Meet the team – Tommi Äijälä

Corporate turned entrepreneur, get to know our CEO Tommi

My name is Tommi and I’m the co-founder and CEO of Innovestor. Before founding the company in 2014, I worked in banking, capital markets and asset management for nearly 15 years.

When im not in meetings or at the office, I keep active by playing all kinds of sports, mostly tennis lately, but I also enjoy traveling. Traveling gives you a lot of new perspective in many ways.  

Over the course of my career, I’ve always been at my very best when ramping-up new businesses and executing big projects. There are number of projects that I’m really proud of but a clear highlight has been this latest adventure, of taking the leap into entrepreneurship myself and growing Innovestor into a successful venture capital company. Of course this couldn’t have been possible without the great and growing team that we have, who are all doing their best in making an impact on the startup ecosystem, which we try to support through our funds, co-investment platform and acceleration programs.

In essence my job as CEO is to help people succeed. Be it our team members, portfolio companies or co-investors.

Industry fixer

We are a venture capital investor, and so operate within the sphere of funding ambitious startups who are creating future success stories. However, there is somewhat of a paradox within the venture capital industry. On one side we as investors demand innovation and disruption from the startups we invest in, but on the other, our industry itself is still very much traditional and hasn’t really seen any change in the past couple of decades business model wise.

That’s why I wanted to create something different and open up new investment possibilities to investors. This meant adding to the traditional business model, a model which makes us a one of a kind in the Nordics, by being the first (and so far only) active venture capital investor to open up and give private investors the possibility to join in on our investment opportunities. We call this model, co-investment.

That’s why I’m a really big fan of collaboration. If you want to build something great, you cannot just do it all by yourself.

Growth Advice

Being in this industry, I of course meet hundreds of startups every year and spar with not only entrepreneurs but with colleagues as well. Some great advice that I once received and which I now spread to others, is that don’t think about the risk of failure when evaluating new challenges and opportunities that you will face during your career. Also try not to think about the paycheck that might go with it.  

The best thing you can do for yourself, is work with something that you truly enjoy doing.

Without the passion, it’s very hard to grow and accomplish anything big. You’ll also then most probably lack the resilience needed to fight when things get tough (and they sometimes do).

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that above all else, work ethic beats talent.

About Innovestor:

Innovestor is a 2014 founded startup venture investor and provider of equity funding solutions, who has the largest private growth company portfolio in the Nordics with around 113 companies. We manage two Venture Capital funds and actively make direct investments into early-stage technology driven startups in the Nordics. Unlike any other venture capital investor in Finland, we also operate an online Co-investment Platform, through which private investors can invest together with us into our pre-vetted target companies. To date, we have invested around 125 million euros and have roughly 500 co-investors. Additionally, through our strategic ownership in Kasvun Roihu, we operate Finlands largest pro-bono growth sparring competition Kasvu Open and Grow to Market acceleration programs for founders and partners. We have offices in Helsinki (HQ), Jyväskylä, Stockholm and Moscow.

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