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The Startup Ecosystem Canvas project seeks to provide local entrepreneurs with a clear list of resources for every stage of their startup journey, and outline a basic framework for communities to map their ecosystem.

With applications for the Helsinki Founder Institute coming to a close, we are excited to release the Helsinki Startup Ecosystem Canvas! It was developed by the Helsinki Founder Institute and local leaders Janne Saarikko, John Hills, Jose JacomeSini Kolehmainen, Tasha Tolmacheva, and Reidar Wasenius.

This is just a rough draft - more input is needed, so please leave your comments on this collaborative Google document, and it will be considered for the next update.

If you are looking to launch a company in Helsinki, then apply to the Helsinki Founder Institute today.

Startup Stages

There is no one right way to build a technology company, but for the sake of simplicity we have outlined a basic, common, sequential framework.

1. Idea Stage

This is where new entrepreneurs get inspired, learn best practices, develop skills, validate ideas, and begin to build their team and product.

  • Inspire
    • Startup Media: Centralized local information, listings, and news. (i.e. startup blogs/ publications/ lists/ FB groups/ newsletters, etc)
      1. Arctic Startup
      2. Helsinki Business Hub
      3. Nordic Startup Bits
      4. Startup Digest
      5. Startup Helsinki
      6. UP Helsinki
      7. Startup100
    • Inspirational Events: Open, inclusive, beginner startup events (i.e. Startup Weekend, idea fairs, and inspirational meetups)
      1. Aalto Venture Program events
      2. FallUp
      3. HUB13 Events
      4. Silicon Vikings
      5. Startup Weekend
      6. Urban Events
      7. Startup Grind Helsinki
      8. Lean Startup Helsinki
      9. Meetabit
  • Educate
    • Best Practices: Beginner knowledge-sharing events. (i.e. beginner events that serve to educate more than inspire, like Startup Founder 101, etc).
      1. Helsinki Social Entrepreneurs Meetup
      2. Nordic Startup Club
      3. Startup Founder 101
      4. Upgraded Life TALKS
    • Training & Feedback: Skill & Idea development. (Ex. bootcamps and comprehensive training programs, like Founder Institute,, etc)
      1. Aaltoes
      2. Aalto Ventures Program
      3. Founder Institute
      4. Haaga-Helia StartUp School
      5. Lean Startup Machine
      6. Startup Sauna
      7. Helsinki Growth Alliance
      8. Turbiini Vantaa
  • Validate
    • Team Formation: Resources for teaming up. (i.e. events or other resources that facilitate early-stage recruitment and cofounder matching)
      1. Arctic Startup Jobs
      2. Founder2be
      3. Startup Co-Founder 101
      4. Boardio
      5. NewCo Helsinki In-Search of Team members / In-Search of Co-founders (event series)
    • Build First Product: Hackathons & resources to build. (i.e. hackathons and other builder-focused events and resources)
      1. Hack/Hackers Helsinki
      2. Helsinki Python Workshops
      3. Helsinki Ruby Brigade
      4. Internet of Things Helsinki
      5. FIVR HUB

2. Launch Stage

In this stage, entrepreneurs establish and formalize the company, develop the product, get feedback from customers, and prepare for the next step.

  • Start
    • Establish: Law firms & banks for startups
      1. Aaro Liuksiala & Co
      2. Attorneys at law MK-Law Ltd
      3. Backström & Co
      4. Borenius
      5. Danske Bank
      6. JB Eversheds
      7. Kallio Law
      8. Nordea
      9. OP
      10. Swedbank
    • Workspace: Co-working and flexible workspaces (note: “official” office space goes in 3.1.a. Infrastructure)
      1. Aalto Design Factory
      2. AVP Space / Aalto Ventures Program
      3. Business Meeting Park Ltd.
      4. Helsinki Think Company
      5. HUB13
      6. Kontoret
      7. Microsoft Flux
      8. Startup Sauna
      9. Urban Office
      10. Urban Mill
  • Develop
    • Formalize: Accounting, development and HR for early-stage startups.  
      1. AST
      2. Accounting A&L Style
      3. Digitase
      4. Fintax
      5. Nordkapp
      6. Rantalainen
      7. Toughbyte
      8. Vincit
    • Prepare for Seed: Incubators and advanced mentorship. (i.e. advanced knowledge sharing, later stage events and resources for startup teams)
      1. Aalto Start-Up Center
      2. Spinno
  • Launch
    • Seed Accelerators: Seed funding mentor programs (Techstars-style programs that provide funding)
      1. Accelerando Oy
      2. Avanto Ventures
      3. Enterprise Helsinki
      4. Gorilla Ventures
      5. Helsinki Ventures
      6. Pivot5
      7. Nestholma
      8. NewCo Factory
      9. Newentures
      10. Sanoma Lab
      11. Startup Catapult
      12. Startup Sauna Accelerator
      13. Summer of Startups
      14. Vencubator
      15. Vendep
      16. Vertical Accelerator
    • Pitch & Demo: Show local startups for investment (i.e. demo days for companies seeking seed investment)
      1. Arctic 15
      2. Assembly
      3. Crowdpitch
      4. European Business Angel (EBAN) Conference
      5. Slush
      6. Upgraded Life Festival

3. Growth Stage

Here, a startup proves their utility, receives recognition, and scales up. This usually requires funding, angels, VCs, and ways to connect them to startups.

