Press Release -Annual Report: Employee growth at Aalto Startup Center’s startups has been exceptional

Aalto Startup Center shares insights on startups’ growth and profitability.

According to Aalto Startup Center’s annual report, companies that have completed the Business Accelerator program have nearly tripled their employees during 2010–2019. The latest issue of the report for the years 2016–2019, monitors the business development and operations of the alumni companies.

For the period of 2017-2019, the number of employees in alumni companies surged to over 3,000 which is a record number for the Aalto Startup Center’s alumni.

“Since 2016, we have seen the growth of our companies headcount steadily increasing”, tells Head of Aalto Startup Center, Marika Paakkala. “The increased number of personnel is a signal of companies’ improved productivity, which is a particularly positive trend in the current social situation. When turnover has grown more than the number of jobs, which these growth figures refer to, it can be assumed that business productivity has increased,” she tells.

Development of the number of alumni companies personnel over the years 2010–2019 (Source: Asiakastieto Oy)

The chart shows both the number of employees reported by the companies and employees adjusted for a turnover. For companies that have not reported their employees, it is assumed that the number of employees follows the proportion of the turnover. Read the full report, UIIN report 2019. 

At the end of 2019, the Aalto Startup Center’s most employing alumni companies were Futurice Oy (374 employees), which develops network and mobile software, Rovio Entertainment Oyj (328), a game development company, and Efima Oy (140), which develops business and financial processes. During the most recent four-year sampling period, the company that grew the most (1,425 %) was logistics service HUB Logistics 3PL Oy, which hired from 4 up to 61 employees in 2016–2019. Of the companies that employed at least 10 people in 2016, the growth rate was swiftest at Lamia Oy, which offers digital solutions (from 17 to 70 employees, ie 312%) and the job search engine Duunitori Oy (from 14 to 53, ie 279%).

Pandemic won’t change the fact-  two out of three companies stays in business

According to the Business and Corporate Information System of the National Board of Patents and Registration, there were a total of 603 Aalto Startup Center alumni companies, of which 386 were still in operation. This is a survival rate of 64%. In comparison, according to Statistics Finland, every second Finnish enterprise will stop their operations before the age of seven. Paakkala doesn’t believe that even the pandemic year has had a negative effect on the success of alumni companies.

”Nearly a quarter of our 603 alumni companies work in the software design and manufacturing industry, and about 16 percent in management consulting. The next most represented industries are computer hardware and software consulting, advertising agency work, and industrial design. These are the industries where companies are well-positioned to survive a pandemic without major business damage.”

“In 2019, there were 340 alumni companies from which at least one financial report during 2003–2019 was received, and their turnover was altogether almost EUR 570 million”, Paakkala tells.

 Comprehensive growth is a matter of learning

From Aalto Startup Centre’s alumni, design company Drop Design Pool, Duunitori, business coaching company Hintsa Performance and software development and consulting company Gapps Oy are those that have been able to maintain their gazelle – or a fast-growing company status for a very long time, ie 7-8 four-year periods.

The accelerator aims to help its companies grow and have a sustainable mindset. “Companies learn the principles of profitable growth in our Business Generator program and are able to apply the lessons to the challenges of their business lifecycle even after the program. It is worthwhile for the company to use the best doctrines and tools from the very beginning so that the business can be built on a strong foundation”, Paakkala says.

Read the full report, UIIN report 2019. 

Further information:

Marika Paakkala
Head of Aalto Startup Center
+358 40 829 2286


Päivi Meros
Marketing and Communications Specialist, Aalto Startup Center
+358 50 32 98 554


Aalto Startup Center

Aalto Startup Center is a business accelerator for start-up companies that are less than three years old, with a particular focus on the technological field. The accelerator utilises the interdisciplinary competence offered by Aalto University in design, business and technology as well as the expertise and networks of the university. The participants include companies both from within Aalto and outside of it, and the accelerator also creates business activities from research-based projects. Currently, there are about 40 companies at Aalto Startup Center, 10 of which operate under Esa Bic Finland, which focuses on space technology and is a member of Aalto Startup Center. Aalto Startup Center’s premises are located in Otaniemi, Espoo.


Aalto Startup Center alumni report

The report has followed the development of the business of alumni companies in 2003-2019. In 2003, financial statements were collected from 33 alumni companies and the average turnover was approximately € 255,000. In 2019, financial report’s data was collected from 340 alumni as the average turnover was approximately € 1.7 million, with a combined turnover of almost € 570 million. The term gazelle refers to the companies that have managed to increase their turnover by at least 100% for four consecutive financial years, have had a turnover of more than € 135,000 in each financial year, have not reduced their turnover in any financial year and have had a positive four-year result. In total, there have been a total of 229 alumni companies during the history of the gazelle, and in 2016-2019 the status reached 51 alumni.