Aalto Startup Center’s startups outperform other startups year after year – their total business is now worth more than EUR 600 million

The growth of businesses that used the internationally recognized business accelerator is in a league of its own. The report, which is based on unique data, has examined businesses for more than 20 years.

MARCH 23,2023 –

Read the Finnish version here – Finnish Media

The growth of businesses that used the internationally recognized business accelerator is in a league of its own. The survey, which is based on unique data, has examined businesses for more than 20 years.

The startups that used the Aalto Startup Center business accelerator, which is part of Aalto University, succeed in outperforming the average Finnish business year after year when it comes to turnover, profitability, and growth in the number of employees. This is revealed by the Aalto Startup Center’s annual survey*, which looks at the growth rate, growth continuity, profitability, and size of its alumni businesses.

While the COVID-19 pandemic worsened the financial outlook of Finnish businesses, the total turnover of the alumni businesses grew by 15% in 2021. All in all, the average turnover of Aalto Startup Center’s alumni businesses has increased sixfold in 20 years. Currently, the businesses’ annual turnover totals EUR 630 million. The number of the businesses’ employees doubled in 2018–21, amounting to more than 3,000 in 2021.

An alumni software business multiplied its turnover and number of employees in four years

One of the alumni businesses that dramatically increased its number of employees is software company Vertics, which was established in 2017. The company, which started out as a two-person firm, now employs 30 people and is continuously recruiting more employees in an industry where competition for skilled professionals, especially senior ones, is intense.

“Our recruitment has gone well. In a competitive industry, this shows that we have been able to convince people that our company is a good place to work,” says Atte Pohjanmaa, the CEO and co-founder of Vertics.

Vertics’ turnover will exceed 2 million euros this year.

Janne Laine, Aalto University’s Vice President for Innovation, confirms that Aalto Startup Center’s businesses are desirable employers.

“They are able to hire skilled professionals because they are creating something that is new and often socially significant. And when the work is meaningful, this will also have a positive effect on the results,” Laine says.

Success is a result of making the right choices

The lifecycles of Aalto Startup Center’s alumni are also longer than the average for startups, as two out of three of the alumni businesses are still operating after the first several years. Aalto Startup Center has acted as a springboard for many success stories in the Finnish business community, such as the gaming company Rovio, the job search website Duunitori, the design firm Design Pole, and the well-being software Cuckoo.

“This shows that our services have been used by the right kinds of startups, which have been able to scale up with our help. The purpose of the business accelerator is to act as a growth platform for research-based innovations or early-stage startups in various scientific fields,” says Marika Paakkala, the Head of Aalto Startup Center.

“We have long experience of business development and a good understanding of how a sustainable and profitable business is established. We have been developing this service concept for more than 25 years together with our highly skilled team of experts and extensive network,” Paakkala says.

*The survey involved 293 businesses in various industries that have used the services of Aalto Startup Center. It examined the businesses’ growth on the basis of the rate and continuity of growth and the business’s turnover and profitability. The information about the businesses is based on the statistics collected from the databases of the Finnish Patent and Registration Office, Asiakastieto Oy, and Statistics Finland.

The Aalto Startup Center is a hybrid business accelerator for companies that are a maximum of three years old, with a focus on tech startups. The business accelerator takes advantage of the multidisciplinary competence in design, business, and technology provided by Aalto University as well as the university’s expertise and networks. The business accelerator involves businesses both within and outside Aalto University, and the accelerator also creates businesses out of research-based projects. Currently, Aalto Startup Center is working with more than 50 companies, which come from its own two programs – Business Generator and the R2B pre-business incubator program – and from partner programs, including the Urban Tech Helsinki incubator and Aalto Digital Creatives. Aalto Startup Center’s premises are located in Otaniemi, Espoo. From Ideas to Impact ® – Together, we turn ideas into impact.

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For more information, please contact:

Marika Paakkala
Head of Aalto Startup Center
+358 40 8292 286

Milla Kalliokoski
Head of Marketing and Communications, Aalto Startup Center
+358 50 440 6428