  • Recognition
    • Investor Networking:  Connect professional investors with founders. (i.e. events or groups that facilitate connections with professional investors)
      1. Finnish Venture Capital Association (FVCA)
      2. GOInternational Finland
      3. Invest in Finland
      4. Nordic Venture Network
      5. OpenCoffee Meetup Helsinki
      6. Seedforum
      7. Helsinki Business Hub Investor Services
    • Major Media: Mainstream local business press. (i.e. major local or regional publications that frequently champion local businesses)
      1. Helsinki Times
      2. Kauppalehti
      3. Talouselama
      4. Taloussanomat
  • Funding
    • Angels / Micro-VCs: Seed-stage investors  
      1. Avanto Ventures
      2. Pivot5
      3. Elina Lepomäki
      4. Kustaa Valtonen
      5. FiBAN - Finnish Business Angel Network
      6. Moaffak Ahmed
      7. Petri Lehmuskoski
      8. Petteri Koponen
      9. Riku Asikainen
      10. Sami Ahvenniemi
      11. Ville Miettinen
    • Venture Capitalists: Series A and beyond
      1. Butterfly Ventures
      2. Conor Venture Partners
      3. Finnvera
      4. Inventure
      5. Lifeline Ventures
      6. nexit ventures
      7. Open Ocean Capital
      8. Royal Majestics
  • Growth
    • Infrastructure: Office space, HR, local business insurance. (i.e. office space/ HR/ insurance providers for capital-rich companies to grow and scale)
      1. Business Center Papula
      2. Business Meeting Park Ltd.
      3. Colliers
      4. GE Health Innovation Village
      5. Mothership of Work
      6. NCC
      7. Start-up Maria
      8. Technopolis
      9. World Trade Center Helsinki
      10. Regus
    • Expansion: Growth accelerators/consultants. (i.e. programs and business consultants for capital-rich companies to grow and scale)
      1. Bain & Company
      2. Hanken & SSE
      3. KPMG
      4. PwC
      5. EY
      6. 2nd Opinion
    • Marketing communications: International growth marketing & PR (Marketing and media relations consultants)
      1. San Francisco
      2. SagaSocial
      3. Netprofile
      4. Avaus

4. Success Stories

Successful homegrown companies that have raised significant institutional funding, employ a large workforce, or have achieved liquidity.

  1. Bitbar
  2. Canatu
  3. Grand Cru
  4. Jolla
  5. Kiosked
  6. Kuori Oy
  7. M-Files
  8. Next Games
  9. Nonstop Games
  10. Rovio
  12. Supercell
  13. Walkbase
  14. Yogaia
  15. Rightware
  16. Oppex
  17. Zervant


To facilitate the steps, every ecosystem needs strong supporters.

1. Evangelists

Successful local founders who lead the ecosystem & frequently mentor newbies.

  1. Aape Pohjavirta
  2. Arto Tolonen
  3. Aki Järvilehto
  4. Christian Lindholm
  5. Ilkka Kivimäki
  6. Inka Mero
  7. Janne Aaltonen
  8. Jaana Pylvänen
  9. Janne Saarikko
  10. Jiri Koivuniemi
  11. Jussi Heinilä
  12. Juuso Koskinen
  13. Kaija Pöysti
  14. Kari Mikelä
  15. Kristo Ovaska
  16. Linda Liukas
  17. Maria Sipilä
  18. Marko Kaasila
  19. Micke Paqvalen
  20. Mika Marjalaakso
  21. Mike Bradshaw
  22. Miki Kuusi
  23. Nina Ignatius
  24. Oki Tåg
  25. Oskari Kettunen
  26. Paavo Beckman
  27. Peter Vesterbacka
  28. Petteri Koponen
  29. Petri Aukia
  30. Reidar Wasenius
  31. Riku Mäkelä
  32. Sari Baldauf
  33. Teemu Polo
  34. Tommi Hietavuo
  35. Tiina Zilliacus
  36. Tuomas Wuoti
  37. Ville Vesterinen
  38. Inka Mero
  39. Harry Santamäki
  40. Torsti Tenhunen
  41. Oskari Lehtonen
  42. Kaj Hagros

2. Government

Public organizations that facilitate local economic development

  1. ELY-keskus
  2. Finnvera
  3. Tekes
  4. NewCo Helsinki
  5. Finpro / Export Finland
  6. Yritys-Suomi
  7. Tuoteväylä

3. Talent

Major local business or tech universities and employers that attract and retain local talent.

  • Local Universities (universities with prominent technical or business programs)
    1. Aalto University
    2. Arcada University of Applied Sciences
    3. Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences
    4. Hanken School of Economics
    5. Laurea University of Applied Sciences
    6. Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
    7. University of Helsinki
  • Local Employers (Major technical employers, like Microsoft or Google or large local companies, with large local offices)
    1. Basware
    2. F-Secure
    3. Google
    4. Microsoft
    5. Nokia Networks
    6. Rovio
    7. Spotify
    8. SSH Communications Security
    9. Stonesoft
    10. Tieto
    11. Unity

Learn more about the Startup Ecosystem Canvas here, and leave us your thoughts on the Helsinki Canvas on this collaborative Google document, or on Twitter using the hashtag #ecosystemcanvas. This is a perpetual work in progress, and it will be updated frequently, so we want your feedback!

If you are looking to launch a company in Helsinki, then apply to the Helsinki Founder Institute today.

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