Welcome to our ‘Meet the Team’ series where we feature a member from our team each week to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the people that make it all happen at NGP Capital.
Feature of the week
Matti Vänskä – Vice President of Portfolio Development
Matti joined our team in Helsinki in 2019. He has spent more than 20 years in the technology industry in different roles, ranging from sales to business development, strategy and product. His mission is to help NGP Capital’s portfolio companies accelerate engagement and sales to large multinational organizations. Matti has passion and respect for founders and scale-up companies for acting as ‘proxies for the future’ and transforming entire industries with novel technologies and business models.
We sat down with Matti to hear more about his background and his thoughts about the VC market today.
What was your first job in the technology sector?
My first job was to sell minicomputers at Hewlett-Packard. This was a very long time ago and I bet that the younger members of our team hardly even know what minicomputers were! That’s how I started my career in the technology field.
Which technology areas are you most excited about right now? What do you want to invest in?
So much exciting innovation is taking place in the various domains that it is difficult to pick one. However, I think that Industry 4.0 is fascinating as automation and real time data are transforming traditional industries such as manufacturing and logistics. It is a megatrend that cannot be missed. All companies should embrace these new disruptive approaches, otherwise they will be disrupted and have a hard time surviving on the market.
If you would build your own company, what kind of company would you start? What challenge do you think needs to be solved?
A few years ago, I was part of a founding team that started a company in digital health. It was very motivating because the mission was so rewarding. If I was to start a company today it would most likely be related to sustainability and environment – maybe something related to circular economy. There can be cases where value is created in many places, like managing waste while creating new raw material or products that have value in themselves.
What do you like to do in your free time that does not involve a screen?
I like sports: racket games as well as running. I’m not taking them too seriously, but a little bit of competition is nice. The only time it becomes very serious is when I play table tennis against Atte, our data scientist. We are equally good, so it’s always a thrill to win.
Diversity and Inclusion is hot topic now. What improvements do you think the industry could make overall?
A recent study (in which NGP Capital was also involved via our AI platform, Q) revealed that it is far more difficult for female founders to raise money for their companies. It is hard to believe that this is the case. The underlying mindset among the investors should definitely evolve to modern days. I’m convinced that it would make sense also from investment point of view!