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Experienced international executive to drive Invesdor's growth: ”I was attracted by the disruption of the crowdfunding market”


Mari Lymysalo interview

Invesdor Nordic's new Managing Director, Mari Lymysalo, has come a long way. After sixteen years in international roles, she looks to develop Invesdor's investment business: the company seeks strong growth in the Nordic and Northern European markets.

According to Lymysalo, the European crowdfunding market is entering a transition period, allowing Invesdor to reach its next growth phase. 

- The long-awaited EU regulation on European crowdfunding providers established a harmonised set of rules for the provision of equity and loan-based crowdfunding services across the EU. It allows us to apply for an EU licence and efficiently scale our services.

The market is currently very fragmented. There are several small local crowdfunding platforms, but Lymysalo is confident that the industry will consolidate. 

- Organic international growth is slow, but as the industry transforms, the fast will eat the slow. In addition, regulatory change will have the effect that some will close or reorient businesses. Mergers are also an efficiency factor, as building and maintaining a crowdfunding platform is a significant investment.   

Aiming to be the European number one in crowdfunding

Invesdor also has its finger in the pie. In the summer of 2022, the company merged with German Kapilendo and Austrian Finnest, both known as pioneers on the crowdfunding front in their home markets. The merger enabled international funding rounds in the DACH region and the Nordic countries. 

- This will provide investors with broader investment opportunities, better geographical diversification and more versatile investment products. In addition, we will be able to cross-sell a variety of options. For a Finnish investor, for example, a bond issued by an established German SME offers the opportunity to get returns from European companies without unnecessary intermediaries.

Investing across geographical borders is also an advantage for the target companies.

- Companies are now able to internationalise their ownership. We have more than 128,000 investors registered, representing 93 different nationalities. In particular, companies focusing on consumer products will benefit from our broad investor base.

Experienced new business developer

Lymysalo holds a Master's degree in Industrial Engineering and Management and has spent the last 16 years working in global organisations in Asia, the USA and Central Europe. 

Lymysalo is very familiar with Austria, one of the pillars of Invesdor. For six years, she worked for the Austrian company AVL, which provides test systems for the automotive industry. However, she spent a significant part of her time in an aeroplane over the Alps: electric cars and batteries were a burgeoning trend then, and as Head of Global Business Development at AVL, Lymysalo travelled around the world, including China. 

New challenges called Lymysalo to Paris, where she worked as Deputy COO for Altran (now Capgemini Engineering), the world's leading engineering and product development consultancy. Lymysalo developed and grew the unit, which consisted of eight World Class Centres. These international centres of excellence employ over 1000 people. 

- Unlike Altran's core business, we did not provide our services from national units but from independent centres. The international business model was an exceptional and exciting development target. We offered hi-tech consulting services to our customers in areas such as cybersecurity, data analytics, Industry 4.0, IoT solutions, 5G, edge computing and innovation design.

Options for the financing needs of growth companies

A couple of years ago, Lymysalo became Head of Investment for Capgemini's venture capital unit when the company acquired Altran. He ran the venture capital fund and built Capgemini's start-up ecosystem. The desire to solve the financing challenges of growth companies eventually attracted the experienced investment expert to lead Invesdor.

- Young and growing companies, in particular, need complementary funding that can otherwise be difficult to obtain. I have seen innovative start-ups pioneer and challenge more established companies to address challenges such as sustainability and climate change. 

Lymysalo itself is facing a new challenge. How to adapt to the darkness of Finland after the bright years of Central Europe?

- I chose a less optimal time to move to Finland, October. But I think we'll manage," she laughs. 

Written by: Invesdor



The information contained herein is not meant to be, and it shall not be interpreted as investment advice or a recommendation and investors must neither accept any offer for, nor acquire, any securities unless they do so on the basis of the information contained in the applicable investment material of a target company. Investing in securities of unlisted companies is associated with high risk.

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