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Thursday, November 30, 2023

What Tech Mahindra’s Double-down in Finland Means for Startups and Talent

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Tech Mahindra, the Indian multinational information technology services and consulting company, expanded its decade-long footprint in Finland on Tuesday with the inauguration of an innovation center in Espoo. Underscoring its commitment to Finland and the Nordic market, the company says its new center will house a diverse workforce, featuring experienced leaders and fresh talent, collaborating with the local ecosystem.

That is, of course, a standard corporate statement designed to appeal to everyone, but what does the move by this 150,000+ employee-strong behemoth really mean for the region? 

Tech Mahindra’s latest expansion into the Finnish tech wonderland isn’t just about chasing the Northern Lights – it’s arguably about capturing the bright sparks of the Finnish tech scene.

The decision to expand its operations into Finland over recent years wasn’t just a random dart thrown at a world map. It was always a strategic move into a country known for its tech prowess, innovation, and a knack for staying ahead in the global tech game.

Nordic innovation at Tech Mahindra’s fingertips

Finland is known for fostering cutting-edge developments in areas such as 5G, IoT, clean technology, and emerging tech, which include Tech Mahindra’s current interests – quantum computing, generative AI, and the metaverse. This latest move provides access to a rich talent pool, offering opportunities for job creation, in addition to partnerships with existing startups.

Unlike some corporations, who talk a good partnership game but act differently, the Indian tech giant has a history of collaboration, investment, and incubation. In August this year, it partnered with Multiverse Computing to bring quantum solutions to Tech Mahindra clients. It’s the latest in a string of alliances and associations designed to strengthen its expertise and reach in emerging tech worldwide.

But there’s always another side to every double-edged sword. Especially a publicly traded one.

Wounded tigers can act desperately

In July, the company reported an unexpected 39% decline in first-quarter earnings due to clients’ reduced spending, driven by challenging macroeconomic conditions.

When a major technology company experiences an unexpected and substantial profit decline, it can have a ripple effect on the startup industry. Funding becomes more challenging to secure, exit opportunities may diminish, and heightened pressure from that struggling corporation – which needs to answer to its shareholders – can impact market dynamics and turn them from collaborator to competitor.

Talent retention can become a concern, market sentiment may waver, regulatory scrutiny may increase, and overall risk aversion among investors and customers may rise. This altered landscape forced by such a large player means startups have to learn to adapt and navigate a more uncertain business environment due to the wounded giant’s global results, and not just age-old, local and national challenges. 

So while the significance of a new facility opening in Espoo is potentially positive for Finland and the Nordics in general, startups also need to be aware of the local impact a colossus can have when there’s a downturn in fortunes. 

It’s a journey worth watching, as it has the potential to create tech wonders that can make even the Northern Lights jealous. But the Finnish tech scene might just need extra “sisu” – that touch of Finnish resilience and determination – to weather conditions if Tech Mahindra has more shareholder surprises in its future.

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Stewart Rogers
Stewart Rogers
Stewart Rogers, Editor-at-Large at ArcticStartup, is a journalist, analyst, public speaker, author, startup founder, musician, and "digital nomad." Rogers is best known for his speeches and work on mental health in the tech industry. He helps to shine a light on a serious issue and provides those that need it with the help and support required to stay alive and at their best. Other than his mental health keynote, he speaks on topics such as AI, AR, and other emerging technologies. A former analyst for VentureBeat, Rogers uses the latest research and data to explain what is happening both now and next. He is also Editor-at-Large at Dataconomy, and co-founder at Confusion&Joy, a creator impact house that serves as the antidote to "darketing."

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