Finland has seen a boom in the startup scene recently, and the numbers are there to back that up. European tech blog ArcticStartup made some calculations and found that Finland had the highest average venture capital investment per capita last year when compared to the other Nordic nations, standing at $46. Sweden took the second place with about $45 per capita.
The reason? Wilhelm Taht, marketing director of band-dedicated social network Flowd, Finland thinks that it all has to do with Nokia’s change of focus now that competition has drastically reduced its market share, and it’s becoming more focused on strengthening its ties with Microsoft.
“With Nokia changing gear there is a lot of technical know-how all of a sudden which wasn’t available even two years ago,” said Mr. Taht, diplomatically, about the savage job cuts at the struggling mobile phone giant. “There’s a culture of technically savvy engineers.”
Nokia has built up a very large pool of mobile R&D talent throughout the past two decades. Now that the phonemaker is cutting costs and is laying off a large portion of its employees, these individuals are back out on the market. Suddenly startups have become a very attractive option for job seekers, especially in light of the global success of Angry Birds developer Rovio, crowdsourcing service Microtask, and other Finland-based companies have seen.
The contributions this new talent can make and ideas it can bring in help entrepreneurs attract VCs, and spur serial entrepreneurs that go out and invest in other startups. This triggers a sort of chain reaction, or a “much more balanced situation,” says Tommi Laitinen, SVP at band-centric social network.
Not every startup manages to accomplish its goals, but the Startup Sauna, a travelling seed acceleration program, did find quite a few that had potential among the 180 applicants it received this year–about three times more than the number of candidates last year.