Back in 2014 there was a dream. It was a dream to have a stronghold for Vincit in capital region. This dream coincides well with the parent company CEO’s statement back in February 2014; “I Don’t see a reason, why Vincit would have to open an office in Helsinki”. Fast-forward to July 2014 Vincit Helsinki, a subsidiary of Vincit, was founded.
It started with a spearhead unit of two (myself and one guy from Tampere who wanted to move to Helsinki). Now, year and a half later, we have around 40 people working with us – and the company is still continuing to grow steadily and leave our frenemies in shambles. It has been a roller coaster ride, never having to repeat a day that I had yesterday and always enjoying my time.
Why people originally wanted to come work with us? They, developers and designers, are entrepreneurs within the company, having a top-notch sales and management working alongside with them. People have great freedom and responsibility here, great influence on their work life and environment. And at the end of the day they work with the best people around them. These are some of the things that many people don’t get in bigger companies - usually.
How to entice people to have common goal – through ownership
The original idea of Vincit Helsinki was to enable an ownership of the company for everyone coming aboard. With this idea, everyone should have stake of Vincit Helsinki – being part of something that one gives out significant amount of hours per day. We enabled people to buy shares from the parent company.
However, there was one problem – once the company value grows and more people starts to work in the company – it becomes more cumbersome to buy stocks from non-public corporation. To clarify, the company needs to do stock-splits and valuation through FCF calculation for instance. After that, the price to own your own slice becomes too high once valuation goes up – and naturally it will, why wouldn’t it, because we are that good. That was the boring part, I promise.
So how did we solve this? Well, we decided to give out shares indefinitely for non-public company. However, that is not the way to go if you want to grow past certain point. In comes Co-Op. At this point I want to acknowledge my friend Tommi Ullgrén, who was great help when sparring about this whole Co-Op idea. Vincit Helsinki’s guys and gals established a Co-Op to govern stocks of Vincit Helsinki. Through this innovative structure everyone can enjoy success of the company, no matter how early or late they come onboard.
Co-Op can manage and distribute wealth for its members, provide services and even conduct business of their own. This enables all the members to enjoy fruits of the labor so to speak. It is scalable when it comes to rewarding (no need to split stocks or have high buy-in model for them) and it also enables a low level of bureaucracy (no extra registrations or stamps required). The model is truly democratic (people have one vote; no matter how many shares you have). The model is unique, and as far as I know, currently this concept that we have is one of a kind in Finland - or at least in IT industry. Giving out stocks in non-publicly traded company is so out-of-date as means of employee engagement.
All this has happened under two years, looking forward to see what coming years will bring forth, and working with these great people that make Vincit Helsinki.