Maria 01 news

New startups with experienced founders arise while overall funding falls, Maria 01 Impact Report reveals

The annual Impact Report by the leading Nordic startup hub Maria 01 shows that while startups have raised less money than in previous years, new entrepreneurs have emerged from traditional industries, and new funds by Nordic VCs have plenty of dry powder to continue investing in the current economic downturn.

New startups with experienced founders arise while overall funding falls, Maria 01 Impact Report reveals

Helsinki, Finland (March 14, 2024) Today, the leading Nordic startup hub Maria 01 has released its latest Impact Report, which measures the social impact of the campus’s startups. The 2023 report shows that while overall funding raised by startups has declined, the number of new startups applying for membership has increased significantly. Additionally, Maria 01 startups and alumni companies surpassed the one billion mark for generated revenue since the hub’s establishment in 2016. 

While funding raised dropped by nearly €100M, Maria 01 saw a 20% increase in new startup applications. The industries most presented in the applications were health tech & wellbeing, e-commerce & online marketplaces, SaaS, AI, and gaming.   

“The decrease in funding was expected, but it’s been a pleasant surprise how many new startups have applied to be part of our community. What stands out is that many of the founders seem to have extensive experience outside the tech industry. This may be a consequence of bigger layoffs in larger companies. However, we have also seen an overall change in attitudes toward work and life goals. Many people think that the economic downturn and a possible layoff is the push needed to start pursuing a long-term dream of entrepreneurship.”

Sarita Runeberg, CEO of Maria 01.

Founders with a strong background in working life are familiar with the challenges and opportunities in their industries, and often they have experienced the problem they want to solve first-hand. This deep understanding of the product-market fit allows them to create more realistic business plans and go to market with their product faster. This may well prove to be a significant advantage in a somewhat unpredictable market environment. 

In 2024, Runeberg sees great potential for fresh ventures looking for funding. Especially health tech, life sciences, and commercial AI solutions will most likely see increasing interest from investors. The hub expects to exceed a big milestone of one billion in funding raised by its community startups during 2024. 

According to the Impact Report, Maria 01 hosted a record number of international delegations in 2023, which indicates that the Finnish startup ecosystem and its startups are still on top of mind for many international investors and other stakeholders.

“Our community also holds the majority of Finnish startup investors, many of which managed to raise significant funds last year – Lifeline Ventures, Voima Ventures, and Greencode Ventures, to name a few. This means that there’s still plenty of dry powder for startups to raise funding from the local VCs. We’ve also received numerous contacts from international investors, indicating that they are willing to invest in Finnish startups,” Runeberg explains.

“Despite these positive trends, the fundraising environment is expected to remain challenging for a while still. Resilience and adaptability will again be key for startups navigating these challenges. Our belief remains unwavering that startups will continue to be the driving force for positive change in societies and economies. At Maria 01, our commitment to nurturing the next world-changing companies from Helsinki, Finland, is stronger than ever, Runeberg concludes.

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