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Victa report


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Victa report

  1. 1. VICTA – Virtual ICT AcceleratorJuha Ruohonen, Arvoketju Oy Technology Review 219/2007
  2. 2. VICTA – Virtual ICT Accelerator Final Report Juha Ruohonen Arvoketju Oy Technology Review 219/2007 Helsinki 2007
  3. 3. Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and InnovationTekes is the main public funding organisation for research and development(R&D) in Finland. Tekes funds industrial projects as well as projects in re-search organisations, and especially promotes innovative, risk-intensiveprojects. Tekes offers partners from abroad a gateway to the key technologyplayers in Finland.Technology programmes – Tekes´ choices for the greatest impact ofR&D fundingTekes uses technology programmes to allocate its financing, networkingand expert services to areas that are important for business and society.Programmes are launched in areas of application and technology that are inline with the focus areas in Tekes’ strategy. Tekes allocates about half the fi-nancing granted to companies, universities and research institutes throughtechnology programmes. Tekes technology programmes have been con-tributing to changes in the Finnish innovation environment for twenty years. Copyright Tekes 2007. All rights reserved. This publication includes materials protected under copyright law, the copy- right for which is held by Tekes or a third party. The materials appearing in publications may not be used for commercial purposes. The contents of publications are the opinion of the writers and do not represent the official position of Tekes. Tekes bears no responsibility for any possible damages arising from their use. The original source must be mentioned when quoting from the materials. ISSN 1239-758-X ISBN 978-952-457-391-7 Cover picture: Lehtikuva Page layout: DTPage Oy
  4. 4. Foreword According to various competitiveness rankings, Finland is one of the leading countries in the world. One of the key underlying factors behind this success has been a long term commitment in buiding what is now regarded as one of the best innovation environments in the world. A strong emphasis on education, research and collaboration supported by significant public investments in R&D and innovation has been instrumental in renewing traditional manufacturing and process in- dustries and creating new strengths, like the telecom industry. However, the innovation environment has also some weaknesses. The number of new innovative fast growing companies has remained low compared to the other leading innovation environments in the world, such as US and Israel. Young fast growing companies are absolutely vital for a knowl- edge based economy such as Finland, and therefore new ideas and models are needed. The VICTA –project (Virtual ICT Accelerator) was launched as a joint project by the public sector and the venture capital industry. All major players of the Finnish early-stage community were con- sulted during the project. The fundamental goal of the project was to analyze the existing business development models in the Finnish early-stage high-growth ecosystem and to compare them to the best environments globally. The benchmarking and the subsequent recommendations are valued against the ability to generate and help young fast growing companies. Tekes wishes to thank the writer of this report and all those that contributed to the project. The re- port provides a valuable contribution to the on-going effort to continuously find new ways to im- prove the Finnish innovation environment. “You cannot run away from weakness; you must some time fight it out or perish; and if that be so, why not now, and where you stand?” Robert Louis Stevenson Helsinki, November 2007 Tekes
  5. 5. Table of Contents Foreword 1 Project Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1.1 Project Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1.2 Project Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1.3 Problem Assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 1.4 The Need . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 2 Project Key Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 2.1 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 2.2 The Israeli Story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 2.2.1 The Yozma Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 2.2.2 The Exit Channel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 2.2.3 The Incubator System in Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 2.2.4 Summary on Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 2.3 Findings from the US . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 2.4 Summary of Benchmarking Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 2.5 The Finnish Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 2.5.1 The Purpose of the Finnish Innovation System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 2.5.2 The Status of Business Development Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 2.5.3 The Status of the Finnish VC Industry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 2.5.4 Summary on the Finnish Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 3 Suggestions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 3.1 Roadmap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 3.2 Major Actions Proposed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 3.2.1 New Rules for the Public Sector Funding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 3.2.2 The Finnish Version of the Yozma Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 3.2.3 Introduction of the Incubator 2.0 Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 3.2.4 Other Suggestions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 4 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 5 Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 5.1 People Interviewed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 5.2 Information Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Tekes’ Technology Reviews in English. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
  6. 6. 1 Project Description1.1 Project Background 1.2 Project Resources“All is not as it seems in the frozen land” was an intriguing The project was coordinated by Culminatum Oy and theheadline in Financial Times early September 2007. The project resources were provided by Value Chain Ltd andworld’s leading financial newspaper was describing Fin- PriceWaterhouseCoopers Oy. The project group consistedland as one of the most prosperous countries during the last of the following people:10 years. Finland has a reputation of being the nation for ● Irma Patala, Culminatum – Project Coordinatorhigh education, innovation and strong economy. At the (later replaced by Tiina Tolvanen)same time the FT reporters were pointing out alarming ● Juha Ruohonen, Arvoketju Oy – Project Managerstructural weaknesses, especially in the innovation system ● Mikko Wennberg, PWC – Project Expertand the ability to attract foreign investments. Many experts ● Jussi Hattula, Eqvitec Partnersinterviewed were concerned over the ability of Finland to ● Sami Lampinen, Inventuresustain their competitive position in the future. ● Pekka Roine, Conor Venture Partners ● Markku Maula, Helsinki University of TechnologyThe VICTA project (Virtual ICT Accelerator) waslaunched as a joint project by the public sector and the ven- ● Mikko Pirinen, Technopolis Venturesture capital industry involving the major players of the (later replaced by Tuomas Maisala)Finnish early-stage community. The fundamental goal of ● Tapio Koivu, VTTthe project was to analyze the existing business develop- ● Tapio Siik, Nokia Growth Partnersment in the Finnish early-stage high-growth ecosystem and ● Kim Kaisti, Fastraxto compare it to selected environments. All evaluations and ● Kari Herlevi, Tekessuggestions are valued against the ability to help growth (later replaced by Tiina Rissanen)companies. The