Start-ups in Aalto University’s accelerator now worth more than €600 million

28 Mar 2023 | Network Updates | Update from Aalto University
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

Startups that used the Aalto Startup Center business accelerator, which is part of Aalto University, succeed in outperforming the average Finnish businesses year after year when it comes to turnover, profitability and growth in the number of employees. This is revealed by the Aalto Startup Center’s annual report, which looks at the growth rate, growth continuity, profitability, and size of the accelerator’s alumni businesses.

While the covid-19 pandemic worsened the financial outlook of Finnish businesses, the total turnover of the alumni businesses grew by 15% in 2021. All in all, the average turnover of Aalto Startup Center’s alumni businesses has increased sixfold in 20 years now totalling EUR 630 million. The number of the businesses’ employees doubled in 2018–21, amounting to more than 3 000 in 2021.

Software business multiplied its turnover and number of employees in four years

One of the alumni businesses that dramatically increased its number of employees is software company Vertics, established in 2017. The company started out as a two-person firm and now employs 30 people. It is continuously recruiting more employees in an industry where competition for skilled professionals, especially senior ones, is intense. Vertics' turnover will exceed 2 million euros this year.

‘Our recruitment has gone well. In a competitive industry, this shows that we have been able to convince people that our company is a good place to work,’ says Atte Pohjanmaa, CEO and co-founder of Vertics.

Janne Laine, Aalto University’s Vice President for Innovation, confirms that Aalto Startup Center’s businesses are desirable employers.

'They are able to hire skilled professionals because they are creating something that is new and often socially significant. And when the work is meaningful, this will also have a positive effect on the results,' Laine says.

Success is a result of making the right choices

The lifecycles of Aalto Startup Center’s alumni businesses are also longer than the average for startups, as two out of three of them are still operating after the first several years. Aalto Startup Center has acted as a springboard for many success stories in the Finnish business community, such as the gaming company Rovio, the job search website Duunitori, the design firm Design Pole, and the well-being software Cuckoo.

‘This shows that our services have been used by the right kinds of startups, which have been able to scale up with our help. The purpose of the business accelerator is to act as a growth platform for research-based innovations or early-stage startups in various scientific fields,’ says Marika Paakkala, Head of Aalto Startup Center.

‘We have a long experience of business development and a good understanding of how a sustainable and profitable business is established. We have been developing this service concept for more than 25 years together with our highly skilled team of experts and extensive network,’ Paakkala says.

The report involved 293 businesses in various industries that have used the services of Aalto Startup Center. It examined the businesses’ growth on the basis of the rate and continuity of growth and the business’s turnover and profitability. The information about the businesses is based on the statistics collected from the databases of the Finnish Patent and Registration Office, Asiakastieto Oy, and Statistics Finland.

This article was first published on 23 March by Aalto University.

Never miss an update from Science|Business:   Newsletter sign-up