Maria 01 Impact Report reveals Experienced Founders Launch New Startups Amid Decline in Funding

Maria 01, the Nordic startup hub, has unveiled its latest Impact Report, focusing on the social impact of the startups based on its campus.

The report for 2023 indicates a decrease in the total funding secured by startups, even as the number of new startups seeking membership has risen markedly. Moreover, since its inception in 2016, startups and alumni from Maria 01 have collectively generated revenue exceeding the one billion mark.

Despite a nearly €100 million reduction in funding raised, there was a 20% surge in applications from new startups. The sectors most represented among these applications include health tech & wellbeing, e-commerce & online marketplaces, SaaS, AI, and gaming.

“The decrease in funding was expected, but it’s been a pleasant surprise how many new startups have applied to be part of our community. What stands out is that many of the founders seem to have extensive experience outside the tech industry. This may be a consequence of bigger layoffs in larger companies. However, we have also seen an overall change in attitudes toward work and life goals. Many people think that the economic downturn and a possible layoff is the push needed to start pursuing a long-term dream of entrepreneurship,” says Sarita Runeberg, CEO of Maria 01.

Founders with extensive experience in their professional fields possess a keen awareness of the challenges and opportunities within their industries. Often, they have personally encountered the problem they aim to address. This intimate knowledge of the product-market fit enables them to devise more grounded business strategies and accelerate the market introduction of their products. This advantage could be crucial in navigating the uncertainties of the market.

Runeberg forecasts significant opportunities for new businesses seeking investment in 2024. Areas such as health tech, life sciences, and commercial AI solutions are expected to attract increased attention from investors. The hub anticipates surpassing a significant milestone of one billion in funding secured by its community startups within the year.

The Impact Report also highlighted that Maria 01 hosted a record number of international delegations in 2023, demonstrating the ongoing global interest in the Finnish startup ecosystem and its startups from international investors and stakeholders.

“Our community also holds the majority of Finnish startup investors, many of which managed to raise significant funds last year – Lifeline Ventures, Voima Ventures, and Greencode Ventures, to name a few. This means that there’s still plenty of dry powder for startups to raise funding from the local VCs. We’ve also received numerous contacts from international investors, indicating that they are willing to invest in Finnish startups,” Runeberg explains.

“Despite these positive trends, the fundraising environment is expected to remain challenging for a while still. Resilience and adaptability will again be key for startups navigating these challenges. Our belief remains unwavering that startups will continue to be the driving force for positive change in societies and economies. At Maria 01, our commitment to nurturing the next world-changing companies from Helsinki, Finland, is stronger than ever,” Runeberg concludes.