detailed goals of the project were:● To analyse best practises in high-growth incubation and The project had a steering group consisting of the key play- business development activities ers of the finnish early-stage community:● To compare the finnish early-stage high-growth ecosys- ● Henri Grundsten, Finnish Industry Investment tem to selected benchmarking targets (Silicon Valley, ● Petri Laine, Finnvera plc. Massachusetts, Israel) ● Heikki Ojanperä, Sitra● To create a model for more efficient business develop- ● Artturi Tarjanne, Nexit Ventures ment operations (including public-private cooperation) focused in high-growth companies in Finland ● Martti Hintikka, Innofinance● To create a business plan for ”Virtual ICT Accelerator” ● Jukka Rauhala, Nordic Venture Partners -concept. ● Vesa Wallden, CapMan Oyj ● Vesa Sadeharju, 3i plcIn addition, various aspects of the early-stage high-growth ● Ari Siponmaa, Aura Capitalecosystem were studied since business development activi- ● Antti Sekki, FVCAties cannot be evaluated without analyzing the surroundingecosystem. In addition, there has been a network of people participat- ing in selected discussions. The project started in May 2007 and was accepted in October 2007. 1
  7. 7. 1.3 Problem Assessment However, there are serious challenges in Finland’s ability to generate and support high-growth start-ups. Finland hasFinland is widely regarded as one of the most successful a strong foundation in research, technology developmentcorporate-driven innovation economies in the world. The and IPR but fails to engage a large number of growth com-investment in R&D per capita ranks among the highest panies. This mismatch was specially highlighted in the FT(currently number 3 behind Israel and Sweden) and Fin- report as is consistently ranked as one the best in global com-petitiveness assessments (e.g. #1 in ranking published by The chart below (Figure 2) illustrates a comparison be-WEF). tween Finland, Israel and Massachusetts in selected key measures of the early-stage high-growth ecosystem. THE ILLUSION THE REALITY Lack of Global Success Stories World-Class Innovation System ● “The number of growth companies ● significantly decreased” Heavy investment in R&D Taloussanomat 08/2007 ● The most competitive economy ● The best technology ● “Finnish software companies cannot ● High number of VC funded start-ups – and do not want to grow” The Annual Study on finnish sw companies by HUT 08/2007 THE OPPORTUNITY The Building Blocks ● Strong technology base ● Protected IPR ● Existing global corporations ● Growing business competence Figure 1. The illusion, the reality and the opportunity. Metric Finland Israel Massachusetts Population Millions 5,2 6,9 6,3 Share of academic degrees 25.00% 24.00% N/A Number of new companies annually 23 000 20 000 27 000 R&D Investments per capita % 3,5 (#3) 4,1 (#1) 4,9 (N/A) Annual US patents filed per million capita 166 186 300 (N/A) Number of initial investments annually (approx.) 100 100 150 Fault line Average initial investment M $ 0,3 2,8 (#4) 6,2 (#2) Total annual volume of VC investments M$ 220 1650 (#3) 2400 (#2) Number of companies in the Deloitte Fast Growth 500 4 44 36 Number of annual stock exhange listings 1 35 (1H/2007) 9 Number of companies listed in Nasdaq 0 100 60 Number of active VC funds in early-stage 10 60 50 Global R&D Centers of major corporations 5-6 30-40 10-20 Figure 2. Comparison. After the “Fault line” a clear discontinuity in Finland. Source: FVCA, NVCA, IVA, IVC, EVCA, E&Y, PWC Money Tree2
  8. 8. The difference is clear. Finland matches Israel and Massa- This can also be seen in the low number of corporatechusetts in most of the proportional input metrics but fails spin-offs or spin-outs entering the Finnish early-stagebadly in the outcome metrics focused on growth. It must be high-growth ecosystem.noted here that Nokia seriously distorts the figure for R&Dper capita (72% of the R&D investments by TOP 50 Finn- There has been numerous development programs and pro-ish companies in 2006!) – Finland would be ranked as jects in the Finnish early-stage technology cluster duringnumber 15 globally without Nokia´s huge R&D contribu- the last 10–15 years. The common nominator has been thattion. The relative share has not grown since the year 20001. only few permanent structures have been created, real de-In general it can be said that the Finnish system produces a velopment has been slow and the same players and servicefair number of new potential high-growth companies but providers populate the projects and programs all overcannot support their growth to a global level. again. Most of the initiatives are training or networking programs trying to educate Finnish engineers and scientistsThere are several reasons for this moderate success. They to become better businessmen. One of the indicators is thecan be analyzed in three groups; attitude and competence, very low involvement of international service providers asdealflow and resources. sources for development in the system. These companies (e.g. The big 5 consultants) could contribute to the systemBy nature Finns are not good at tolerating risk. This is a fun- but due to the bureaucratic system choose not to.damental challenge in a business (like the growth entrepre-neurship) where the ability to tolerate risk is the ultimate Another inconsistent feature in the Finnish system is thebuilding block for reward. This risk aversion can clearly be short time-span of the development activities. Typicallyseen in the public sector funding where selection criteria has any program, project or organization is expected to showbeen vague and the hit-rate for funding has been high. The results in 2 or 3 years which is very difficult in thepublic sector has focused on the high survival rate instead of early-stage high-growth industry. This inconsistency leadsthe success rate. This has lead to large number of companies to artificial targets followed by wrong measures. Currentwith insufficient resources for growth. innovation system in Finland is dominated by the public sector. When services are bought from private sector, oper-Even more serious challenge is the lack of global business ations are guided by public rules and regulations. Finnishcompetence. The number of serial entrepreneurs is very innovation system has evolved to a huge, over-sized infra-low and most of the talented business (sales and marketing) structure, which doesn’t match at all the needs on highprofessionals choose to work for the large corporations. growth ventures. Description No ambition to create winners – low tolerance for risk and failures Lack of selection on early-stage funding leading to a market failure Attitude and Focus on supporting as many new companies as possible. Public sector “competes” Competence on the number of companies processed. Existing incubators focused on basic business development and real estate management Low and decreasing amount of companies with true aim for growth No viable platform for high-growth corporate spin-offs/spin-outs Dealflow Low number and success rate of research -based start-ups Shortage on unique disruptive ideas Early-stage technology cluster lacking global business competence Development activities too short-term – impossible to achieve results in 2-3 years Resources Low number of serial entrepreneurs with global experience No viable VC industry – only few active funds with limited talent Low activity level of business angels An industry of consultants and advisers with low value-added Figure 3. Reasons for problems.1 Talouselämä TOP 500 2006 3
  9. 9. 1.4 The Need This can be achieved by: ● shifting focus from quantity into quality ● moving from project-based development to efficientThere is a clear need in Finland:● To create a viable high-growth ecosystem long-term structures ● creating structures to enable success of commercial● To multiply the number of VC capable growth players companies ● attracting much more international talent into Finnish● To eliminate the waste of resources to lifestyle early-stage community. companies● To provide a viable platform for fast international growth● To increase the corporate involvement and the number of corporate spin-offs/-outs● To better facilitate the transformation from research project into a fast growth start-up.4
