The above graphic and the following guest post were produced by Henri Syvänen and the team at Avaus, a leading Nordic marketing services firm. Henri recently shared this landscape of Finnish martech companies with me, and I was amazed by its scale — even though I, of all people, probably shouldn’t be. It illustrates how much of a global phenomenon martech ventures really are.
Is Finland a martech superpower? Check out our martech landscape
Most people working in marketing have seen Scott Brinker’s ever-expanding marketing technology landscape supergraphic. It lists all software vendors that fit in the broad category of martech (which includes many sub-categories such as adtech, sales tech, and analytics).
At Avaus, we’ve worked with most of the big names on Scott’s list, be it marketing automation, CRM, or business intelligence. And quite often, these tech partners hail from the US.
Lately, however, we’ve started to leverage technology of Finland-based companies to a greater extent. Smartly.io helps us to run Facebook advertising for our clients on a massive scale. Leadfeeder is part of our offering for B2B clients. Smarp helps us and many of our customers to distribute content in SoMe channels. New Finnish tech companies contact us on a monthly basis.
At some point, I started feeling that we might have a larger martech scene in Finland than we realize.
So we began listing Finnish companies. We looked through multiple sources (e.g. AngelList, Crunchbase, Startup100, Mikko Rindell’s blog post) and kept expanding the list. Also people at Avaus came up with technologies I had never heard of. We included all companies that fit any of the categories of Scott’s landscape. We also included six brands that are spinoff technologies of service-focused companies (they may or may not have their own business entity).
The results surprised everyone at Avaus. Finland boasts at least 117 companies that fit in the martech landscape. That’s almost as many companies as Scott’s global martech landscape had just 6 years ago, in 2011!
Moreover, only 13 of these companies are featured in Scott’s most recent landscape. Just think about the global ramifications of this — the Martech 5,000 may actually be the Martech 20,000.
Further analysis provided really interesting findings. Looking at how many technologies there are per million people, the US figure is roughly around 11 (based on Heinz Marketing’s 2016 Marketing Technology Landscape Directory).
However, for Finland that figure is 21 — almost double the US martech density. (Editorial note: data from the 2017 landscape may have narrowed this gap.)
Is it fair to say Finland is a martech superpower?
Purely in terms of amount of companies, yes. But as Scott has pointed out, the global market has a long tail distribution with few big players responsible for a large market share. None of the Finnish companies can be compared to the likes of Adobe or Google. Actually, there are no enterprise-level martech companies (1,000+ employees). And, according to data from Crunchbase, only 33 of the 117 companies are investor-funded, with an average funding of $5.7 million.
Still, having such a vibrant martech scene is quite a surprise. In Finland, we keep bashing ourselves about our lack of marketing skills. But clearly, something has changed lately.
What explains these findings?
When it comes to Finland, you always need to look at the Nokia factor. We ran an analysis on professional backgrounds of people in these companies. Out of 117 companies, 45% have people with Nokia background.
Forbes also referred to Nokia factor in their recent article about startup exits. According to the article, Finland produces over 10% of all startup exits globally, and there has been at least one $1 billion exit each year for the past five years. Nokia’s downfall appears to be slowly turning into a positive startup saga.
Yet, we are still waiting for the first martech unicorn out of Finland.
Another article by FVCA states that, during 2012-2016, Finland attracted the most venture capital in Europe relative to GDP.
This is also interesting, and I’m pretty sure that one single event has a major role here: Slush. Our capital intensity is not enough to finance the startups, so we need to (literally) fly in the capital for the biggest startup conference in Europe. On the other hand, a majority of the companies on our list are bootstrapped (84 out of 117). Perhaps even too many, as we haven’t produced any martech unicorns?
Finally, Finns are nerds. And it is a good thing. At Avaus, we’ve seen the benefits of nerdiness when we expanded to Sweden. In our experience, Finland is ahead of its Nordic neighbours when it comes to martech adoption. A broader look at digitalization by BearingPoint highlights the same finding, although differences appear to be small. Anyway, the nerd-factor most likely has an effect on the martech startup scene too.
The next step for us is to look at the Finnish Martech Landscape one area at at a time. In the following months, we will dig deeper into advertising, content, sales, and so on. We will also be doing Q&A sessions with the founders of many Finnish martech companies, so please follow our blog.
Of course, our listing is not definitive. We encourage everyone to participate in finalizing the Finnish Martech Landscape. Some companies may still be missing, and others may find themselves in the wrong category. Let me know if something needs to be added, changed, or remove removed — on Twitter, I’m @syvaenen.
As with Scott’s landscape, this graphic is only an approximation. The main purpose is to start the discussion about Finnish martech landscape.
Thanks also to my colleagues Erik Stenberg for helping in the analysis and Jarko Hänninen for creating the graphic.
Great work, Henri — thanks for sharing!
Readers: if you’re interested in marketing technology globally, please consider joining us for the MarTech conference in Boston, October 2-4. All-access tickets are available at a $250-off “beta” rate until August 26.