Category Archives: Lifeline announcement

The World’s Strongest Investor/Founder Competition at the Slush 2013 startup conference establishes objective venture capital industry metrics

November 12, 2013. (Helsinki, Finland) –

Lifeline Ventures, an early stage investor in strong founders and disruptive technologies, organizes the 2nd World’s Strongest Founder/Investor Competition at Slush 2013, the leading startup conference in Europe and the Nordic countries.

“Strong founding teams and investors are essential for any startup company’s success, but we have been lacking objective metrics. This competition is fulfilling this obvious need of startup ecosystems worldwide”, comments Timo Ahopelto, Founding Partner at Lifeline Ventures. 

The World’s Strongest Founder/Investor Competition is open for founders and investors at the Lifeline Ventures Weight Lifting Pavillion at Slush 2013. The strength is measured with the combined maximum bench press and dead lift performance.

“This is the only truly objective metric of any startup founder’s or investor’s strength in our industry”, adds Petteri Koponen, Founding Partner at Lifeline Ventures.

Last year’s competition was attended by several founders and investors around the world, including Aydin Senkut of Felicis Ventures and Sean Seton-Rogers of PROfounders Capital. This year, the competition also pilots The World’s Strongest Politician series, where Ambassador Bruce J. Oreck fascinated the audience with his 130kg bench presses in 2012.

Video: Ambassador Bruce J. Oreck bench press. Petteri Koponen (left) and Timo Ahopelto (right) of Lifeline Ventures securing.

About Lifeline Ventures

At Lifeline Ventures, we invest in strong founders in sectors we know by heart from our experience as entrepreneurs. Due to our background, we often start working with founders before they have launched their first product. Our goal is to be the first person the entrepreneur reaches out to in times of trouble and joy. So far, we have invested in category-leading companies such as Airstone Labs, Applifier, ArcDia, Grand Cru Games, NonStop Games, Moves app, Supercell, Valkee bright light headset and ZenRobotics. More information online at

Our early stage Lifeline Ventures fund grows to € 30 million


During the last three years, we have with Petteri invested in ~ 30 companies from casual games startups to oncology biotechs. It seems like a broad range, but all these companies have two things in common: they have superfounders and are re-defining their target markets.

We typically invest when a new startup is founded. It is very early. These ~ 30 amazing founder teams have raised over € 170 million in follow-on funding.

Our total fund size is now € 30 million (previously announced € 20 million) which ensures firepower but enables us to be nimble at the same time. Our own investors include FoF Growth, Ilmarinen Mutual Pension Insurance Company, Finnish Industry Investment, Sitra, Norvestia, Veraventure, Troll Ventures, Juuranto Invest – plus we founders put in our own money.

Some quotes from our official press release:

Kevin Comolli, Partner at Accel Partners in London

Timo and Petteri have found an excellent model for working closely with talented, local founders and international investors. They have carved themselves an interesting position in the European startup scene. They are a very important co-investor relationship for us and we enjoy working together with them.

Riitta Jääskeläinen, Investment Director at Finnish Industry Investment Ltd

Lifeline Ventures has developed an interesting new model in venture capital. With their agile model and being entrepreneurs themselves, they are able to effectively work with next-generation founder teams.

Fredrik Kekäläinen, Co-founder and CEO at Enevo Ltd:
I enjoy working with the Lifeline guys. They understand entrepreneurs.

The World’s Strongest Founder/Investor Competition launches at Slush 2012

The strength of the team is critical in any startup’s success. Most investors believe in strong teams, like Ron Conway: “We believe in investing in people.”

The same goes for investors: although strong investors cannot make your company, the weak ones can break it. Sounds familiar? Yes.

With Petteri, we have taken this thought further at Slush 2012 on November 20-21, at the premier startup conference that has been pulled together by Startup Sauna.

We just issued a press release on The World’s Strongest Founder/Investor Competition. Why?

In the industry, everyone agrees that strong founders and investors are key to any company’s success. Until now, the industry has been missing objective metrics on how to compare founders or investors, comments Timo Ahopelto, Founding Partner at Lifeline Ventures.

“Today, the three top grossing App Store apps are from Finland. In addition, the region is nurturing awesome Web, cleantech and health startups. We at Lifeline Ventures are thrilled to further demonstrate the strength of the founders and investors in the region with this annual competition. I would not be surprised if the first winners in both categories came from the Nordics”, adds Petteri Koponen, Founding Partner at Lifeline Ventures.