  10. 10. 2 Project Key Findings2.1 General 2.2 The Israeli StoryIn general, few essential findings regarding the successful The Israeli high-growth industry is one of the major suc-early-stage high-growth ecosystem can be highlighted: cess stories during the last 15 years. From virtually non-ex-● The role of the public sector. The role of the public sec- isting high-growth industry in early 90´s they have been tor is essential in many ecosystems. Most of the Euro- able to develop a huge industry with3: pean economies (as well as Israel) are public-driven ● 75% of the annual exports technology, total cumulative whereas the US system is corporate-driven. In a pub- influx of capital 55 bn $ lic-driven system the role of the governmental players is ● The 3rd largest VC market globally vital. The common challenge is the balance between di- – 60+ active VC funds in the market rect and indirect return on public investment. Another – 12 bn $ funding raised by Israeli funds since common mistake is a direct government involvement to Yozma program compensate the lack or low volume of commercial play- – 95% of the capital in the funds non-Israeli ers. Instead of direct involvement, structures attracting – Annual investment to Israeli companies 1,8 bn $; commercial players should be implemented. The role of 44% of money invested from Israeli funds the public sector in well-performing innovation ecosys- ● Over 40 major strategic R&D centres employing tems is to provide resources and diminish obstacles, not 35–40 000 people to replace professional market driven players or ser- ● 100 + companies listed in Nasdaq vices. ● All 10 initial Yozma –based funds active in the market● The role of the incubators. Business development activi- (now 5bn $). ties (incubation, acceleration etc.) are a fundamental part of the early-stage high-growth ecosystem. Therefore The Israeli ecosystem is a result of on-going public-private they cannot be evaluated solely without their connection cooperation. It was originally planned in the late 80´s based to VC industry, research community and corporate play- on the experiences on the largest high-growth market, the ers. They can be a very efficient tool for growth-oriented USA (especially The Silicon Valley). The major drivers development as shown by the most successful high- creating an opportunity for Israel to enter the global high- growth economies (e.g. the Israeli example). growth industry were:● The time-span of operations. To achieve concrete results ● Injection of talent due to massive immigration from in the development activities on the early-stage high- the former Sovjet states growth ecosystem takes time. Typically it takes a mini- ● Strong technology base in defence and military mum of 5 years before any real results can be shown. ● High quality research and the emerging entrepreneurial This is especially true with growth incubation since it thinking. plays a significant role in the future success of the com- pany. This success – however – typically takes 5–7 years The first attempts (e.g. the Athena program) to engage the to realize2. industry were not successful due to the lack of commercial players on the market. The people on the OCS (The OfficeIsrael is one of the major technology hubs in the world. Is- of the Chief Scientist) soon realized that the only way torael could have not based their success on large corpora- engage the industry was to attract the best people to the Is-tions, because they didn’t have such a corporate economy raeli market. This was the birth of the Yozma for example Finland has. They have managed to build anextended ecosystem in less than 15 years. Therefore it is es-sential to learn from their experiences.2 Interviews with Norm Kadermann, Bob Ronstadt and Joel Wiggins3 IDC: The competitive advantage of Israel, 2006; selected interviews4 Interview with Yigal Erlich 5
  11. 11. 2.2.1 The Yozma Program there is no local or near-by market for the Israeli compa- nies, they have to be global from the day one. Through theThe Yozma program was a development program based on participation of the global investors in the Israeli funds, athe experiences from the SBIC (Small Business Investment clear path to global markets was built. The main marketCompany) from the US. The goal was to create a viable VC has been in the US (due to the high share of software com-industry to Israel. The core tool of Yozma was the launch panies) but recently also far-east and European marketsof 10 new early-stage technology funds (target size 20 M$ have been emerging. Typically the sales and marketingeach) with initial funds (40–50%) provided by the Israeli activities are operated in US and the R&D remains in Is-government. The public money was used to trigger the rael.funds, not to generate upside. Therefore it had a call optionoffering all joining commercial investors (fund-of-funds, The Israeli government has initiated many activities toprivate equity, VC funds, private investors) an option to attract the leading global companies to the Israeli mar-purchase the government investment until 5 years of the ket. They have engaged new multi-national joint devel-first closing of the fund with an interest rate of 5%. This opment funds, introduced new tax arrangements and of-proved to be a very successful model5. fered special government grants and loans to multi-na- tional companies8.The key success criteria for Yozma was the ability to at-tract the major commercial players to participate in the There are currently over 40 (44 in the summer 2007) lead-launch of the VC industry. Israeli’s realized that they had ing global companies operating their strategic research andvirtually no competence in managing the funds and devel- development centers in Israel. Over 85%of them have beenoping the technology companies. Therefore they attracted established through M&A activity – only 7 by Greenfieldthe best talent from the US to engage the activities by pro- operations. Over 30 bn $ has been invested in Israelviding them with considerable upside, tax benefits and through trade-sales, mergers and IPO´s. There are 2 rea-other incentives). They were able to commit the major sons for success:players of the VC industry to join the Yozma funds to cre- ● Born Global approach. Israeli technology companiesate a global network later proving to be valuable for the Is- are typically established solely to the global markets.raeli companies. The OCS also established a separate Through the networks originating years back and espe-fund (20M$) for direct syndication investments to boost cially created during the Yozma, Israeli companies havethe size of initial investments in the beginning. This opera- been successfully relocating to global markets, mainlytion was ceased when the VC funds started actively invest- US. Israelis are willing to tolerate the risk required toing in the Israeli market6. create successful global companies. They also under- stand the value of critical mass and brand creation inThe Israelis created the VC industry in a single blow. The global operations.Yozma –oriented funds currently manage over 5 bn $ and ● Continuous support from the government. The govern-the Israeli VC market is the largest one outside US; proba- ment has actively engaged new initiatives to attractbly the most successful compared to the size of the econ- global companies to Israel. Tax benefits have been intro-omy. The fact that 10 active new players were engaged duced, targeted R&D funding packages have been cre-created a vibrant and active early-stage investment mar- ated and strategic partnerships (e.g. joint funds like theket utilizing the emerging talent and ideas available. This Bird Foundation) have been established to generate newwas a major building block for the high-growth ecosys- business opportunities.tem. Currently there are over 60 active VC funds operatingin Israel including many of the top-tier international VC The Israelis have been successful in attracting the globalcompanies7. companies to be a vital component of the high-growth eco- system. Instead of just promoting the sales activities of the technology companies, the Israelis have been able to turn2.2.2 The Exit Channel the tide resulting in a huge amount of invested capital in the Israel high-tech industry. Naturally the main reason here isAfter the Yozma was successfully engaged, the number of the high-quality competence expressed by the successfulIsraeli high-growth start-ups started to grow rapidly. The companies, but the role of the Israeli government has alsonext challenge was to generate exit opportunities. Since been vital9.5 Avnimelech & Teubal: Creating VC industries that co-evolve with growth6 Interview with Yigal Erlich7 Interview with Yoram Oron8 Interview with Mina Goldink9 Avnimelech & Teubal: Building Venture Capital Industries – Understanding the US and Israel experiences6
