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EXIT: Inspiring Tales Of Finnish Entrepreneurs

Matias Mäenpää is a Finnish entrepreneur and investor living in Luxembourg. After selling the company he helped to scale, he co-authored “EXIT”, a book about different entrepreneurial success cases from his home country.
by: Torge Schwandt
photo: SHIFT Business Festival
featured: Matias Mäenpää
What is your book “EXIT” all about?

The book showcases the stories of 15 entrepreneurs of all ages and from all over Finland. It does not cover only tech startups but also businesses that had been around for a longer time and eventually made great exits. The goal was to explain what it is like to build, grow, and exit a business – either from scratch or when taking an existing one to new heights.

The reader gets first-hand insights by the leading people behind some success cases, showing what it actually takes to build and sell a company. The entrepreneurs talk openly about what worked well but also about difficult moments and failures, taking the reader back to business negotiations and explaining how one’s life and identity get affected by entrepreneurship.

“It is never easy to successfully build and also sell a company.”

Why did you co-author and publish this book?

The co-author of EXIT, Anssi Kiviranta, and I have been on the entrepreneurial path including successful exits ourselves. We wanted to shed some light on other success cases to share these stories and ours with a wider audience for inspiration.

We live in an entrepreneurial age where it has never been easier to start a company. But it is never easy to successfully build and also sell a company. Accordingly, we wanted to show what the real stories behind some major exits in Finland were in order to have readers get inspiration and knowledge for their own entrepreneurial journeys.

What is your personal “EXIT” story?

When I graduated from high school, I basically skipped university and directly went to work for a company for four years. After that, I joined a company called Pappila Penkkala Group (PPG) that was originally founded already back in 1993. I initially joined in 2010 as a sales manager and left in 2019 after having served as CEO and selling the company two years prior. Throughout this time, I helped to shape and modernize the company by creating new digital products and services, building new structures and processes as well as significantly increasing sales and revenues. I became a co-owner of PPG, helping to scale and sell the company and also to continue growing it after we had joined the Visma group following the exit.

“I am aiming at helping ambitious founders to grow their companies by investing in them and sharing my knowledge and entrepreneurial experience.”

What are your plans after your personal exit?

By the end of 2019, I moved to Luxembourg with my family to start a new chapter in my life. I am still involved in the Finnish startup ecosystem as an angel investor and advisor. This is what I am aiming to also do in Luxembourg now: Helping ambitious founders to grow their companies by investing in them and sharing my knowledge and entrepreneurial experience. I am planning to work on a new book project too.

This article was first published in the Silicon Luxembourg magazineGet a copy now!

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