Finland’s strong digital infrastructure and technology ecosystem enabled a rapid response to the crisis. As it adapts to a new normal, Finland is well-positioned to consolidate its digital progress. In this article at NordicBaltic.Tech, a partnership between PUBLIC Denmark and the Nordic Council of Ministers, we explore the startup ecosystem’s previous, ongoing and future efforts to combat Covid-19.    

Rapid government response to emerging health challenges  

Finland has long been a leader in digital healthcare with 1m+ monthly users of the national electronic health record (EHR) and widespread adoption of digital prescriptions. This allowed health services to launch and scale a Covid-19 online symptom checker in just 6 days. Health officials collected and recorded the data to track symptoms across the population and adopt new policy measures to address spikes in infections.   

An ecosystem mobilises  

In parallel, startups began to offer their solutions to the public sector to tackle non-healthcare challenges. Koulu.me developed a database of EdTech solutions that can help teachers and parents to transition to remote schooling, such as seppo, a tool to turn lesson plans into interactive games. In the social care sector, Fiksari has been connecting students with pensioners to address loneliness among the isolated. Beyond the public sector, startups are helping businesses to manage remote working. Viima, has developed a platform to help teams to source ideas across a business, and manage the process of turning ideas into outcomes.     

Finnish startups are battling Covid globally  

Finnish startups have not limited themselves to the domestic market and have actively sought opportunities globally. Video Visit, a solution that allows carers to check in with isolated patients, recently participated in the UK National Health Service’s techforce19 programme. Earth observation startup ICEYE has deployed microsatellites to track the economic impact of the crisis in the US. Oura, which develops consumer wellness rings, has piloted its product with the University of California San Francisco to detect early warning signs for Covid symptoms among 2000 US nurses, including changes in heart rate, breathing and temperature.   

Startups continue to raise investment in May 2020

Despite the difficult investment climate, startups addressing Covid-19 challenges have continued to raise investment. Happeo, a social intranet for businesses, raised $11m to help companies improve internal communication as they work remotely. In the EdTech sector, Kide Science  secured €1.5m in seed funding to expand its early childhood science learning platform, while Helsinki-based School Day – a provider of analysis tools to measure students’ well-being – has raised €1.1m in a seed round led by Sparkmind.vc.