  12. 12. 2.2.3 The Incubator System in Israel ● Tight selection. The Israeli incubation system can be seen a “pre-school” for VC funding. The hit-rate amongAfter the emergence of Yozma, the Israelis realized that the incubators is 3–5% and the selection criteria is verythey need to be able to support the VC industry by business VC oriented. Currently the 23 incubators have arounddevelopment activities. As in most of the economies, the 240 companies as customers (average 10 companies perIsraelis established publicly funded network of incubators incubator). The average number of managers per incu-(the OCS incubator program) mainly focusing on basic bator is 3 resulting in only 3-4 companies to manage perbusiness development. These incubators were funded and key resource.managed by public sector officials with lack of global busi- ● The leverage factor. The key structural element in the Is-ness experience. The system increased the number of incu- raeli incubational system is the leverage factor in fund-bator companies, but could not support their growth. ing provided by the OCS. When a company is selected in to the incubator, OCS typically provides the companyIn 2003 the system was changed. The OCS revised its incu- with a 400 K$ grant (separate decision though) includingbator program by cutting off the direct funding to the incu- a special collateral and a royalty deal. In addition thebators. Instead the VC industry took over the incubators. VC´s involved commit a minimum of 100 K$ (typicallyThe fundamentals of the Israeli incubator system are10: 300–400 K$) to the company. In reality the company re-● Privatization. 23 of 24 incubators in the OCS program ceives a total funding of 500–800 K$ for the maximum are mainly owned and managed by VC´s. The incubator incubation period of 24 months (6 month milestones). network is seen as the major development tool for the The OCS funding includes a call option for the VC´s in- challenging seed-phase companies by both parties; the volved enabling them to purchase the collateral at any OCS and the VC´s. In practise the incubators are owned given time to increase their ownership in the company. by VC management companies, key personnel and in This arrangement makes the incubators a very lucrative many cases the academia. and effective tool to manage the “window of opportu-● Competence. The incubation operations are managed by nity” challenge so difficult in the early stage. experienced professionals with background from being a serial entrepreneur or a VC. The key persons have a di- The Israeli incubation system is widely regarded as the rect upside on the incubator and in most cases they are most efficient in recent evaluations (PWC, IDC, Teubal & allowed to have an upside on the companies they man- Morris11). The key is the revised focus for growth compa- age. One of the key actions by the incubator is to bring in nies only, including the heavy involvement by the VC´s. the new management for the companies when they enter When compared, the systems in Finland and Israel operate the system. This is typically done as the first action to get differently. the project up to speed. Incubators have a pool of man- agement experts as C-level resources but the incubator Finnish incubational system is almost totally based on pro- managers are also willing to take part-time management ject funding, which has lead to project manager -based fac- assignments from their customer companies. ulty whereas Israeli model is based on business profession-● Networking. The Israeli’s have managed to transform als (serial entrepreneurs, executives, VC experience).The the incubator network as a vital part of the high-growth major difference is the number of companies served by the ecosystem. Academia has an active role in the system system. In Finland, the goal of the system during the last and in many cases the university is a shareholder in the few years has been to increase the number of companies in incubator. This creates a clear incentive for them to force the incubators – with success though. However, the amount their best cases to the system. This is further promoted of funding raised shows that the Finnish incubation system by offering academia a significant stake (typically has too many lifestyle entrepreneurs as clients. Other chal- 10–15%) from the start-ups established based on their lenge is the fundamental role of the real-estate manage- IPR. Another part of the network are the multi-national ment. Incubation services are seen as an additional compo- corporations. They are vital source of talent (key person- nent for real-estate management whereas in Israel real-es- nel rotation) and dealflow (spin-offs). In many cases tate is seen as an additional component for the incubation corporations realize that their IPR can grow faster as operations. start-up than as an internal development project (the Cisco approach).10 Interview with Rina Pridor11 Schefer & Frenkel: The Evaluation of the Israeli technological incubator program and its projects. Frenkel, Schefer, Miller: Public vs. Private Technological Incubator Programs 7
  13. 13. Metric Finland Israel Number of incubators 26 (Tekel Members) 23 (Certified by OCS) Number of annual high-growth start-ups Approx. 100 Approx. 500 Number of companies in process 2 400 Tekel Total 230 avg. 24 (Yrke) / incubator Avg. 10 / incubator Number of companies per incubator manager 10-15 3-4 Entry Hit-Rate 30-40% 3-5% Survival Rate Not measured, estimated at 80-90% Measured, 40-50% Funds Raised by the graduates in 2006 No information available, estimated at 5-10 M$ Measured, 250 M$ (220 M$ 1H/2007) KPI`s used Number of companies processed VC funding acquired Employment factor Survival rate (3/5years ) VC Involvement Low, occasional Part-of the system, ownership University Involvement Low, occasional Part-of the system, ownership from the incubator and from the companies Corporate Involvement Low, occasional High, active networking Dealflow source Upside Generation No upside opportunity Ownership from the customer companies (up to 5%, regulated) Typical manager profile Program Manager Serial Entrepreneur, VC Business developer with limited experience Annual investment by goverment N/A 25 M$ Figure 4. Comparison of the incubation systems.Another model of commercialization used successfully in whereas Finland is lacking some of the major cornerstones.Israel is licensing. The licensing company of The Hebrew In Israel the value of competence – especially serial entre-University of Jerusalem (among the TOP 100 globally in preneurship – is thoroughly understood and valued. Thethe Shanghai university ranking) called Yissum operates whole system is designed to support global growth in ordersuccessful licensing operations with annual revenue of to create more success stories as people learn from their ex-40M$. 