Maria 01, the premier startup hub in the Nordics, has embarked on the quest to find a dynamic Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who will spearhead its expansion and innovation efforts. Home to a thriving community of over 180 startups and 1,500 members, Maria 01 is on a mission to solidify its position as one of Europe's most prominent startup hubs. The incumbent CEO, Ville Simola, will be transitioning to fresh challenges, leaving behind a legacy of growth and transformation starting November 2023.
Established in 2016, Maria 01 has achieved remarkable strides, and its growth trajectory remains resolute. In the year 2022 alone, the startups within its nurturing ecosystem secured an unprecedented €219 million in funding. Underscoring its unwavering commitment to fostering innovation, Maria 01 is gearing up to expand its Helsinki campus from its current 20,000 square meters to an impressive 70,000 square meters. This expansion aims to attract up to 600 startups and cultivate a vibrant community of 6,000 members.
Jarmo Hyökyvaara, Chair of the Board, expressed heartfelt appreciation, saying, "The entire Maria 01 community would like to thank Ville for growing the Maria 01 startup community to a leading one in the Nordics, and further strengthening the role of our lively startup culture. We wish him all the best in his new chapter."
Reflecting on his tenure, outgoing CEO Ville Simola shared his sentiments: "I have thoroughly enjoyed these past four years being the voice of the Maria 01 community and leading an organization that is a rendezvous for various stakeholders, be it startup employees, investors, other startup communities, or bigger corporations. Maria 01 is truly a place for coming together and creating new solutions with likeminded people."
The search for the new CEO commences on August 29th, concluding on September 17th. The ideal candidate will possess extensive knowledge of the Finnish and Nordic startup landscape, exceptional networking capabilities, and a vision to serve as the voice of the Maria 01 startup community. In addition to leading the organization, the CEO will drive the activities of the entire startup ecosystem.
In an era where startups wield increasing influence over the economy, attracting global talent stands as a pivotal endeavor. Collaborating with entities such as the Finnish Startup Community, the Finnish Startup Foundation, and Slush, Maria 01 plays a pivotal role in fortifying the startup ecosystem in both Finland and the Nordics.
The startup ecosystem's significance to Finnish society and economy is gaining prominence. As per the Finnish Startup Community, its members are projected to generate a turnover of €4.5 billion in 2022. With current forecasts pointing towards a €15 billion turnover by 2030—on par with established industries like forestry and metals—talent scarcity remains a looming challenge. Against the backdrop of Finland's evolving immigration policies, Maria 01 underscores the necessity of attracting international talent to perpetuate and amplify the startup ecosystem's growth in the nation.
Jarmo Hyökyvaara emphasized, "We are currently the largest startup hub in the Nordics, and our new CEO will have the opportunity to support our goal of becoming the largest one in Europe in the near future. At the same time, talent shortage is a real challenge in Finland, and to ensure that the startup ecosystem keeps growing in Finland and supports our economic growth, we need to make sure that we are attracting international talents to come to Finland. Without them, the Finnish startup ecosystem cannot keep growing."
The search for a visionary leader to helm Maria 01's transformative journey marks a pivotal moment in shaping the future of the Finnish and European startup landscape.