The private equity firm Juuri Partners has become a minority shareholder in SPL Company Oy which provides UKKO.fi light entrepreneurship service. The transaction will facilitate the expansion, business development and listing capabilities of the rapidly growing fintech company. Already more than 113,000 Finns are light entrepreneurs and the market has grown by about 25% annually.
Following the transaction, Juuri Fund I LP will become a minority shareholder of UKKO.fi with a 25% stake. UKKO.fi’s founding partners will continue to be significant owners of the company. Juuri Partners will bring expertise to manage the company’s strong growth and develop the company’s listing capabilities among other things.
Founded in 2012, the four founding partners of UKKO.fi had the vision to create a service that takes care of all paperwork related to billing and payroll, as well as handling government notices and payments on behalf of their clients. The service has grown rapidly, driven by entrepreneurial attitude and rupture of labor market: in 2018, the company’s net sales were approximately EUR 85 million.
“It is not reasonable or possible for everyone to start their own business to realize their own entrepreneurial dream. UKKO.fi plays an important role in Finnish society where the transformation of working life calls for responsible ways of working in order to channel work in a new way. We are very excited to be able to support Finnish entrepreneurship and the strong growth of UKKO.fi”, says Anita Ojala, Partner at Juuri Partners. “UKKO.fi’s business is at the heart of Juuri’s values. We have invested in a company that challenges established practices, strives to find new solutions in a changing world, and is strongly supporting Finnish entrepreneurship.”
“We are very pleased to have Juuri Partners as one of the owners of UKKO.fi. We wanted an experienced owner who was able to bring new perspectives to the board work and spar the company management – while maintaining our entrepreneurial spirit and our experimental and enthusiastic corporate culture”, says UKKO.fi co-founder Ukko Kumpulainen.
Working life in transition – over 113,000 Finns are light entrepreneurs
The transformation of working life is fragmenting the ways in which work is done. The number of light entrepreneurs has more than doubled in Finland during UKKO.fi’s seven-year journey, and today over 113,000 Finns are light entrepreneurs (December 2018). The annual growth rate of the market has been approx. 25 percent, and as the market leader UKKO.fi has grown at an even faster rate. At the same time, self-employment has become a sought-after form of employment, especially among younger workers and those wishing to become entrepreneurs.
Light entrepreneurship complements the traditional labor market, creating new kinds of flexible opportunities for both employees and outsourced workers. Many light entrepreneurs work part-time and thus contribute to the flexibility of the labor reserve. Light entrepreneurship is also a great way to experiment with entrepreneurship without significant risk.
Growth in light entrepreneurship is a common good
A significant amount of legal obligations, forms and notices are involved in buying and selling work. UKKO.fi’s services provide a simple way to buy and provide work responsibly and in accordance with all the rules and regulations thereof. Eradicating undeclared work is in the common interest of society: the black economy distorts overall price levels and reduces the safety and quality of services and goods.
Starting a company is still perceived as a long-term decision. Many people are therefore in favor of light entrepreneurship because they do not need their own business ID. Once a light entrepreneur has created his or her own clientele, it is easier to start your own business. Thus, UKKO.fi is becoming Finland’s largest business school.
Amendments to the Unemployment Security Act have encouraged Finns who have been affected by the change to experiment with entrepreneurship and light entrepreneurship without fear of losing their unemployment benefit. Employment not only helps the individual but also reduces the cost of social security.
Also, more and more retirees want to keep in touch with their professional networks. Light Entrepreneurship provides an easy way to do projects without having to start your own business.
A new service to make it easier for business ID entrepreneurs
Subsidiary Ukko Pro has recently launched with Nordea a unique business ID service that combines the capabilities of an accounting software, an accountant and online banking. Nordea Accounting Plus brings relief to the challenges of a small entrepreneur, as manual paperwork and bookkeeping often cause a cumbersome effort.
For more information:
Anita Ojala, Partner, Juuri Partners Oy, tel. +358 40 826 2085, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ukko Kumpulainen, Founder / Partner, Ukko.fi, tel. +358 40 842 9985, email@example.com
Juuri Fund I LP is a Finnish private equity investment fund that finances established and profitable small and medium-sized enterprises in Finland. The fund of some 80 million euros is managed by Juuri Partners Ltd. Juuri Partners offers growth-focused companies a new business development and financing concept that combines active minority ownership, business operation support and debt financing. The fund’s investors are significant institutional investors from Finland. www.juuripartners.com
UKKO.FI is an online light entrepreneurship service that enables entrepreneurship without starting a business. On behalf of its users, the service takes care of all paperwork related to billing and payroll, as well as the administration of declarations and payments. The company employs approximately 50 people and in 2018 its turnover was EUR 85 million. www.ukko.fi