12Yissum licenses the IPR portfolio of the university perience. (Figures 5 and 6)(5000 patents) mostly to the leading corporate players pres-ent in the Israeli market. They also partner actively with In Finland, the cycle looks different. Since the ambitionthese companies to assess the strategic research areas for level is low and we lack the experience from the successthe university based on market information.13 Yissum runs stories, it is difficult to attract the global players and their2 parallel business models: competence to Finnish market. This again lowers the odds● Licensing model based on royalties. Models include di- for success stories promoting the ecosystem. rect licensing and royalty-based licensing.● Start-ups based on the Yissum IPR. These companies The major difference between Israel and Finland is the atti- are founded within one of the incubators in the OCS in- tude of the governmental players. In Finland, the govern- cubator program to ensure the VC involvement and ment is looking for direct involvement in the high-growth management talent. No company is established by ecosystem supported by the strive for direct ROI for invest- Yissum and the research group alone. ments. The assumption is that most value is generated by the system itself15.2.2.4 Summary on Israel In Israel the government involvement is mostly indirect supported by the strive for indirect return. The assumptionThe major difference between Israel and Finland can be is that the most value is generated by the commercials play-seen on the ecosystem14. The Israelis have been able to cre- ers in the ecosystem.ate a prosperous ecosystem with strong global involvement12 In Finland the annual estimated annual licensing revenue from university-based IPR is less than 5 M€.13 Inteview with Nava Swersky Sofer14 Interview with Yoram Oron15 Interviews with selected persons in Israel8
  14. 14. Goverment Immigration Experienced Initiatives 2nd generation Entrepreneurs Incubators Availability of Defence Technical Successful High-Quality People Global Technology & Companies Infrastructure Management Corporate Expertice R&D Leading Academic Institutions & Research Entrepreneurial Culture Seasoned VC Corporate Industry Spin-offs Figure 5. The Israeli high-tech ecosystem. Significant Limited Market Market Potential Supply of Potential Lack of Management Management Talent Talent High Low Ambition Ambition Level Level USA & FINLAND ISRAEL Successful Poor Execution Execution High Low Success Success Rate Rate Strong Low Adequate Inadequate Funding Funding Resources Resources Figure 6. Prosperous vs vicious cycle.2.3 Findings from the US facilities (office space, laboratories, development envi- ronments etc.) to the incubator. The incubator is run onThere are several business development model found in the commercial basis focusing on the business developmentUS which could be adapted in Finland. The common nomi- of its clients. The resources working for the incubatornators for all models are: are typically well connected, experienced business peo-● Tight Selection ple and the operative costs are covered by the incubator● Strong Industry Focus companies in the services they buy. Close cooperation● Strong focus on business competence with VC industry is a key to successful operations. They● Vital role of the VC Industry. key metrics are entry hit-rate, VC funding raised and re- tention rate (3/5 years). Very good example is SW Busi-The most common incubation structure in the US can be ness Incubator from San Jose CA. They have had 125called a hybrid incubator. It is a public-private opera- companies as customers during the last 11 years (cur-tion, where a public sector party (state, city, municipal- rently 14 clients). In total these companies have raisedity, regional development organization) offers the basic 650 M$16.16 Interview with Chuck Erikson 9
  15. 15. Another model is an incubator with a separate fund. A good ers and a large home market. The role of the public sector isexample here is the Acceleration Company in Seattle, to facilitate the growth opportunities – not to interfere withWAS. It is a life science incubator where 7 VC´s have com- the concrete activities.mitted a fund of 21 M$ (3 M$ each). When a company isaccepted into the incubator, it typically received an initialinvestment of 1 M$ from the fund. That money is used toprepare the company for the initial funding usually pro- 2.4 Summary of Benchmarkingvided by the VC´s involved in the fund. The Accelerator FindingsCompany has been operating for 3 years and has served 6companies during that period17. The common nominator from all successful incubation op- erations is the strong focus on growth companies. It trans-The third model is a university-based commercialization lates into tight selection criteria, low hit-rate and the devel-company. For example MIT runs a commercialization opment of VC capability. The understanding of risk-re-company investing from a separate fund to proof-of-con- ward matrix is critical.cept phase 100-200 K$. After this phase, the companiesshould be ready to close their first seed investment, typi- Since Finns avoid risk by nature, they tend to invest in lowcally from a bunch of business angels. The selection pro- risk – low return companies. These companies are usuallycess here is also rigorous. As of summer 2007, the com- referred as lifestyle companies. The Finns typically set apany at the MIT had funded 67 companies, out of which 11 maximum level of risk to tolerate to improve the returns ofhad been able to raise VC funding totaling 90 M$. their investments. The US typically assesses a minimum risk they must take in order to maximize their reward po-All of the models are focused on supporting high-growth tential. This is the reason why US VC´s typically investstart-ups. Therefore the key performance indicator is the most of the disruptive cases and Europeans (includingVC funding acquired. Finns) don’t. By limiting their risk, the Finns efficiently limit their upside potential.The experiences from the US system cannot be imple-mented in Finland directly. Since the system is strongly The most successful early-stage ecosystems are based onmarket-driven, it requires a strong network of global play- the understanding of the risk-reward matrix. Therefore Market Return Cap Growth The US VC’s Entrepreneurship Feasible Investment Set 1000M€ The US Vc’s The Actual Maximum Possible Return Risk/Return 100M€ Minimum Possible Return Function 10M€ Finnish way (Risk Minimizers’) Finland’s Valley Maximum Possible The Commercial Vc’s of Death Return Minimum Risk Maximum Risk 1M€ ROI = 0 Lifestyle Entrepreneurship 0 0 0,5 M€ 1 M€ 5 M€ 20 M€ 50 M€ Total Funding The Finnish Way Finnish Way GAP (Risk Minimizers’) (Risk Minimizers’) Risk Feasible Investment Set Maximum Risk Figure 7. Mentalities of risk and return – the matrix.17 Interview with Barbara Harley10
  16. 16. they focus their activities on the best companies looking for 2.5.2 The Status of Businesshigh upside. This again promotes growth through talent ro- Development Activitiestation and the influx of capital. Secondly, the fundamentals of the Finnish system are seri- ously distorted. The short time-span of development activi- ties, direct funding by public sector players and the lack of2.5 The Finnish Findings international competence has created a vicious cycle of non-professional business development activities.2.5.1 The Purpose of the Finnish Low growth Innovation System No and success rate of the companies competence Lack ofThere are two fundamental findings in this report. Firstly, for companies smart moneythe performance of the Finnish innovation system must be with international competenceevaluated against its fundamental target for existence. So, Lack ofis the purpose of the Finnish innovation system to? commercial Service● To enable growth and create winners? Government Providers● To support the R&D for corporations? compensates by Lack of distributing● To give everyone a fair chance? professionalism more money directlyIf measured against the ability to enable growth and createwinners, the Finnish system fails. The number of growthcompanies