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The true impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the startup ecosystem is revealed in a new report published today by Slush and the City of Helsinki, in collaboration with NGP Capital. The newly published report, “QUARANTINED GROWTH – Founders’ perspectives on the COVID-19 crisis & a Helsinki startup ecosystem deep dive”, surveyed over 330 start-up founders from across the globe. The report reveals unique insights from the ecosystem on the past, present, and future impact of the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of the founders themselves.
According to the study, despite the ongoing economic uncertainty runways haven’t drained as feared in March 2020. Most founders have also avoided layoffs, and some even raised their headcount as over a third of the founders surveyed reported an increase in headcount during the pandemic. The impact of the crisis has also treated some founders kinder than others: clear winners have emerged from sectors such as e-commerce, fintech, and education. Those sectors also see the impact of the crisis in a more positive light than others.
Helsinki-based founders have an optimistic view of the future
In addition to assessing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the report showcases how the local Helsinki ecosystem has evolved over the last 7 years. Using Slush data and data from NGP Capital’s Q-platform, the report showcases how Helsinki and its startups have evolved and, in many cases, thrived.
“The COVID-19 crisis was a shock to everyone in Finland. In March it looked like investors and founders alike were preparing to shield their companies from the storm. But the realization was surprising – according to founders, the impact of COVID-19 has been less negative than initially thought. Founders have for the most part avoided large layoffs, and runways haven’t drained perhaps as much as one could have expected based on Slush’s March survey,” tells Miika Huttunen, the CEO of Slush. “We think this positive development has its roots in our small but strong ecosystem.”
“The unique startup cluster in Helsinki has grown into one of the most significant clusters in Europe. I’m proud that it has the resilience to survive the tough times we are experiencing”, comments Jan Vapaavuori, the Mayor of Helsinki.
“As a truly international investor with offices in China, Europe, and the US, but with deep Finnish roots, we are thrilled to see the growth and maturation of the Finnish startup ecosystem. We now see similar big rounds of financing in Finland, especially in the Helsinki area, as elsewhere around the globe. Helsinki is becoming increasingly interesting for international investors like us because of the talent found here, the expanding ecosystem, the proliferation of growth-stage tech companies, and more local venture capital investors. I can’t wait to see what 2021 brings,” says Bo Ilsoe, Partner at NGP Capital who acted as data partners for the study.