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Sitra opened intro marketplace as a forum for international initial investments

Sitra hosted the first European INTRO Investment Forum in Helsinki on 6–7 June.


Investments from targeted markets boost the development of growth companies

Sitra’s INTRO marketplace gathers together international investors and companies. Sitra is hosting the first European INTRO Investment Forum in Helsinki on 6–7 June. Targeted specifically at investors, the event promotes cross-border investments.

INTRO Investment Forum will introduce over the course of two days 22 selected companies from ten countries to some 200 investors representing nearly 20 countries. These impressive groups of investors who have now arrived in Helsinki comprise both funds and business angels.

The first day will consist of company presentations. On the second day, each investment target company will undergo the first round of preliminary investment negotiations. The goal of the Forum is to produce realised investments.

The event is part of the two-year EASY programme of the European Commission, the purpose of which is to chart the practical potential for trans-European early-stage investment activities from the perspectives of culture, legislation, taxation and quality. The project involves 17 European partners from 11 different countries. Sitra was invited to join as the only Nordic expert member.

Helsinki forum crosses three different borders

– “The event seeks transnational investments within the EU. It also allows us to examine the potential of crossing the border between business angels and funds by offering them the possibility of joint investments in the same companies. In addition, we will experiment with early-stage investments across the Russian–EU border,” says Risto Kalske, Director of Sitra’s PreSeed service.

The investment forum will introduce two top Russian companies to European investors. There will also be a significant representation of Russian investors to familiarise themselves with European companies as investment targets. In addition to the nearly 200 European investors, several noted American investor bodies have registered for the Forum.

Aiming at cross-border investments in early-stage companies

Until now, the prevailing thought has been that private capital attracted in the home country of the company will also secure business competence in the company. One of the aims of the Helsinki forum is to expand the concept of “smart capital” to cover investments by investors in the targeted market.

– “A Finnish enterprise, the main market of which will be in France, is well-advised to seek French co-investments. An Italian firm seeking customer relationships in the Russian oil and gas industry will benefit from Russian investments alongside Italian ones. Turning this idea into practice may completely change the course of internationalisation for an early-stage business,” Kalske says.

INTRO marketplace is becoming international

The European Commission has shown great interest in the experiences gained from Sitra’s highly feasible PreSeed concept. The INTRO marketplace, part of Sitra’s PreSeed services, is the most significant meeting place for companies seeking initial investments and potential investors. The INTRO activities currently involve some 450 business angels and knowledge capital investors. INTRO is a central source of deal flow for many funds.

The strength of the INTRO concept is in the fact that it creates added value within the deal flow and that it coordinates the entire investment process. “We measure our success by realised investments. Our results are good: nearly 40% of the companies introduced in the INTRO marketplace have secured their initial investment there. The concept we have developed offers an efficient tool for the European EASY project, the aim of which is to double or even triple the number of active private investors,” says Kalske.

The Helsinki Investment Forum is sponsored by Nokia, Finnvera plc, Global Response Oy and the City of Helsinki.

Further information:

PreSeed service
Risto Kalske, Director, tel. +358 50 368 4054, »

Laura Niemi, Communications Manager, phone +358 50 373 8602,

European Commission EASY project, »

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