Finnish startup campus Maria 01, owned in part by the same owners as the Nordic’s biggest startup conference, Slush, has begun the expansion of its Helsinki campus to become Europe’s largest startup campus.
The campus will expand from its current 10,000 sq metre space to 70,000 sq metre by 2023, led by new CEO Ville Simola. The campus expects to attract approximately 650 new operators and new jobs for at least 4,000 people. Simola previously co-founded and grew the startup accelerator Startup Sauna.
Built at a former hospital complex in downtown Helsinki, Maria 01 is a non-profit campus and currently home to over 120 startups and scale-ups, 12 venture capital funds, several ecosystem supporters, and over 1,100 members – making it the biggest startup cluster in the Nordics.
The campus’ VCs include Play Ventures and Inventure, which have €1.8 billion in combined assets under management and over 120 startups in their portfolios.
Not content with being the largest in the Nordics, Maria 01’s new CEO Ville Simola has his eyes set on an even bigger target by making the hub the biggest in Europe after the new expansion.
“I’m excited to take up the reins of this ambitious project which is sure to change the Finnish startup scene today as we know it,” said Simola. “I see a lot of challenges in the expansion but I’m no stranger to ecosystem building after my work with Startup Sauna.”
Each and every company Maria 01 takes under its roof is chosen using strict criteria and is expected to move out after three years to make room for new startups and scaling companies.
“The Nordics are now challenging the established large European hubs and Finnish startups are sprouting faster than ever,” said Simola. “Currently, only 16% of the startups who apply to work at Maria 01 are accepted so the new, larger space will help us to meet the increasing demand for our curated community while bringing new jobs to the area meaning huge benefits for the community, startups, city, and economy.”
“Ville’s startup and corporate background made him a natural choice to lead our expansion and take Maria 01 into its next phase,” said Voitto Kangas, former CEO of Maria 01. “This project will not only hugely impact the Nordic area’s startups and scale-ups but it will also help make the region a more desirable place for international companies to come and use as a launchpad into European markets.”
Maria 01 is set to open a new wing of the former hospital in October 2019, which will see the space double in size to 20,000 sq metres, ahead of the new 50,000 sq metre expansion set to be completed by 2023. The expansion consortium will be led by YIT and Keva together with the City of Helsinki.