MARIA 01 NEWS

Maria 01: Top 5 2019 Highlights 🔥

Written by Kim Oguilve Read time 5 min

In 3 years, Maria 01 has grown to be the leading startup campus in the Nordic region. Here's what made 2019 so special.

Maria 01: Top 5 2019 Highlights 🔥

From day one we have brought together the most relevant ecosystem players and partners to provide the most thriving environment for our startups to grow their business.

With the launch of the future campus, Maria 01 will continue to bring together startup companies developing their ideas, growth companies, investors looking to fund the stars of the future, and major corporations providing startups with international development opportunities and partnerships.

Our future is filled with excitement and hope for a better future through tech-entrepreneurship. It’s time to look back at 2019 and mention some of the highlights that made this year one of the best in our history:

Download our 2019 Impact Report]

1. We welcomed new VCs, Corporates and Service Partners

Maria 365: Our 3rd-anniversary celebration featured a panel discussion with Moaffak Ahmed, Marta Sjögren from Northzone VC, Oskari Saarenmaa from Aiven & Wili Miettinen from Varjo.

We rely on the support of our VCs, Corporate and Service Partners to aid our startups with practical, operational and funding related matters. As of today, we have gathered a strong network of Corporate & Service Partners that have been helping our startup members with matters such as technical recruiting, IPR, marketing & PR, finance, & more.

A highlight from our partner collaboration this year has been the “Internal Transformational Program” we have facilitated for Konecranes. During this 12-week acceleration program we have started to teach to 4 different Konecranes’ teams with different internal projects, how startups develop and use lean methods for product development.

The sessions have been facilitated together with startup ecosystem mentors — Markus Nuotto (VP Sales at Aiven & Co-Founder at Aaltoes) & Pirkka Palomäki (Partner at Maki.vc) are examples of some of the mentors we have invited so far. Each session has a different mentor.

Furthermore, the new partners that we welcomed this year are:

VCs: Northzone and EQT Ventures.

Corporate Partners: Microsoft.

Service Providers: TaivalCivittaBarona Luova and Value Group.

View our full list of partners and VCs.

2. Maria 01 and its members made impressive headlines on the media

Our media highlight this year was to have Bloomberg on campus. They surely got the best impression on how startup communities are built in Finland! Watch the video here.

There is nothing better than to see your community members being recognized for their hard work, contribution to their industry but also society. This year, we have joined the buzz around all our members’ milestones and encouraging the media to come and tap into the essence of these companies and help us spread their stories.

Here are some great stories/news (non-funding related) that gave us something to talk about this year:

  • Epic Foods: How Ghost Restaurants Are Changing The Restaurant Business Model.(Link)
  • Meru Health: Named the Best Mental Health Company at the UCSF Digital Health Awards 2019. (Link)
  • Ultimate AI & Meeshkan: The hottest startups in Helsinki according to WIRED.(Link)
  • Naava & Maria 01How the iPhone tormented the world’s happiest nation according to Bloomberg. (Link)
  • Brella: Tips From a Finnish Company to Conquer USA(🇫🇮 Link)
  • Inventure: Ekaterina Gianelli becomes the first female to take a partner position in a VC in Finland. (Link)
  • FiBAN: Finnish Business Angels fly to Maria 01 (Link)
  • The Shortcut: Anne Badan moved to Finland 12 years ago and is now encouraging Finns to hire immigrants. (🇫🇮 Link)

3. We reached our one thousand member mark in March — today 1190 people

On 26.3.2019 our former CEO Voitto Kangas made the honor of updating our member count.

Our community works hard but it doesn’t forget to have fun. This year we made sure to celebrate our one thousand member milestone — we brought our community together and had one of the best celebrations so far. It is pretty remarkable the growth our community has achieved in 3 years!

Nevertheless, numbers are great to report but there are also those stories that live amongst all of us and make us proud to be “Marians”. These stories are the ones that live amongst our community and are sometimes related to the mundane tasks of our everyday life such as: finding someone when you need it with some marketing/sales task, recommendations for your next accountant, borrowing laptop chargers — you name it!

We can truly say our name is well explained in our growth: Maria 01 — from zero to 1236 community members.

4. The renovation of Building #3 was finalized and we welcomed new companies

Building #3: Built by the Finnish architect Lars Sonck during the 1800s.

Our community has grown in numbers because we have also grown in size. When we started, the plan was much smaller. Little by little as demand for a space in our community grew, we had to plan and make room for future companies to move in.

For over a year, the building which belongs to the historical side of the campus (built in the 1800s) was put under renovation by the City of Helsinki. For several months during the renovation, we started to plan the layout and distribution of companies that had been on our waiting list also allocated those new ones who were in search of membership at Maria 01.

The result so far has been fantastic and we have welcomed several new & existing (growing teams) tenants to the new building: Arctic Security, Audiodraft, Bit Odd, FuZu, Kamupak, Knome, Mobey Forum, MEOM, Moomin LS, Pressdoor, Robonomist, Saltrock Media, Sampo Games, Solu Stainless, Swarmia & Zoined.

5. Founding CEO Voitto Kangas handed over the baton for our new CEO Ville Simola

Ville Simola and Voitto Kangas. Photo by Jukka Gröndahl for HS.

It takes bravery to jump in when given the task of building a startup community from the ground up — inside an old hospital (the oldest in Finland!). From that passionate young man in a hoodie and cap — Voitto Kangas, we saw this community flourish into the Nordic’s most thriving startup campus.

After Voitto’s 4-year contribution and announcement of our campus expansion, it was the most natural step to look for a new CEO that would continue to build on our growth.

Aided by our board, Maria 01 was on the lookout for someone with experience from working on the two sides of the spectrum (corporate & startup). After several talks with different candidates, Ville Simola’s strong startup and corporate background made him the best choice to lead our expansion.

We were thrilled to finally announce the appointment of our new CEO Ville Simola last September. You can read more details about him here.

Last but not least, we want to thank every single of you reading us and supporting us! We rocked 2019 together and look forward to an even better 2020.

Download our 2019 Impact Report]