The World’s Strongest Founder/Investor Competition is open for founders and investors at the Lifeline Ventures Conference Space at Slush 2012 next to the main entrance. This year, the strength is measured with the combined weight of maximum bench press and dead lift. The competition is arranged in co-operation with WODConnect and CrossFit Espoo.


Read also the official Slush 2012 release on this competition via PR Newswire.

Becoming an investor does not stop you from being an entrepreneur

Last week, after being angel investors for two years, we announced a new EUR 20 million early stage venture fund. It allows us to serve entrepreneurs even better.

We founded Lifeline Ventures with Petteri Koponen by accident or coincidence.* I was working at Blyk and Petteri at Google, both of us wondering: “I should do something on my own again”.

We got our heads together to figure out a new health 2.0 startup – but instead of founding one, we ended up investing in many. This investing got more and more serious,  and suddenly we found ourselves with 19 early stage companies ranging from biotechnology to social games.

So, how did we get into this? Why to become an investor while you can start and run your own company?

Well, we realized the following:

  • As investors we can do most things we could do as startup founders: While the adrenalin rush and the unique feeling of closing the very first sale (on the edge of an empty bank account and too much unpaid due invoices) cannot be fully experienced, working with multiple startups at the same time is rewarding. Working with many extremely high-quality teams at the same time makes life exciting: instead of having one empty bank account, you have a portfolio of empty bank accounts.
  • An investor can be – and optimally is – an entrepreneur: Putting money in equals to having the skin in the game. An investor is not a consultant. As an investor, you can and need to be passionate about the company as an entrepreneur is. Whenever I engage with a company, I feel the “startup urge” of everything needing to happen faster and better than in reality is possible.
  • Having a fund is the best we can do for the entrepreneurs: In addition to doing angel rounds and trying to be of help where we can, we can now speed-up seed and series A rounds. It is quite handy for the teams and us to start fund raising by saying that we already have million euros secured.

Ending note: We truly believe that the Reneissance of the Technology Entrepreneurship in Finland happens now. If you have been thinking of becoming an entrepreneur or investor, now is the right time. Healthy returns will be generated for the best entrepreneurs, investors and the society.

* Other instrumental people at Lifeline’s history and today’s operations include Jarkko Joki-Tokola and Ilkka Paananen, whose efforts are both comparable of being founders of the new Lifeline Ventures fund.

Ilkka Paananen joins Lifeline Ventures

We are happy to announce today that Ilkka Paananen, the Nordic games industry pioneer and entrepreneur, is part of Lifeline Ventures.

We have been  already working together for few months with three companies – – to be announced soon. It has worked well for all, and especially for the entrepreneurs.

Lifeline Ventures is a different start-up accelerator. Ilkka adds games and entertainment to our Web and digital media experience, and lives and breathes the Lifeline model.

The official release is below. Welcome to Lifeline, Ilkka!

November 10, 2010. Helsinki, Finland – Ilkka Paananen joins Lifeline Ventures, the early-stage investor in health and Web, as Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Partner.

“Ilkka is one of the most successful and experienced entrepreneurs in the Nordic games industry. He has successfully built large teams from scratch and managed companies through rapid international growth. Ilkka is the perfect match for Lifeline Ventures, experienced in working hands-on with entrepreneurs and adding to our digital entertainment competence”, comment Lifeline’s co-founders Timo Ahopelto, Jarkko Joki-Tokola and Petteri Koponen.

“Lifeline has developed a new model for early-stage venture capital. I am impressed with the quality of the portfolio, and look forward to building the games and entertainment sector further. I believe we can make Lifeline the preferred partner for the best entrepreneurs in this space”, comments Ilkka Paananen.

Lifeline Ventures was founded twelve months ago and has made ten investments to date. Its portfolio includes such category-leading health and Web companies as Applifier, the World’s largest cross-promotion network for Facebook games and Valkee, the maker of the bright light headset that effectively relieves seasonal affective disorder symptoms.

Ilkka Paananen was the CEO and co-founder of Sumea, the mobile games pioneer that was acquired by Digital Chocolate in 2004. At Digital Chocolate, Ilkka held various management team positions from Managing Director of Europe to President of Digital Chocolate. In the latter role, he oversaw the publishing and development of the company’s product portfolio, managing Studios in Helsinki, Barcelona and Silicon Valley.

About Lifeline Ventures

Lifeline Ventures is an early-stage investor that co-creates growth companies in health and Web. The company invests in revolutionary ideas and driven entrepreneurs, often before the product launch. The Lifeline team works hands-on with the entrepreneurs to build their startup into a global category leader. More information: