How can we attract more foreign Angels to Helsinki?

Entrepreneurs will tell you: one of the biggest strengths of the Helsinki startup ecosystem is our highly active local angel network, FiBAN. These 600+ members are critical to our startup ecosystem because they function as the starter motor that gives our entrepreneurs runway to test out their ideas, provide a sounding board for ideas, and offer a deep network of contact and potential clients.

On the European level, we are spoiled with FiBAN. But looking big picture it’s not enough to compare ourselves as slightly better than, say, Denmark’s angel investment scene. We should aim to attract as much capital as Silicon Valley, London, Singapore, and other startup capitals. 

The easiest way to increase the investment supply is through foreign capital. On the VC side, we’re already there! The Finnish Venture Capital Association recently published their annual report, finding that since 2013, more than half of the funding raised by Finnish Startups came from outside Finland. That’s one big contributor to why Finland raises the highest VC funding per capita in Europe.

Looking earlier stage with seed and angel rounds, it will take a group effort to attract more capital to Helsinki. One reason is that foreign Angel investors are tough to find in the wild- Angel Investors, don’t necessarily have a webpage to source deal flow, they invest through their networks! But at HBH we’ve seen how Helsinki’s entrepreneurs have kept the perspective that a rising tide lifts all boats. When entrepreneurs talk to foreign investors, Finns aren’t defensive about their contacts, and that’s a huge strength.

At Helsinki Business Hub we’re also looking to help grease the wheels where possible. As a city-owned organization, we’re in contact with VC firms every day through our Deal Flow Tool, a proprietary database of Helsinki startups we proactively match with foreign investors. 

Historically we’ve focused on promoting Helsinki startups looking for funding rounds €1 million and up, but we’ve expanded over the pandemic to serve Helsinki’s earlier-stage entrepreneurs. We send deal flow to Angels, run angel-focused events with organizations like Arctic15 and Node By Slush, and connect angels to their own deal sources (for instance, mentoring opportunities at local accelerators). 

If you’re in contact with any great angel investors, let them know that we’re here to serve them and help the Helsinki startup ecosystem succeed.