is decreasing all the time along with the number More Share andof global success stories. The system supports a large num- Bureuacracy Tighter amount of rules for public fundingber of lifestyle entrepreneurs with low ambition to grow increasing public fundingdue to risk aversion. This leads to the inefficient resource by EUallocation. Figure 8. The status of Finnish businessWhen measured as a system supporting corporate R&D, development.the system performance is acceptable. Large corporationslike Nokia, Metso and Kone Corporation – to name a few – The system for Finnish early-stage business developmentbenefit from the funding provided by Tekes and other gov- is dangerously self-sufficient: Players in the system areernmental bodies. The price/quality –ratio for engineering mainly interested in their own business still on a reasonably good level in Finland. It must be whereas they should be focused on the development ofnoted here that these companies are global and typically their customers business ● Huge number of parallel or superimposed projects andsales and marketing competence is in a relatively highlevel. Unfortunately corporate driven innovation economy programs ● Mostly low impact and high bureaucracy with no realis severely based on Nokia’s R&D investments. The sec-ond largest R&D investor in Finland, Metso, invested aim for results ● No real competence to help the companies… except onapprox. 2,7% of the amount of Nokia’s R&D investments public 200618. The goals of the system are fundamentally wrong resultingHowever currently the system fails to attract the leading in- in a false sense of successful activities:ternational companies to Finland. That is a major challenge ● Quantity instead of quality. Typical example is publicin the Finnish ecosystem. funding based on the number of companies accepted in a program or project resulting the lower entry barrier byIf the goal of the system is to give everyone a fair chance, the coordinating party and ultimately the lack of re-the Finnish system works nicely. An entrepreneur can get sources per company.government support in the form of over 100 funding ele-ments provided by more than 10 public offices, the number The evaluation on the success of operations is based on aof initial VC investments per capita is probably the highest subjective assessment of the players involved in the systemin the world per capita (over 10% hit-rate) and the system ● Projects and programs are regarded successful, becausealso supports lifestyle entrepreneurs with no real pressure targets – originally set wrong - are met. In reality no de-to grow. velopment has happened.18 Talouselämä TOP 500 2006 11
  17. 17. ● In some cases, the measures have been altered during the VC´s also tend to over-analyze the cases as they are, project (from absolute to cumulative) to provide suffi- without looking into the broader opportunity window cient results. and the possibility to build a successful case. Therefore the disruptive cases are very difficult for Finnish VC´s toIn general, Finnish start-ups are operating with insufficient invest in.resources and cannot source the best talent to help commer- ● High-quality dealflow. The volume of disruptive andcialize their technology. Most of the intermediary organi- unique ideas is low in Finland. There are serious chal-zations are directly or indirectly funded by government and lenges in the ability to commercialize research-basedlack the competence to help the growth companies. In addi- start-ups and corporate spin-offs. In Israel the incubationtion the existing players use the support from the govern- system serves as the major tool to manage these projects.ment to offer low-priced services and thereby prohibit thebusiness from the commercial players. One clear indica- ● Management talent. There needs to be more focus on thetion of the self-sufficient system is the lack of international management experience. Finnish VC´s are too slow toservice providers (e.g. Big 5 consultants or international change the management especially when they wouldservice providers) from the system because it is virtually have to replace the founders. Early-stage companies typ-impossible to generate business opportunities. ically develop in phases. To support that at least 3 kinds of management resources are needed; Board level, man- agerial level (C-Resource) and Entrepreneur-in-Resi-2.5.3 The Status of the Finnish dence (EIR). Another challenge here is created by the VC Industry high volume of soft public funding available. The good people stay with low opportunity companies since theyThe status of the Finnish VC industry is critical. The num- are not forced to look for other alternatives. This prohib-ber of active funds investing in early-stage is currently less its the vital rotation of talent.than 10. The total annual value of the VC industry is around ● Exit Channel. One of the major challenges for VC indus-200 M€. Most of the funds have moved to more mature try in Finland has been the non-existing local or near-bystages or MBO/MBI –investments. To compensate the lack exit market. This has been compensated by using 3rdof commercial players, governmental investment agencies party M&A advisory during the exit window to generateled by Finnvera (Aloitusrahasto Vera) and Finnish Industry exits. The results have been moderate at best. The Is-Investment (Start Fund) have entered the market. They are raeli’s – however – have taken the opposite approach.investing into a large number of companies with average They have been able to attract the leading companies ininvestment being low (In the first 6 months of 2007, public to the Israeli market generating a continuous exit oppor-investors invested 88% of the money in seed and start-up). tunity for Israeli companies. Similar structures and ac-They fail to produce the value-added expected from the VC tivities must be engaged in Finland as well.and in many cases seriously endanger the next fundinground. The same thing often happens with business angelsas their investments are in a very low level19. 2.5.4 Summary on the Finnish StatusThere has been only a few new technology funds raised in Finland invests heavily in the innovation system. It hasFinland after the dot-com bubble. The main reason for the been estimated that the total investment into research anddifficulties in fund-raising has been the negative historic development is around 5 bn € annually. The share of thereturns of early-stage investments in Finland. However, re- public sector is estimated around 1,5 bn €. The system fo-cent studies have shown that fundamentally there is no rea- cuses extensively on the structures, programs and projectsson why early-stage funds could not produce significant re- designed to develop the system itself rather than the cus-turns – as is the case in US and Israel. However, the VC in- tomers (companies and research groups) in the system.dustry needs to be re-launched with strong focus on the Therefore majority of the key measures used to manage thebuilding blocks of successful VC operations: system are focused on the input –side whereas the out-● Solid investment strategy. The investment strategy is the put/outcome –side measures are hardly used. core of VC operations. Typically Finnish VC´s have been operating with a wide scope of investment areas The share of exports by the SME companies is very low in whereas then most successful funds have a tight strat- Finland (around 20%) compared to the European medium. egy. Strategic approach is even more critical. Finnish On the one hand it reflects the strong role of large corpora- VC´s are typically technology-oriented looking markets tions in Finland, on the other hand it shows that finnish from inside out whereas the best VC´s are business SME´s do not grow and do not operate in international driven and are looking markets from inside out. Finnish markets.19 Maula et al: The Prospects for successful early-stage Venture Capital in Finland12
