8 Reasons Japanese investors should consider Finnish impact startups 

Why should Japanese investors invest in Finnish impact startups? Learn how these startups offer sustainable solutions, are ready to scale globally, and face less competition in the impact space, making them a unique investment opportunity. 

In recent years, Japanese investors have been showing an increased interest in startups around the world. Finland, in particular, has been gaining attention due to the thriving impact startup scene. These startups, focused on creating sustainable solutions in various sectors, are attracting investors looking to make a positive impact while still making a profit. 

Helsinki Partners in Japan  

Looking for insights into the Japanese startup ecosystem, a delegation from Helsinki Partners made its way to Tokyo and Fukuoka Japan in December 2022.  

While there, our team had the opportunity to observe and participate in a series of meetings and events with local investors, entrepreneurs, and government officials, gathering valuable knowledge and connections.  

Among the guest speakers was Tomosaku Sohara, Managing Partner of NordicNinja VC, who shared his experience working and investing in deeptech startups in the Nordics.

The market in Finland is so small that from the start so companies have to be born global. In Japan, companies don’t have to even think about going abroad because the market’s so large, they don’t have to scale outside of Japan. Finland’s the opposite.

Tomosaku Sohara, Managing Partner of NordicNinja VC

The team’s interactions with local investors, entrepreneurs, and government officials provided valuable insights into current investment trends and opportunities in Japan. From these observations, Helsinki Partners identified several key trends that are shaping the investment landscape and are set to drive growth in the coming years.  

Key trends shaping the investment landscape in Japan  

  1. Digital Transformation: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of digital transformation in Japan, leading to increased investment in technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things. 
  1. Renewable Energy: Japan is investing heavily in renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower. The government has set a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, and this is driving investment in clean energy technologies. 
  1. Healthcare: Japan has an ageing population and a high demand for healthcare services, making the healthcare sector a key area of investment. Japanese investors are increasingly looking for opportunities to invest in healthcare startups and medical technologies. 
  1. ESG Investing: Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing is becoming increasingly popular in Japan. Investors are looking for opportunities to align their investments with their values and support companies that are making a positive impact on society and the environment. 

While investment trends can change quickly, these areas are expected to remain attractive for investors in the coming years. Based on these trends Helsinki is a natural fit for Japanese investors looking for international investment opportunities. 

8 Reasons Japanese investors should invest in Finnish impact startups   

Advanced digital technologies  

Finland is widely recognized as a leader in technology and innovation, with a rich history of producing world-class companies and technologies. Finnish startups are known for their cutting-edge solutions in areas such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and 5G.

The Finnish government and universities provide strong support for innovation and research, which drives the development of advanced digital technologies. This has resulted in a thriving startup ecosystem that is home to several fast-growing technology companies, like ICEYE, Swappie, OURA, among others

Strong startup ecosystem  

Finland has a thriving startup ecosystem that is supported by the government, universities, and the private sector. This provides Japanese investors with access to a pipeline of innovative impact startups. 

The country’s supportive ecosystem, including access to funding and mentorship, also enables startups to grow and succeed. Additionally, the Finnish government has made sustainability a priority, which has helped create a culture of innovation and a favourable environment for impact startups. 

Innovative research in health technology  

Finland has advanced innovations in HealthTech, making it a hub for companies looking to revolutionize healthcare. The Finnish healthcare system is widely recognized as one of the best in the world, providing high-quality care to its citizens.  

The Finnish government and universities have invested heavily in research and development in the health tech sector, driving the development of innovative solutions. As a result, Finland has a booming startup ecosystem that is focused on developing cutting-edge health tech solutions. 

High-quality talent 

Finland is known for its highly educated and skilled workforce, which is critical for the success of impact startups. Investors can benefit from this pool of talented individuals when investing in Finnish startups. 

The Helsinki region inhabitants have completed an average over 4 years of post-comprehensive level education and Finnish students are consistently ranked amongst the smartest on the planet.   

Finns have the work ethic and trans-sectorial skills needed to succeed in the knowledge-intensive businesses of the global economy.   

Innovative business models  

Finnish impact startups are known for their innovative business models, which often leverage technology to solve complex social and environmental challenges. This makes Finnish impact startups attractive investment opportunities for investors who are looking for creative solutions.  

Strong political support  

The Finnish government is committed to promoting sustainable development and has implemented policies to support the growth of impact startups. This provides a stable and supportive environment for Japanese investors to invest in Finnish startups. 

Sustainable solutions across a wide range of industries 

Finnish startups are known for their ability to create innovative and sustainable solutions in almost any sector. From renewable energy to circular economy and smart cities, these startups have the expertise and drive to tackle global challenges and create positive change.  

This is due in part to Finland’s strong education system, which encourages interdisciplinary thinking and problem-solving.  

While impact investing has become more mainstream in recent years, the competition in Finland remains relatively low compared to other countries.  

This provides Japanese investors with a unique opportunity to invest in impact startups that are still in their early stages of development but have great potential for growth. In addition, Finnish startups have a proven track record of delivering results, making them an attractive and profitable investment option for investors. 

Ready to scale 

Another reason why Finnish impact startups are attractive to investors is that they are ‘born global’ designed with readiness to scale in mind. These startups have a strong focus on export and internationalization, making them well-positioned to reach markets beyond Finland’s borders. Furthermore, Finland’s small size and strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and North America make it easier for startups to expand globally. This allows Japanese investors to benefit from the potential of Finnish startups without having to worry about geographical barriers. 

A diverse range of funds 

Finland has a thriving startup ecosystem that offers exciting opportunities for investors. There are numerous funds active in Finland, ranging from early-stage venture capital funds to private equity funds that invest in established companies.  

These funds provide investors with access to a diverse range of Finnish startups and companies, spanning various industries and sectors Overall, investing in Finnish funds and companies can provide investors with access to some of the most promising opportunities in the Nordic region. 

There are several compelling reasons why investors, Japanese or otherwise, should consider investing in Finnish impact startups. From their ability to create sustainable solutions, their readiness to scale globally, and the lack of competition in the impact space, Finnish startups offer a unique opportunity for Japanese investors to make a positive impact while still making a profit.  

Learn more about how Helsinki Partners can help you invest sustainably by investing in Helsinki.

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