Year 2013 was characterized by economic melancholy, but the businesses involved in Forum Virium Helsinki’s Growth Coaching were in full swing. In 2013, a total of 46 businesses were involved in the program that has been sparring businesses in Helsinki for eight years. The selection of businesses is wide form those newly started to those with a turnover of several million euros and looking for new boost growth. However, the participants in the Growth Coaching program have something in common: international market potential and a hunger to grow.
Along the years more than 200 businesses have been involved in Growth Coaching since its beginning in 2006. How are they doing in 2013?
Venture capital for good business ideas
The largest sum of financing of the year, 5 million euros, was gathered by Kiosked (in Growth Coaching in 2011). The company aims to revolutionize online product placement. Using Kiosked’s tools, small buttons with additional information can be included in online photos and videos; by clicking them you get to know more about the products in the image and have direct access to online shopping.
Also Nosto Solutions (Growth Coaching 2012) and software company Bitbar (Growth Coaching 2011) attracted major investments, approximately 2.2 million euros each. Nosto builds solutions for small online stores to offer their customers personal product recommendations the same way as online giants like Amazon. One of the investors was Sanoma Group. Bitbar, which makes tools for application developers, has impressive references. Its testing software is used by companies like Facebook, PayPal, eBay and Evernote.
Linko (Growth Coaching 2013) that develops a new kind of customer management system received 1.9 million and Audiodraft (Growth Coaching 2011) in turn 300,000 euros. Audiodraft has an interesting business idea: the sound production market place brings a community of tens of thousands of sound designers and musicians to the businesses wanting to have a new jingle.
Novelty items for many tastes
The app stores of mobile devices and computer manufacturers have become an important distribution channel for many growth businesses involved in Growth Coaching. In November, Android and iOS app stores started offering a mobile phone application which allows soccer fans to see how hard they can kick the ball. The maker of this Real Madrid fan application is software company Entetrainer (Growth Coaching 2009).
In April 2013, Apple’s App Store began offering the first software product of Huimio (Growth Coaching 2013), founded by former Nokia employees. Tunemio software is a virtual and tireless music teacher.
“It’s been wonderful to see on the map all the places where Tunemio is being used”, says CEO Ville Lavonius.
In June, Booxmedia’s (Growth Coaching 2010) BooxTV that works on mobile devices was rated the best internet TV service in YLE’s comparison. Start-up business Tellyo (Growth Coaching 2013) got a major customer in the world of TV. Using Tellyo’s technology, viewers can easily share on Facebook and Twitter 30-second TV snippets of MTV3’s Putous program, for example.
Many companies decided to launch their products in Slush, a growth business event organized in November in the Cable Factory in Helsinki. One of them was AddSearch (Growth Coaching 2013). The company’s super fast website-integrated search engine sparked positive attention and accumulated 370,000 euros in investments to commercialize the product. In March 2014, AddSearch is the only Finnish company appearing in the Accelerator start-up competition finals in Texas. “It is the Super Bowl of pitching for start-ups”, the entrepreneurs write in their blog.
In 2014 we expect to see more product launches. We are looking forward to game company Playraven’s (Growth Coaching 2013) new Spymaster strategy game. In the beginning of 2014, the company had good news: 1.7 million euros in funding will boost its growth.
Fame and glory to start-ups
The Helsinki region has drawn a lot of media attention thanks to its start-up companies. For example Wired UK magazine listed Helsinki one of the hottest start-up capitals. The magazine rates Holvi (Growth Coaching 2013) the most interesting company; it offers new kind of banking services to small businesses, organizations and events.
Math Elements game that teaches mathematics to children was elected the best Finnish mobile service in 2013. Its maker SkillPixels (Growth Coaching 2012) specializes in learning games.
Online service www.startup100.net/ monitors the Finnish start-up scene. 42 of its Top100 companies operate in Helsinki. Of these, a total of 38 percent have been involved with Growth Coaching!
Apply in 2014 – the second round of submitting applications is now
Growth Coaching offers businesses in Helsinki tailored and economically subsidized support by experts to develop their operations. Growth Coaching promises to be flexible and quick. For example Arkki International was approved into Growth Coaching the same week that CEO Pihla Meskanen submitted the company’s paperwork to the Trade Register.
“I am glad to have found the Growth Coaching. It is the only financing I have received to develop the business, very flexible and quick”, says Meskanen, who takes children’s architecture school abroad.
You can apply to Growth Coaching throughout the year. The deadline for submitting applications in the second round of 2014 is 2 March 2014. For additional information and application form please visit: http://www.forumvirium.fi/en/growth-coaching
Text: Petja Partanen/Tarinatakomo
Project Manager Kaisa Sibelius
tel. +358 40 570 1317