  18. 18. One of the major indicators of the quality of operations by The current system in Finland is self-sufficient and com-the public sector in the growth company segment, is the plex. According the study conducted by Boston Consultingcorrelation factor between public funding and VC fund- Group (1000 executives in the US), 5 major hurdles for in-ing20. novation environment were identified21: ● Development too slow (32%) ● Lack of Coordination (28%) Public-to-private Finland Israel ● Risk-Averse Culture (26%) Correlation ● Limited Customer and Market Insight (25%) Total Correlation Factor Less than 1 4–5 ● Lack of Selection on the right ideas (21%). (estimate) Incidentally, the issues mentioned above are very actively Incubator Correlation Factor Around 1 15 visible in the Finnish system. If Finland wants to increase (estimate) the number of global growth companies, actions must be taken immediately.Israel currently ranks among the top of the world with an Current innovation system in Finland has not been devel-estimated 5$ of VC funding generated from every 1 $ in- oped through systematic and thorough benchmarking ofvested by the public sector. The incubator companies in Is- globally existing systems, or understanding of high growthrael generate 15 $ of VC funding for every 1 $ received venturing mechanisms. The starting point has been corpo-from the government. Some isolated analysis suggests that rate-driven development culture and tools. It has been de-the total correlation factor in Finland is less than 1 but no signed by the innovation system operators themselves,accurate measurements have been done. who also carry the interest to highlight their own role and success.20 Figures based on cross-calculations from the existing statistics21 BCG 2005 13
  19. 19. 3 SuggestionsThe status of the Finnish system is alarming – a roadmap to into balance sheet problems in the companies receivingchange the fundamentals must be created. funding. In addition, public funding does not require the infusion of talent into the companies funded which is fa-There are no quick fixes available. The Finnish system has tal in the long run for the whole ecosystem. Instead theybeen distorted for a long period of time; therefore it can not should understand even the value of failures in the longbe fixed overnight. In addition, there are several successful runcomponents in the system which must be sustained. A ● Tolerance for risk and failures. There should be much5-year roadmap focused on the major development areas is more tolerance for risk and failures in the Finnish sys-needed, but selected activities can be implemented right tem. Currently an entrepreneur failing in Finland is re-away. garded as the worst kind. In Israel and especially in the US a failed entrepreneur is the REAL entrepreneur.There are several fundamentals that need to be changed: Therefore changes in the legislation for bankruptcy● New rules for the public sector funding. The current ap- should be considered. The public sector players should proach for funding is creating a market failure due to the also tolerate greater risk and failures to enable better lack of selection in all phases of the commercialization growth opportunities. value chain. Too many resources are wasted to the life- ● Importance of the commercial VC industry. There is a style companies; direct investments by Avera (and pre- serious shortage of the commercial players in the viously Start Fund) create a large number of companies early-stage VC industry. Instead of the direct invest- with inadequate resources for growth, lack of business ments by the government, focus should be shifted into competence and active ownership. structures enabling the launch of new funds with strong● The acceptance of indirect return for investment. The commitment to create growth companies. A Finnish ver- strive for direct return in the public funding also creates sion of the Yozma program is needed. Government must challenges. There are too many debt and collateral introduce structures attracting global investors with in- –based funding elements used by public sector resulting ternational contact network. Description ? Finnish Innovation System is broken fundamentals must be changed Reality Check ? No quick fixes available ? Requires fundamentally different model ? 5 5-year plan to move from research-oriented technology development to market-driven high-tech ecosystem Roadmap ? Requires new structures and new players ? Can be achieved due to strong building blocks ? New rules for the public sector funding ? The indirect return Fundamentals to be changed ? Tolerance for risk ? Importance of the commercial VC Industry ? The growth focus for the business development services ? Higher quality research networks ? Boost the growth entrepreneurship ecosystem Figure 9. Main suggestions.14
  20. 20. ● The growth focus for the business development services. 3.1 Roadmap The current incubator system does not support growth companies. It lacks the vital ingredients like VC´s, cor- There is a need for a roadmap transforming Finland from porate players and active participation with the acade- the research-oriented economy into a market-driven high- mia. A new concept for incubators is needed. It must be a growth ecosystem. new player / players since the current incubator network has no competence or resources needed. The role of the Major parts of the roadmap are: VC´s is vital along with strong cooperation with the aca- demia and selected corporate players. ● New roles for the public sector agengies – Replace direct governmental early-stage investments● Demand for higher quality research networks. Active networks with the leading research institutions must be with active commercial VC market. established. There are valuable models for commercial- – Centralize all growth related activities to single party ization tested and operative in the most successful uni- to boost the competence for growth entrepreneurship. versities (e.g. MIT, Stanford, Yissum). They will also ● Restart of the VC industry strongly contribute to the standard of research in Fin- – Engage Finnish version of Yozma. land. In addition a separate initiative to promote the – Introduce new tax benefits. growth entrepreneurship research in Finland must be en- – Remove barriers from the foreign capital gaged. ● Transform business development services● Boost the entrepreneurship ecosystem. Since there is a – Engage a pilot for the Incubator 2.0 program shortage on the leading international companies actively – Roll-out Incubator 2.0 program to create 4-5 viable participating in the Finnish high-growth ecosystem, ac- tions must be taken. Initiatives to create structures at- incubators ● Commercial viability of the research tracting global companies here must be started. These initiatives include tax arrangements, removal of the bar- – Universities riers for foreign capital, attraction of talent and struc- – Academia centre of excellences tures to support corporate spin-offs or spin-outs. In addi- ● Transform the finnish early-stage ecosystem to support tion, the involvement of the business angel networks as a the infusion of talent from the leading global players. source of talent must be supported. 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 New funding rules for New roles for the public the public sector sector players Lower the barriers for the Restart of the VC industry foreign capital Transform the business development system Enhance the commercial viability of reseach activities Transform the high-tech ecosystem Figure 10. Roadmap. 15
