Heikki Väänanen, CEO & Founder | HappyOrNot
WIRED’s Hottest Startups, which celebrates the best European technology hubs, has been published online today, and we at HappyOrNot are honoured and privileged to have been chosen as one of the magazine’s best Finnish companies.
Finland has a proud history of technological innovation, and boasts some of the finest engineers, developers and research on the continent. In 2017 a record €349 million was invested in our startups, according to FiBAN which partnered with the Finnish Venture Capital Association (FVCA).
So what makes Finland such a hotbed for technology?
Despite only having a population of 5.54m, lower than that of London, Finland has been the birthplace of some of the world’s leading technology companies and startups, from Nokia to Rovio and Supercell, and of course ourselves! Let’s not forget that we also host Slush, one of the most important tech conferences in the calendar, which draws in startups and VC firms from all over the world.
We owe a lot to the lasting legacy of Nokia, which was founded in HappyOrNot’s hometown of Tampere, Finland way back in 1865. Nokia transformed (or to use today’s terminology, pivoted) itself from a pulp mill to one of the world’s largest and important technology companies, and truly put our country on the world stage. It inspired countless people to get involved in technology, something which resonates as much today as it did 50 years ago. The knock on effect cannot be underestimated, with so many brilliantly talented startup workers cutting their teeth at the company, and then going on to found their own startups.
There’s also the Finnish business principle of ‘sisu’, a combination of various English terms including stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness. Us Finns consider it to express our national character, and you can feel it run through the core of Finnish businesses and startups.
Onnittelut (congratulations) to our fellow Finnish friends who made it onto this esteemed list!