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November 29, 2021

“We are really tackling a major problem here”

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Going global from day one has been natural for Finnish Flowrite, founded in 2020. Aaro Isosaari, Co-founder & CEO of the company, has been determined with building an international team. It has been quite a ride: the initial launch was done only four weeks after founding the company, and in just a little over a year, they have raised both pre-seed and seed rounds.

Flowrite saves you time by turning short sentences into ready-to-send emails and messages. The description of Flowrite’s intriguing product hides behind it an interesting technological natural language processing (NLP) challenge. Emails and all kinds of written communication take up massive chunks of knowledge workers’ days, and speeding it up for tens of millions of people is what Flowrite aims to do.

Global focus from the start

From the very get-go, team Flowrite has played their game at the global level. This is visible not only in their way of working but also proved by numbers. The international team of twelve has been remote from day one, they have 30,000 people on their wait-list and their pre-seed round was 0,55M€. They have also already gathered their second round. The seed round was a hefty 4,4M€, raised from European investors.

“In the beginning, we were not able to set our expectations this high. But when after our initial product idea launch, the buzz was something we never even imagined. And that’s when we realized we’re really tackling something major here, and our ambition level got multiple times higher”, Isosaari explains.

The fast development has by no means been an accident. At each important milestone—be it the initial launch, positioning and branding the product, gathering their pre-seed round, or recruiting the core team—the goal has been on the global market. The reason is simple: to succeed, Flowrite needs masses of users, and those masses are all over the world.

“When recruiting our team, it has become extremely clear that working remotely is a must for most recruitees”, Isosaari says. But working remotely for Flowrite is also a way to speed up growth. When some team members are remote from the very beginning, remote work is built inside the company’s culture and processes. This means they don’t have to reorganize everything when the operations grow.

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Fast international development has been supported by selecting pan-European investors. This has opened doors and prospects for Flowrite.

When the focus in all activities is in Europe, North America, and Asia, what are the company’s ties to Finland?

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“Europe is our reference group, for sure, but we strongly feel that we’re a Finnish company and want to stay here. We want to give back to the community we have received so much from.”

Isosaari doesn’t follow the political discussion that much, and so far bureaucracy around entrepreneurship has been working smoothly. “You can ask this again in a year when we have likely gone through a few working permit processes”, Isosaari says.

The next generation of entrepreneurship

Isosaari and his team represent the next generation of entrepreneurship in Finland. Ten years ago many of the choices they made, like publishing their work early, raising funding internationally without delay, offering team members the freedom to work where and how they want, and doing the early recruitments thoroughly, were already ideals, but in reality, not possible for most teams.’

But it has also gotten easier, Isosaari explains. “There are not only a lot of more online resources available than before but there are also dozens if not hundreds of startup entrepreneurs who have gone through the same journey. This wasn’t the case a decade ago.”

When it comes to funding, the situation has also changed. One no more has to hop onto a plane and rally through all European startup capitals, but good-sized early rounds can be raised from Helsinki. VC funding to Finnish companies has also increased.

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Despite their success, Isosaari shys away from the media image of startup founders as super talents.

“I’ve never found myself exceptional by any means. I have just found topics I’m interested in and worked hard with them.”

Aaro IsosaariCo-founder & CEO, Flowrite