on the society or environment.

Although revenue and funding rounds are getting more sizable, this doesn’t correlate with the team sizes. From companies that had reported their employee numbers, over half only employed 1–5 employees, 35% employed 6–15, and 11% employed 16–50 employees. Based on the data available, only eight companies employed over 50 people – however, different subsidiaries in different countries might affect the information on employee numbers.

Interesting insight on the establishment of impact startups can be found when looking at the founding years on the startups that are in the database. Only approximately 14% of the impact startups that are actively operating today were established between 2019–2022. As it’s close to impossible to track every founded company, the data might not show the whole truth and the year 2022 is not finished yet. However, there’s a reasonable chance that the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down the establishment of new impact startups.

Finnish Impact Startups Report 2022, San Francisco, Juhani Polkko“The coronavirus pandemic might have been the cause for the slowdown of companies founded in general. People were more unsure about their ability to maintain steady income, and the world economy was spiraling down, so it would seem logical that less people wanted to establish a high-risk startup. However, when we look at the rate of growth for impact startups, we strongly believe that more potential founders will see the opportunities here,” says Juhani Polkko, founder and chair of board at Startup Finland Ry.

All-male founding teams over seven times more likely than all-female founding teams

For every fully female-founded impact startup, there were 7,5 all-male founded companies. In total, 66% of companies were all-male founded, 9% female-founded, and 12% had mixed gender founder teams, meaning that there were both females and males in the founding team. For the remaining 13% of the companies’, their founding team couldn’t be determined. Startups founded by men raised seven times more funding per capita than startups founded by women.

This follows the bigger trend of the startup field where female-founders are largely outnumbered by their male counterparts. Additionally, according to WHO, the proportion of VC funding for female-led startups also declined from 2.8% in 2019 to 2.3% in 2020.

The report was funded by Google which actively supports and engages in startup initiatives. One of the recent projects in Finland is the collaboration with the Shortcut organization that launched Spark Academy, a training program for female and non-binary entrepreneurs.

Finnish Impact Startup Report 2022, Google, Heidi Jern

“New study demonstrates how important it is to get a better understanding of the startup ecosystem. With diversity and a more supportive environment for companies, we can also contribute to growth and innovation in Finland”, says Heidi Jern, Google’s Public Policy Manager.


“With this report we wanted to shed light on the impact startups we have in Finland, as most reports look at the whole Nordic ecosystem. After this initial one, we hope to get more comprehensive data for next year. We strongly recommend companies to visit Startup100 website to make sure their company is listed there –that’s the best way to make sure that your startup is taken into account in the report in 2023,” concludes Polkko.

About the Impact Report

The startups were validated as impact startups by comparing their product or service to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and seeing if the company’s solution worked towards any of the listed development goals.

Startups that were included in the report are from Startup100 database, and they were chosen with a qualitative method of analysing their products or services against UN SDG goals. If the company’s service or product matched at least one of the goals it was chosen for the report. 318 companies matched with the criteria.

Data about the companies and their revenue and employee numbers was collected in January–March 2022, and is based on the company’s Crunchbase and Vainu profiles, as well as on other public information sources. Report was sponsored and supported by Startup100, Wicked Helsinki, San Francisco Agency, Bay Area, Vainu, Crunchbase and Google.

Click to read more community news.

Nurcin Metingil
Nurcin Metingil
A permanent student, a passionate first reader and nowadays doing master’s degree in Publishing Management. Beside these, I am up for games! I have been playing games since I was 6. Now, I am whispering "Business. Business. Numbers. Is this working?"

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