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Case 28.10.2021

Helping promising tech startups secure funding: IPRally

IPRally is an exciting new startup that is tackling a big challenge: how to redesign patent searching? The company, founded in spring 2018, has developed an easy-to-use web application, powered by unique AI knowledge graph technology. But how did the company reach the ear of the VC crowd?
IPRally Technologies
  • Innovation: AI Patent Search Software
  • Founded in 2018 in Helsinki, Finland
  • Employs over 20 persons
  • Business Finland’s Tempo and R&D funding, Global Growth services, Startup Services including Dealflow and Young Innovative Companies capital investment

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IPRally focuses on automating those tasks that steal resources of both inventors and patent professionals. “Being able to focus on what’s most essential also means better quality,” explains Sakari Arvela, CEO & Co-Founder of IPRally.

All through its journey, IPRally has remained in close contact with Business Finland’s startup team. IPRally’s contact person at Business Finland, Jani Jokitalo, introduced the company to the Investor Services team in the spring of 2020. Jokitalo remembers being impressed by the company that featured a very versatile and well-balanced team:

The founders had identified a very clear market need in a fairly traditional IPR industry and were capable of presenting a very clear value proposition to the customers,” Jokitalo says.

Reconnecting with investor

In the meeting, IPRally explained the fundraising case to the Investor Services team, after which they quickly made several intros to VCs. IPRally soon started talking with one of them, Spintop Ventures – a VC investor that had taken note of the startup earlier. Amanda Lindqvist from Spintop Ventures explains that at Spintop it is common to meet startups when they are in a very early phase, stay in touch and reconnect later when the timing is right in regards of financing.

“This was the case with IPRally, too: our partner Sami Niemi met, one of IPRally’s early investors, at an event in early 2019 and was then introduced to IPRally through email. Back then Sami concluded that it was too early to invest, but that IPRally really is a company that we want to follow and stay in touch when they raise their next round,” she looks back.

Meeting of the minds

A little bit later, as Lindqvist and Niemi met Arvela, things clicked instantly: the Spintop duo was impressed by IPRally’s understanding of the IP industry and its deep technical competence, combined with a good commercial mindset.

Reconnecting with Spintop happened at the perfect moment for us. At the same time, we were starting conversations with the German VC JOIN Capital, and quite fast it became clear that there is a match not only between us and Spintop, but also between the two VCs, and they ended up co-investing,” Sakari Arvela says.

The funding round racked up €2 million. Back in 2018, had put in some pre-seed money, and participated in this round, too.

Arvela credits Spintop’s genuine interest in the company’s patent AI technology as well as Spintop’s experience in B2B SaaS: “We were pretty quickly convinced that we’ll get along well.”

Likewise, Arvela is grateful for all the support from Business Finland on the way up to this point. Business Finland’s funding services have been supporting the company throughout its journey: from the concept validation to research oriented R&D, product development and, most recently, sales and marketing as a recipient of Young Innovative Companies funding.

Jani Jokitalo comments that IPRally has been following a very ambitious growth strategy from day one. “Scalability and easily understandable value proposition have ensured fast international expansion.” The company’s web application was launched in spring 2019 and has, so far, made waves around the world.

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