Breaking The Half Billion Euro Barrier


5 March 2020

Breaking the half billion euro barrier – Aalto Startup Center has created an amazing amount of business in Finland

According to a study on the development of companies that got their start in the business accelerator, the combined turnover of Aalto Startup Center alumni was approximately EUR 540 million in 2018. A report containing research data from a 15-year period will be published at the Aalto Startup Center’s Demo Day event on 5 March. The accelerator’s alumni include Rovio, Futurice and Duunitori.

Nearly 600 companies have already graduated from the Aalto Startup Center, creating more than 2 700 jobs in the process. Its alumni have an exceptionally solid foundation: 95% of the alumni established in and after 2015 were still operating at the beginning of 2020 and only 3 out of 63 companies no longer existed. The survival rate of alumni established during the past 10 years is 86%. At the end of 2019, 73% of all alumni of Aalto Startup Center and its predecessors were still operating.

“The study shows that we have been able to create an excellent springboard for our companies. The vast majority of our alumni have developed successful business rather than simply disappearing after a short time,” says Marika Paakkala, Head of Aalto Startup Center.

The future is promising for startups that survive for more than six years

According to data from Statistics Finland, every second Finnish company ceases to exist before its seventh year. However, an exceptional number of Startup Center alumni make it through those critical early years. For those that did not survive, the story often ended immediately or after 3-6 years.

“The study shows that startups that emerged from our accelerator face two difficulties: getting started properly and continuing to operate over a period of 3-6 years. The terminated startups had an average of four accounting periods behind them while merged companies had an average of eight accounting periods prior to the merger. Fortunately, we can say that the survival rate for our alumni is very high,” explains Paakkala.

Aalto Startup Center’s accelerator work has also gained international recognition. Last November, Aalto Startup Center was selected as one of the world’s top five university business accelerators at the World Incubation Summit 2019 seminar organised by UBI Global in Doha, Qatar.

One-fifth of alumni were fast-growing “gazelles”

One special group of alumni are the so-called gazelles, or fast-growing companies. In order to be a gazelle, the company’s turnover growth must be at least 100 per cent from the first financial statement to the fourth, and turnover must be positive in each of those four financial years. A total of 19% of all Startup Center alumni from the 2015-2018 review period met the criteria of a gazelle company. Many reports reveal that growth companies account for about 5% of the total company population.

“Gazelles clearly show that growth fuels more growth. After a company has been in the gazelle pipeline for a couple of years, strong growth often continues for a long time. A model example of this is Futurice, which has shown strong growth year after year,” says Paakkala.

TOP 10: Aalto Startup Center gazelles with the highest percentage increase in turnover in 2015-2018

Turnover (1 000 €) Turnover growth
Company* 2015 2018 15-18
Timma Oy 233 5 075 2 078%
Duunitori Oy 371 4 857 1 209%
Lamia Oy 727 5 081 599%
Arkkitehdit Rudanko & Kankkunen Oy 301 1 711 468%
Smarp Oy 587 2 974 407%
Pinnacle Helsinki Oy 370 1 818 391%
Klinik Healthcare Solutions Oy 232 1 099 374%
Hintsa Performance Oy 574 2 625 357%
Zure Oy 1 025 3 566 248%
Wellmo – Mobile Wellness Solution MWS Oy 180 620 244%

*includes companies with a turnover of over 150 000 euros in 2015

 About the study

The study carried out by the Aalto Startup Center combined reports about the alumni compiled between 2003 and 2018. The 2003 study included financial statements from 33 alumni with an average turnover of approximately 255 000 euros. The average turnover in 2018 was about EUR 1.7 million euros. The combined turnover of 309 alumni was approximately EUR 540 million euros in 2018. Read full report here.

Further information:

Marika Paakkala

Head of Aalto Startup Center

+ 358 40 829 2286


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.