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26.7.2019

Jyväskylä EBAN Investor day

Jyväskylä Business Rally EBAN Investor Day brings international investors and scaleup companies to Jyväskylä on 31 July

More than 30 private investors from Finland and Europe will be arriving in Jyväskylä during the Neste Rally Finland 2019 week to meet with gaming and esport businesses, seek new investment opportunities and to broaden their understanding of the industries. Organised as part of the Jyväskylä Business Rally, the EBAN Esports and Gaming Investor Day is a collaboration with the European Business Angels Network (EBAN).

The Jyväskylä Business Rally – EBAN Esports and Gaming Investor Day event is designed to bring together investors and scaleups from around the world. It is organised by Business Jyväskylä, the city’s economic development unit, in collaboration with EBAN, a European business association for business angels and AKK Motorsport, the Finnish organisation behind Neste Rally Finland.

In the Investor Day the audience will hear pitches from scaleup businesses as well as presentations from leading business experts, including Jukka-Pekka Vuorinen, Chairman of the Finnish eSports League (FEL) and Jeremy Jackson from esport and gaming analytics specialists Newzoo. A local take will be offered by Kirsi Hakaniemi, Chief Digital Officer at Mediatalo Keskisuomalainen, who will discuss why this traditional media outlet has chosen to get involved in the esports sector. Also taking to the podium is high profile angel investor and serial entrepreneur Angelo Dalli. Dalli has a track record of investing in numerous tech and entertainment industry businesses around the world and has written extensively about many topics, including artificial intelligence.

Businesses and investors seeking opportunities

At the EBAN Investor Day, a total of eight scaleups, preselected for the event through an earlier application process, will be invited to give a six-minute pitch that is an opportunity for the businesses to sell their ideas and convince potential investors of their ability to deliver both growth and returns for investors. The scaleups are seeking funding in the range of EUR 300K to EUR 1 million to underpin rapid new growth and expansion for their business venture. The businesses participating in the event are already well established with strong turnover and growth they now want to bring to the next level. The applications were evaluated by a jury comprising members from EBAN who are all experienced investors and business consultants. The jury will also be in attendance at the event itself in Jyväskylä to provide feedback and mentoring opportunities to participants.

The businesses will also have the opportunity to perform on stage alongside an investor who has previously backed their venture. Two of the featured businesses are from Jyväskylä, three from elsewhere in Finland, two from the United States and one from Estonia.

Zaibatsu Interactive, the largest game studio in Central Finland, was one of the nine businesses to qualify for the event. The company currently employs 14 staff and specialises in mobile games under their own brand and AR/VR and software development on behalf of external clients. Around 50 per cent of the company’s turnover is generated through domestic sales. Since its inception, Zaibatsu has been run on a self-funded basis, supplemented by public sector grants. CEO Jussi Perttola has attended similar events in Finland and internationally but, to date, his contact with investors with a specific focus on the gaming industry has been limited.

“We’re really looking forward to the event and very much see it as an opportunity to make new contacts. It will be attended by high profile investors specialising in this industry so it’ll be great to meet them, have a chat and get the chance to share our story. The programme looks excellent as well. In the past, it’s been difficult to find investors for gaming and esports because the industry has a reputation for being a bit on the tricky side. It’s fantastic that the event is bringing in investors who understand what we’re all about,” Zaibatsu CEO Jussi Perttola said.

“We’re thrilled to have attracted such a high number of investors, especially given the level of specialisation involved in this field. Ultimately however, it’s not about the numbers, and I personally prefer to measure the event’s success by how well we manage to match these startups with investors. When you bring together exciting companies and investors with the right profile, there’s real potential for amazing things to happen,” said Jacopo Losso, EBAN’s Director of Secretariat, commenting ahead of the event.

Jussi Perttola is excited about the opportunities and the wider business environment that exists in Jyväskylä and in Finland in general.

“The gaming industry is fundamentally an international one. It doesn’t matter that we’re a small studio in, what to many people, would be a fairly remote location. Finland offers an excellent set up for us. The industry culture is really positive and open. Finland’s obviously home to a few big global names as well, so that lends a certain level of credibility and appeal to the rest of us too. Jyväskylä is a higher education hub as well, which means that there is an excellent supply of highly qualified graduates for the industry.”

Securing investment takes focused effort

Securing investment for your business or team can often be a long and drawn out process and serious effort is required to stand out from the competition. Companies seeking funding from one or more business angel networks are usually expected to submit a formal application online. The applications are then evaluated by a team of experts and shortlisted candidates are invited to attend meetings and mentoring sessions. The best of the shortlisted candidates are then chosen to present their ideas to actual investors and may ultimately secure the funding they have been looking for. Angel investor networks often receive thousands of applications each year.

