I’m No Stranger to Ecosystem Building, Says Ville Simola — Our Newly Appointed CEO

Maria 01
Maria 01
Sep 5, 2019 · 3 min read

Maria 01 is an ex-hospital turned startup campus which is now expanding to be one of Europe’s largest with 70,000 sq m by 2023.

**A different version of this story is available in Finnish here**

Maria 01 New CEO, Ville Simola. Photo by Wasim Al-Nasser

Maria 01 started to look for a new CEO a few months back. From the time Maria 01 was established, the aim has been to appoint the right people at the right time after a certain period — taking inspiration from Slush’ employee rotation model.

With the campus expansion, Maria 01 was on the lookout for someone with experience from working on the two sides of the spectrum. The previous meaning, both startup and corporate industry.

With several options on the table, the decision wasn’t easy. “Ville’s startup and corporate background made him a natural choice to lead our expansion and take Maria 01 into its next phase”, explained Santtu Von Bruun, Chairman of the Board at Maria 01.

This project will not only hugely impact the Nordic area’s startups and scale-ups but it will also help make the region a more desirable place for international companies to come and use as a launchpad into European markets,” continued von Bruun.

In the future, our campus will expand from its current 10,000 sq m space to 70,000 sq m by 2023 and will be led by our new CEO Ville Simola. The future campus will attract approximately 650 new operators and new jobs for at least 4,000 people.

I’m excited to take up the reins of this ambitious project which is sure to change the Finnish startup scene today as we know it. I see a lot of challenges in the expansion but I’m no stranger to ecosystem building after my work with Startup Sauna,” explained Simola, whose previous work saw him co-found and grow the former internationally recognized premier startup accelerator Startup Saunanowadays coworking space, before venturing into the corporate world.

Each and every company we take under our roof is chosen using strict criteria and is expected to move out after 3 years to make room for new startups and scaling companies.

The Nordics are now challenging the established large European hubs and Finnish startups are sprouting faster than ever. Currently, only 16% of the startups who apply to work at Maria 01 are accepted so the new, larger space will help us to meet the increasing demand for our curated community while bringing new jobs to the area meaning huge benefits for the community, startups, city, and economy,continued Simola.

This October 2019, we are set to open a new wing of the former hospital under a previous agreement that will see the space double in size to 20,000 sqm ahead of the new 50,000 sqm expansion set to be completed by 2023. The expansion consortium will be led by YIT and Keva together with the City of Helsinki.

Together with the City of Helsinki, campus expansion main partners (YIT and Keva) and Maria 01 team we are thrilled to welcome Ville Simola to the team. We look forward to the future together! Let’s rock that future campus!

Maria 01 is a startup campus in the heart of Helsinki. We are growing to be Europe’s largest startups campus with 70 000 sqm of space for over 5000 tech-heads. Subscribe here to get our news!

Maria 01

Becoming Europe’s Largest Startup & Venture Campus

Maria 01

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Maria 01

Maria 01 is a tech-startup campus in the heart of Helsinki. Follow us for the latest news and interviews with our in-house members + more!

Maria 01

Maria 01

Becoming Europe’s Largest Startup & Venture Campus

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