  21. 21. 3.2 Major Actions Proposed The funds should implement a tight focus and solid invest- ment strategy aiming for initial investments of 2–3 M € to provide sufficient resources for growth. In addition, the3.2.1 New Rules and Roles for the Public funds should have a large pool of talent to resource the Sector Funding portfolio companies from the day one.The growth entrepreneurship operations within the public As the Finnish version of Yozma is engaged, the direct in-sector should be centralized to one party to enhance the ef- vestments without the involvement of the commercialficiency of the operations. The main focus should be to VC´s should be ceased. The current direct investment ac-combine the public funding with business competence and tivity by Avera (and previously Tesi) is blocking the launchmarket intelligence. All funding should work in coopera- of new early-stage VC-funds. It is also slowing the growthtion with commercial players involved with the companies. of target companies and wasting resources to lifestyle com-There are too many governmental offices currently in- panies. Avera could be a vital player in the new Incubatorvolved with growth-related activities resulting in sub-opti- 2.0 concept in cooperation with commercial VC´s.mal operations.Tekes should also introduce tighter funding criteria. Cur- 3.2.3 Introduction of the Incubator 2.0rently Tekes –funding is not selective enough and it doesnot require the infusion of talent into the company. The key Programtargets should be: A new incubation program should be implemented by● To remove the lifestyle entrepreneurs with no growth Tekes. A pilot incubator should be up and running by the ambitions from the system. end of March 2008. The involvement of the VC´s is criti-● To demand stronger management competence from the cal. In addition selected players from the academia and re- companies search community should be involved.● To partly or wholly outsource the decision-making on growth companies to a pool of external experts The incubator 2.0 concept is an answer to the major chal- lenges in public funding:The new TK&I funding (1,0 M€/company for 3 year pe- ● Lack of ownership for the money distributedriod) is a move to the right direction. However, the active ● Lack of management talent for companies fundedownership and the infusion of business competence should ● Lack of global focus and a requisite for the funding. The proposed Incubator 2.0model could be a vital tool for Tekes when using this new The incubator serves as a tool to provide value-added ser-funding tool. vices and active management of the early-stage growth companies. It combines the vision, network and expertiseThe governmental players should use grants as the major of the commercial players involved with the leverage pro-funding tool. The current capital loans and collaterals seri- vided by public funding. The major benefits from the incu-ously damage the balance sheets of the target companies bator 2.0 model are:creating unnecessary hurdles for the next funding rounds. ● Tool for active ownership ● Tool for management expertise requirement ● Tool for VC growth vision3.2.2 The Finnish Version of the Yozma ● Manages the network of expertise Program ● Creates a platform of corporate Involvement.As the fund-raising in the early-stage is very difficult, The incubator should be owned and managed by VC´s instrong and active promotion from the government is cooperation with Avera. In addition selected corporateneeded. The government (e.g. Finnish Industry Invest- players should be incentivized to join the operation. Thement) should introduce structures with governmental in- optimal combination should have a Finnish VC, an interna-vestment with a call option. tional VC and Avera as the major owners. VTT (The Na- tional Research Center) and major universities (e.g. HUT)The program should aim for 4–5 new early-stage funds should also be connected to the incubator through owner-each 50–80 M€. The funds should be managed by cross- ship. Their motivation is the structured commercializationcultural teams combining the local experience of the finn- funnel and upside opportunity when the company acceptedish system with the global network and market informa- is based on their IPR.tion. There should be active networking with selected par-ties internationally to provide the bridging opportunity to Tekes should provide funding for the companies selectedforeign primary markets (e.g. US, Far East). using the new (TK&I) funding element for young innova-16
  22. 22. Dealflow Pool Tekes Funding Growth targets and milestones VC´s Funding for selected companies Incubators Global growth 2-year (1+1) opportunity Development Dealflow Incubator 2.0 development programs program VC growth funding VTT universities etc. Ownership Competence 300+ prospects Funding annually Network of localized Corporate 5-10 chosen specialists VC´s Corporate lighthouses Corporate Network players Competence Academia Business Avera Figure 11. Example of players and roles.tive companies. The company selection is primarily done activities. These resources can also be valuable as Entre-by the incubator. The funding committed should be 400 K€ preneur-In-residence in selected foreign markets.from Tekes (in form of a grant) and 200-400 K€ from the ● Operative hit-men. These resources are focused on oper-VC´s involved and Avera for the pre-defined incubation ative tasks, especially in the business concept phase.period of 2 years. The funding includes tight milestones One of the major issues is to ensure the validity of mar-agreed with the entrepreneurs before the entrance to the in- ket data.cubator. External resources should always be long-term – prefera-The number of companies accepted into the incubator is bly they should be capable for continuing to work with thelow (max 10 annually) because the support for the compa- company even after graduation. Projects looking for incu-nies is extensive. Hit-rate should be around 3-5 %. The ma- bation should be unique, disruptive and have a window ofjor sources of dealflow are regional incubators, research in- opportunity. Incubator should accept projects ranging fromstitutes, universities and intermediaries. idea phase into initial revenue phase. The costs for the operations should be covered by Avera,The key personnel of the incubator should be either experi- VC`s and the service fees paid by the companies accepted.enced serial entrepreneurs or have a background from VC The services offered range from basic operative supportoperations. Key personnel should only have 3-4 cases to (financial, legal, technical) to outsourced part-time man-manage per manager in order to provide active value-added agement services. These services are mainly offered byhelp – every day. The key personnel should have direct up- third-party partners but part-time management assign-side by ownership from the incubator. In addition, they ments can be executed by the incubator resources as well.should have a carried interest in the funds of the VC´s in-volved. The success criterion for the incubation is based on the ability to create VC capable companies. Key metricsThe incubator should operate a pool of expert resources to should be Hit-rate, VC funding raised (total, average, cu-speed the growth of the companies. The pool should cover mulative) and retention rate (3/5 years).the 3 phases of development; business concept, executionand management and strategy assessment. The pool should The incubator program should be managed by Tekes. Ev-consist of 3 kinds of resources: ery incubator accepted must comply with the requirements● Senior executives. Senior executives are mainly mentors defined above. The program should run for 5 years initially or board members focused on the strategic choices. in order to ensure transparency of the operations and the● C-level management resources. These resources are ability to generate REAL measurable results. After that the mainly focused on the execution of sales and marketing program should be extended in 3-year periods. 17
  23. 23. 3.2.4 Other SuggestionsResearch partnerships. Finnish universities should engagecloser relationships with leading universities. They shouldespecially learn from existing models and structures forcommercialization. The most potential targets are Yissum,MIT and Stanford.Boost for the ecosystem. Separate actions are needed to at-tract the leading global companies to join the finnisheco-system. This should be promoted by tax arrangementsand targeted financing instruments to international compa-nies.18