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The Hottest Startups in Helsinki

by Elijah
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The Hottest Startups in Helsinki

2022 was one top year for Finnish startups, 1.8 billion euros raised According to the Finish Venture Capital Association ($1.9 billion) – a record amount of investment. 2023 was probably even better: compared to European peers, measured as a proportion of GDP, Finnish startups lead the way in the amount of venture capital funding they receive.

The influx of money is a testament to the size and diversity of the Finnish startup sector, with Helsinki at its core. It has grown quickly. “It’s an endlessly exciting place to be,” says Eerika Savolainen, CEO of Slush, Helsinki’s annual startup event. “In 2008 I would say we had almost nothing,” says Teemu Seppälä, the soft landing start-up of Business Helsinki, a business development organization dedicated to attracting international companies to the Finnish capital. “That was the date we started the startup movement.” Seppälä says Helsinki is a uniquely welcoming place to set up a business. “It is very easy to connect with investors, customers or the players in the ecosystem – and with us as a city,” he says. “We will help you from the start.”


The idea for metabolic health startup Veri came about because Verneri Jäämuru struggled with ulcerative colitis during his childhood, a disease that doctors blamed on his consumption of ultra-processed foods. In 2020, Jäämuru (who previously worked at smart sleep tracking ring company Oura), Anttoni Aniebonam and Frans Lehmusvaara launched Veri. The startup developed a small, wearable sensor the size of a button that, once attached to a user’s arm, monitors blood sugar levels. Data is fed to an app in real time and then analyzed, providing personalized nutritional recommendations based on your metabolic profile. “Unlike other options that provide data without guidance, or push drugs and restrictive diets, we value empowerment through data and education, with the support of guidance and community,” says Aniebonam. The forty-person company raised its first round of funding from Lifeline Ventures within two weeks of launch. To date, the company has raised €11 million. veri.co


Niklas Sandler Topelius spent more than ten years researching 3D printing and drug production at Åbo Akademi University, where he was a professor of pharmaceutical technology. His research caught the attention of serial entrepreneur Charlotta Topelius and in 2021 the two launched CurifyLabs. Their MiniLab 3D printer can be loaded by hospital pharmacists with a special paste made from pharmaceutical ingredients to manufacture medicines. “Mass-produced medications often do not meet the needs of some patient communities,” Topelus says. “Pharmacists have been manufacturing medicines manually for years, but are limited by an error-prone and laborious process.” Initially, the startup focused on the veterinary world, producing beef-flavored tablets tailored to the medical needs of cats and dogs. Since then, the startup has expanded into human drugs, such as the beta-blocker propranolol and temozolomide for the treatment of brain cancer. The 18-person company has raised €3.1 million to date and was awarded €2.5 million from the European Innovation Council Accelerator in April 2023. curifylabs.com


Quanscient uses quantum computing to make industrial simulations more powerful. The company was founded in September 2021 by researchers Valtteri Lahtinen and Asser Lähdemäki from the University of Tampere, together with Juha Riippi and Alexandre Halbach, and works with customers to develop digital prototyping. “Computer-aided designs can be imported into multiphysics simulation platforms, allowing engineers to simulate how their products work before spending the time and resources building a prototype,” says Riippi. This is important in areas such as fusion energy, MRI scanners and magnetic trains – all sectors that Quanscient focuses on. By using quantum computing, the simulations can be 100 times faster and more than 100 times more complex, making the results more accurate. “We achieved accuracy within two percent of experimental metrics for an electric motor simulation for a California-based customer, while the competitor was only within 20 percent,” claims Riippi. Finnish venture capital fund Maki.vc led the latest €3.9 million funding round in the company in April 2023. quancient.com

Onego Bio

Onego Bio reinvents the egg for the modern age. “Precision fermentation allows us to create proteins that are bioidentical to the foods we know and love, using 90 percent fewer resources,” said Maija Itkonen, co-founder and CEO of the company. “If we use one hectare of land to grow feed for microorganisms instead of chickens, we can produce ten times more egg whites,” she says. Launched in February 2022 by Itkonen and former VTT Technical Research Center of Finland employee Christopher Landowski, the company makes a protein substitute from the microorganism Trichoderma reesei. In 2022, the startup raised €14.5 million in funding from venture capital fund Agronomics, Maki.vc and Business Finland. Future plans include building a factory in the United States that can produce one billion non-animal eggs per year, the equivalent of two million chickens. onego.bio


