As recently as 2010 Supercell, which had been set up by Ilkka Paananen and Mikko Kodisoja, was a gaming company of just over ten people, which announced that it was producing Gunshine, its first game. In the same year Tekes started to support the company with product development loans, which Supercell has already paid back.
Yesterday Supercell said that 51 per cent of the company is being sold to the Japanese Softbank and GungHo for EUR 1.1 billion. In the meantime Supercell has published three games, two of which, Hay Day and Clash of Clans have proven to be hugely successful. The growth in turnover, which began last year, has continued this year at an unparalleled pace.
The sale to Japan is not the end of this story.
For Supercell, the deal opens up possibilities for the company to grow to be an international gaming giant. Japanese ownership helps companies gain access to the Asian market, which is difficult for Western companies to enter.
The dazzling three-year success story is a major issue for the Finnish gaming industry as well. A fresh report reveals that the combined turnover of the gaming sector is approaching a billion euros in Finland. The sector is small, but growing. Successes such as Supercell inspire further successes. This is about brain gain and not brain drain; successes of this size boost Finland's reputation as an important and growing start-up centre, and as an interesting workplace for skilled foreigners.
The success of Supercell also radiates outside the company. Last spring it was reported that Supercell has paid EUR 44 million in taxes to Finland. Now the company says that its activities benefit the tax authorities to the tune of more than EUR 260 million.
The Supercell deal is a big investment in Finland. According to the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, no unlisted software company has ever been sold abroad for such a high price.
The deal will lead to the emergence of increasingly experienced serial entrepreneurs who will undoubtedly be investing their property, skills, and time in Finnish start-up companies in the future.
Supercell is also giving rise to more experienced capital investors. A weak capital investment market for companies in their early phases has been a problem for Finland already from the beginning of the 21st century. The Vigo company accelerator programme, which was set up partly to meet this need, has a number of accelerators sparring with companies in their early stages.
The most successful Vigo accelerator has been Lifeline Ventures, which has also amassed a capital investment fund of EUR 30 million. Lifeline has already shown that it can attract money from top international investors to its target enterprises. The growth in the value of Supercell to more than EUR 2 billion is a new indication of the sills of Lifeline partners Petteri Koponen and Timo Ahopelto.
The strong input of Tekes into the gaming sector and the development of gaming continues with the Skene programme, among other things.
Foto: Markus Sommers