“As a rough estimate, around 1 per cent of applicants are successful in securing investment through this type of formal process. It’s a long process, and it takes real tenacity and a willingness to continue to develop your business idea and sell yourself to investors. The business or team need to be ready to generate serious growth and deliver the returns the investors want to see. In Jyväskylä, we’ve now established direct links with EBAN investors, which means that we can help raise the profile of our local businesses with the right people. Obviously, we want to be careful and make sure that we now put the right businesses with real expertise and real potential forward to deliver on the trust they’ve placed in us,” explained Sakari Oikarinen, Chairman at Induco Ltd, who has been working with the City of Jyväskylä over several years to forge links with EBAN.

The sheer number of European startups reflects the difficulties businesses face when they attempt to stand out from the competition. The 2017 Dynamic Mapping of Web Entrepreneurs and Startups Ecosystem project commissioned by the European Commission revealed that 830,000 startups currently operate within 20 key European business hubs, employing a total of 4.5 million people. A report on the findings is available at: http://startupeuropeclub.eu/over-4-5-million-people-working-in-830000-companies-in-20-eu-startup-hubs/

Strategic collaboration for success

The close relationship between EBAN and the City of Jyväskylä has developed gradually over a number of years. Since 2015, Business Jyväskylä has organised the Jyväskylä Business Rally investment panel with Suomen Yrityskehitys Ltd. On the first four occasions, the participating businesses came mainly from the local area with some from further afield in Finland. Every year, the event has also attracted visitors from the EBAN network. The investors have been invited to explore key local development projects, like Hippos, and the city’s sports, health and wellbeing sectors.

EBAN visitors 2018
“We are excited about our visit to Jyväskylä and look forward to seeing eight great companies introducing themselves on stage. It’s a real achievement to have more than thirty investors from across Europe arriving in Jyväskylä, and in peak holiday season too, to discover these gaming and esport businesses for themselves, because we know that investors tend to view the industry as new and unfamiliar. Jyväskylä is a great place to visit, and we know that the event will be professionally run with great attention to detail and have wonderfully relaxed and informal atmosphere,” commented EBAN’s Jacopo Losso.

“This sort of collaboration is possible when there are strong interpersonal relationships in place and a great deal of trust as well as active involvement with the wider network. The engagement has to be genuine with everyone committed to creating win-win outcomes for all. Every single day, events like this one are taking place in big cities around the world. If we were using the traditional marketing approach, we’d never stand out from the competition. Instead, we’ve worked hard to create long-term relationships with people that are based on a genuine sense of trust and respect and that’s been instrumental in moving things forward and attracting the right people to Jyväskylä. The level of visibility we’ve benefitted from through the various EBAN channels is something money just can’t buy and it’s not even something you can measure in financial terms. We’ve also been personally recommended by a number of key people within EBAN, which we value hugely. This shows that our relationship is built on a great deal of mutual appreciation,” commented Suvi Vuojolainen, Business & Marketing Manager at Business Jyväskylä, who organises the Jyväskylä EBAN Investor Day.

“The collaboration between Business Jyväskylä and EBAN is now beginning to generate real results. I’m delighted to say that we have some exciting news to share but we will wait until Investor Day to make the formal announcement,” Vuojalainen said.

“Investor Day is just one of the many ways that Business Jyväskylä works with the EBAN investor network. Other initiatives are also in the pipeline, and discussions are currently ongoing regarding how new incoming businesses would align themselves with the city’s business ecosystem. At Business Jyväskylä, we are very much focused on the task ahead,” Vuojolainen concluded.

The Jyväskylä Business Rally – EBAN Investor Day programme, list of speakers, featured businesses and other useful information are available on the event website at https://eban.jyvaskylabusinessrally.fi/

Media representatives are welcome to attend the event, but we ask that you register your attendance in advance. To register and to organise interviews, please contact Suvi Vuojolainen, Business & Marketing Manager, Business Jyväskylä. A professional photographer will be in attendance at the event, and an image bank will be made available on the Jyväskylä Business Rally website in the afternoon of 31 July. The images can be freely used in Investor Day-related reporting. https://eban.jyvaskylabusinessrally.fi/

You can also join us through our live stream on the Business Jyväskylä YouTube channel.

For further information, please contact:

Suvi Vuojolainen, Business & Marketing Manager, Business Jyväskylä, City of Jyväskylä
+358 50 311 8820, suvi.vuojolainen@jyvaskyla.fi

Sakari Oikarinen, Chairman, Induco Oy, Senator of World Business Angels Forum
+358 46 921 6060, sakari.oikarinen@induco.fi

Jussi Perttola, CEO, Zaibatsu Interactive
+358 50 412 4420, jussi.perttola@zaibatsu.fi

EBAN is a European business angel network with 100 members around Europe comprising the umbrella organisations representing angel investors across a number of different countries.

Business Jyväskylä is a City of Jyväskylä unit responsible for building business links and driving economic growth within the local area. We are a reliable and solutions-focused partner with an excellent understanding of local and international networks and the ability to promote fast-paced growth for businesses at all stages of their development. Our role is to attract both domestic and international businesses to the local area, drive the ongoing development of the city’s economic model and to create attractive business ecosystems to underpin our main development projects.

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