With nearly 17 companies per million inhabitants, Finland has the highest concentration of proptech companies in Europe, according to Unissu (a global platform for proptech). How has this small Nordic country with a population of just 5.5 million people developed into a proptech cluster?
As the birthplace of Nokia and global gaming leader Supercell, Finland is a hub for innovation and a promised land for engineers and coders. Key institutions such as Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Center of Finland Ltd drive R&D and have strong programs that encourage commercialization of innovation. Business Finland, a government-funded organization, promotes Finnish businesses abroad, works to attract investment to Finland, and finances innovation.
In 2016, the Finnish government and key industry stakeholders launched Kiradigi to stimulate sustainable digitalization and innovation in the built environment. This project brought government representatives, municipal leaders, and industry companies together to drive change. In a larger country, involving all key decision makers might not have been possible, due to the sheer number of players involved. Between 2016 and 2018, Kiradigi channelled about 16 million Euros of public and private funding into the sector, including 130 different projects to stimulate innovation and create new businesses. Kiradigi will now continue as KiraHub, a non-profit funded by key industry organizations. The Platform of Trust was recently established to serve as a digital platform for sector companies to help fulfil legal obligations related to supplier evaluation and smart identification cards for site workers.
Proptech Finland was launched in 2018 to create a community for proptech. Proptech Finland has forged strong connections in the Nordics and Europe and has been using them to foster links between startups, corporations, and investors in Finland and internationally.
SLUSH, the world-renowned startup event in Helsinki, has brought attention to the startup scene and attracted global investors.
Since 2016, RAKLI (the Finnish Association of Building Owners and Construction Clients), Proptech Finland, and the Nordic Proptech Initiative have organized a proptech-focused side event, RecoTech, building further momentum for the movement.