The first chapter
Beginning of Roihu
Roihu’s own path to growth started in 2009. At the time, Finland, as most of the Western world, was struggling with the worst financial crisis of the decade. Kasvun Roihu’s founding partners – Nina and Matti – met in a public project which goal was to help local companies renew their business models for growth with fresh competence. While many large Finnish companies were firing people because of the economical downturn, by looking at the statistics, Nina and Matti realized that the growth and new jobs that our society needed, were coming from small and middle-sized companies. However, while visiting 100 small and middle-sized companies during the project they found out that even though the most entrepreneurs wanted to develop their business and grow, they just didn’t know how and didn’t have the time and expertise to find out the answers, services and right people they needed. What if, Nina and Matti thought, there was this person, who would help entrepreneurs deal with this vast palette of services, networks and opportunities. This person would go through the options and choose the best one in line with the company’s strategy. Then encourage the entrepreneur to take the leap to growth. And that’s how the Broker concept was born and the story of Roihu began.
In addition to Broker-program, in winter 2011, Nina and Matti also got involved in arranging Kasvu Open. Matti was sitting in a gathering of Growth Companies Committee at the Central Finland Chamber of Commerce, when Marko Seppä, Professor of Growth Venturing at University of Jyväskylä, challenged and inspired the committee members to arrange a new kind of growth sparring event. The Event’s goal was to enhance growth in companies and strengthen the network of growth experts. The event was called Kasvu Open. Matti raised his hand and told he’d like to help in the arrangements. A few weeks later, the Committee launched the first Kasvu Open with 35 companies and 16 experts coaching them. The companies had to present a growth plan, which they then polished with the experts. And the rest was history.
The second chapter
What happened in Jyväskylä 2014-2017 and at the same time in Helsinki
In 2014 Nina and Matti decided to start their next career chapter when they established Kasvun Roihu and became full-time entrepreneurs. They had a true desire to help small and medium sized companies and their mission was to inspire companies to develop their businesses and grow. During fall 2014 and spring 2015 Nina and Matti recruited first employees with this shared mission to Roihu’s team. From our current team Maria, Reetta, Anni and Janne have been part of Roihu’s story since that. During the years Roihu’s team grew with other exceptional talents (Anna-Mari, Lassi and Satu) and Roihu’s mission evolved into not being just Finland’s most remarkable inspirer for companies to grow but also a window for them to enter global markets. To achieve this goal, Grow to Market internationalization concept was born. As well as Roihu’s team grew so grew also its network and business but it still felt like something was missing, that Roihu could help growth companies even more – somehow.
At the same time in Helsinki Tommi Äijälä had been trying to find a right way, a better way to support entrepreneurs that get the killer idea; invent something that will change the way we do business, use technology or make the world a better place. His dream was to offer every world changing Nordic innovation the best possible team to make their vision come true. And that’s why he decided to establish Innovestor; to create a company that enables a diverse group of investors to invest into unlisted companies and create a one touch point platform for startups, through which they got access to not only capital but also know-how and networks in order to support their growth. After acquiring an 80% share of Finnveras Vera Ltd seed fund in 2016 which resulted in the creation of our venture capital investment arm, Innovestor Ventures, Innovestor took its first steps towards fulfilling our mission by not only being a financial services company, but also a venture capital (VC) investor. In a short period of time, Innovestor became one of the fastest growing venture capital firms in the Nordics by successfully creating different investment channels for a diverse group of investors. However, Innovestor team wasn’t satisfied. They had the investment side of our mission well taken care of but still lacked the platform aspect.
Let’s join our forces
As told in the previous chapter whole time both Roihu’s Nina and Matti as well as Innovestor’s Tommi, had an idea that this could be something more – something bigger – something more effective; some way we should help growth companies even more. And that’s why these two companies decided to join their forces in the Spring 2018. As we all know growth companies need both know-how and financing to grow and enter global markets and by joining their forces Roihu and Innovestor were able to offer a unique service model for Finnish growth companies: sparring growth-oriented companies and providing a channel for financing the growth with the help of domestic and international investors.
The next chapter
What’s the next chapter? That’s a tough question. For certain we will keep on helping small and medium sized companies to grow and enter global markets by creating even more platforms where growth companies can find relevant growth partners. What these platforms are, stay tuned and find out or if you like let’s invent it together.
Join us on the path for growth and a better tomorrow!