Aaro Isosaari’s AI-powered writing assistant, Flowrite, foreshadowed the generative AI revolution when it was founded in 2020. Isosaari was frustrated by the number of emails he was asked to read and write during the course of his day running Finnish startup accelerator Kiuas. The product can convert short sentences into fully formatted emails. Flowrite raised $5 million in funding and in April 2023, the company rolled out a chat-based user interface that can understand more than twenty languages. flowrite.com

100 thousand million

Founded in 2021 by Alberto Scherb, Andro Lindsay and Jaime Alvarez Gerding, 100 Thousand Million aims to build sustainable cities. The company is planning its first sustainable space, Earth City, in Chile, near the birthplace of co-founder Alvarez Gerding, following six sustainable principles that redesign urban areas from the ground up. “We’re starting with a per capita energy and water footprint that is one-third compared to Helsinki, which is a leading city by today’s standards,” says Scherb, who has previously worked for Apple and Google. “The city’s design involves creating microgrids that are replicable and rely entirely on solar and wind energy. We will also design homes that use and recycle water.” 100 Thousand Million has secured $750,000 from Oregon-based AriaTouch. 100tm.earth


At the headquarters of IQM – which builds powerful quantum computers for computing hubs and data centers – there is a gong that employees sound whenever the company achieves major success. It’s been noisy lately. IQM has raised more than €200 million since it was spun off from Aalto University in 2018 and has expanded to 250 employees across offices in Espoo, Paris, Madrid, Munich and Singapore. Co-founders Jan Goetz, Kuan Yen Tan, Mikko Möttönen and Juha Vartiainen are also among the most impressive in the quantum computing sector: collectively they have been included in more than 640 scientific publications with more than 27,000 citations. meetiqm.com

Ren’s original

Making sneakers from coffee grounds and recycled plastic is the business model of Vietnamese expats Jesse Tran and Son Chu. The duo founded Rens Original in 2018 and launched their first sneaker in the summer of 2019. Each pair of shoes is made from 21 cups of coffee grounds and six recycled plastic bottles. The coffee grounds – which have antibacterial properties and prevent shoes from smelling – and the waste plastic are combined and then processed into plastic pellets, which are spun into a polymer yarn that can be knitted tightly onto a waterproof membrane. Since then, more than 40,000 pairs have been sold, with 250,000 plastic bottles and 750,000 cups of coffee recycled. rensoriginal.com


Ville Lehto and friend and co-founder Ville Leppälä were working for mixed reality startup Varjo, when they decided to start a new business – in the food delivery sector. The pair launched Huuva in 2020, working with restaurants to set up shared kitchens and aiming to bring more delivery options to suburban areas. For example, one of their shared kitchens – 15 km from Helsinki city center – serves food from five different restaurant brands in the city center. “It employs five chefs assisted by our proprietary technology aimed at reducing stress during the operation. This high level of integration allows us to prepare multiple menus under one roof.” The 70-strong company has launched twelve shared kitchens, including a dining location in Berlin, and has raised €6 million to date. huuva.io

Trade twice

Circular commerce platform Twice Commerce (formerly known as Rentle) does not work directly with end users, but instead with e-commerce platforms, providing the infrastructure they need to introduce rental, subscription and buyback and resale features for products from skis and bicycles to trailers, tools and caravans. “It’s like commerce on repeat,” says Tuomo Laine, who founded the company in 2018 together with Joel Mikkonen and Toomas Kallioja. The team honed their idea with a power bank rental service at a Supercell esports event, and now consists of 30 people. team that has attracted €8 million in funding from Maki.vc and Tera Ventures, among others. twicecommerce.com

This article appears in the January/February 2024 issue of WIRED UK magazine.

This article was originally published by WIRED UK

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