I am Matti Härkönen and I’m the Managing Director of Innovestor Ignite, the team at Innovestor that builds and executes growth programs. I joined the Innovestor team via the recent Kasvun Roihu acquisition, a company which I founded and managed, resulting in the creation of Innovestor Ignite.
But my journey with Innovestor began already in 2018 when Innovestor acquired 50% of Kasvun Roihu’s shares, a year later the rest. Innovestor and Kasvun Roihu started their operations around the same time in 2014 and had the same purpose which we were tackling from different angels, hence we complemented each other nicely.
I have spent my whole professional career with SMEs, helping them to renew themselves, develop and grow their business. I have coached these companies, searched for the best partners and experts for them to work with. Also finding the proper funding instruments for them has been a big part. One can say that my life’s mission is to help Finnish companies succeed.
I have worked both in the private and public sector. That being said, my role has always essentially been the same. Billing addresses have changed, but the focus remained. I succeeded in building a top notch team in Kasvun Roihu and now thanks to the Innovestor deal, it is stronger than ever. No other Nordic player can bring together investors, partners, and growth companies as effectively as we do.
I am often asked what I think is the most critical process for a growth company. I don’t think it is sales, nor product development, not even management & leadership. Instead, the most crucial process is to learn. A company that can learn the fastest, grows the best.
Your ability to learn enables fluent adaptation to new situations, which in turn allows for quicker identification of the competitive edge. This is absolutely necessary in a global operating environment. Movement is the most important, direction will be found along the way.
I always try to stress how essential learning and adaptability are for all the companies I work with. Finland generates world-class technologies, which have the potential to save the world. Sometimes the founders are not hungry enough, and I try to have a positive impact on their mindset. Entering global markets often takes place via large corporations and this also calls for adaptability.
In addition to emphasizing learning, I have some other tips that I’d like to share with entrepreneurs.
First of all, it is worth being impatient in regards to execution, but patient with results. When the direction is still unclear and situations evolving, a lot of energy gets spent, but concrete results are not immediately achieved. You just has to remain calm, listen to customer feedback, and do the right things accordingly.
Still, perhaps as the most important piece of advice from me is this: we should all have a job we enjoy. It makes no sense to waste hours of one’s short life doing something that does not feel meaningful and fun.
Personally I have been lucky in that I have my whole career been able to have a job I love: building different development concepts for growth companies.