Kasvu Open Investor’s Favorite 2019 – who will win the million?

Kasvu Open is a fruitful meeting place for businesses and investors. That’s why Nordea and Innovestor are also national Kasvu Open partners. Innovestor is interested in investing in ambitious early stage growth companies. While for Nordea advising and financing growth companies is key. Vesa Riihimäki from Nordea and Tommi Äijälä from Innovestor assessed what kind of company will receive the Investor’s Favorite Award.

Who is the Investors Favorite for?

Every company involved in Kasvu Open this year has a real opportunity to be the Investor’s Favorite. However, Riihimäki and Äijälä both agree that the award will most likely go to a slightly later stage company. Because even though your focus has to be fixed on the future, the business must show a solid track record.

The company must not only be able to show sales growth above just order volumes but be able to describe the size and competition of the market in the future. In addition to a track record, the more concrete future deals they can show, the more convincing the company.” Vesa Riihimäki, Nordea.

It is possible for a company to reach this point already in their second year of operations, but it may take time to show yourself in markets abroad and for customers to understand the market. The most important thing is to have a deep understanding of the demand and competitive situation, and to identify the bottleneck problem that the funding will help solve.

“For a company, funding can be a bottleneck. Demand is increasing, but current resources are not able to meet the growing demand. Money is needed at an accelerating pace, for example to buy new services or recruit talents. So a convincing company can prove that with the funding, they can take their company to the next level.” Tommi Aijälä, Innovestor.

Attitude and company characteristics are crucial

Summed up, the determining criteria for the Investor’s Favorite is the doers attitude and company characteristics. The attitude of the company’s key people – the board and current owners – must be growth-oriented. It is important to push ahead with ambitious growth with a sprinkle of healthy rivalry.

In regards to the company’s characteristics, Riihimäki and Äijälä both note on a scalable business model, credible growth plan and a well-functioning team.

”A credible growth plan shows that the one million will be used in concrete ways. Both the entrepreneur, Nordea and Innovestor must be able to identify the uniqueness of the market.” Vesa Riihimäki, Nordea.

A well-functioning team can be viewed from two different perspectives. The teams capabilities and know-how must be able to take the company to the next stage. On the other hand, new competence needs can rapidly grow. And so, it’s equally as important for the company to recognize their lack of know-how and ways to find the necessary expertise.

Investor tips to the companies

Vesa Riihimäki and Tommi Äijälä emphasize the importance of Kasvu Open sparring in relation to the Investor’s Favorite. The most important thing should not be the competition, but moving your business forward. When you every day, every week focus on developing your business, then you can talk genuinely about what you have achieved and where your business is going.

“After Kasvu Open, the company is able to communicate the growth plans core and business idea. Literally, the company can describe the company’s history, future and purpose.” Vesa Riihimäki, Nordea

Innovestor’s Tommi Äijälä adds that the most best way to convince the jury is to be a sales-active company and to be able to demonstrate it.

What would the investors themselves do with the EUR 1 million growth funding?

Riihimäki would use the funding for strong market growth while for Aijälä it would be clear to use it to acquire additional resources.

“Growth always requires new hands. It is up to the company to hire either new employees or outsource the man power. For example, it is impossible to speed up the development of an IT project without increasing the resources for planning and implementing the project.” Tommi Äijälä, Innovestor

This blog was originally posted in Finnish on Kasvu Open’s website