The FINal Expedition

Sadly, we have arrived at our final destination, Helsinki, Finland and these business visits have not disappointed us or our peers. We had an opportunity to visit the Rovio Headquarters.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with that name, we are fairly certain you have heard of their most popular product, Angry Birds!  


Ash and I standing at the entrance of Rovio

Right from the get-go when we entered their offices it has a very “Silicon Valley’ vibe to it.  If any of you have seen the Showtime Show, Silicon Valley, or have visited the rapid growing tech businesses in Northern California, then you have an idea of what I am talking about.  In most companies in the Silicon Valley area, Google has started the trend of “Nap Corners” or “Nap Pods” and although they do not have actual nap corners, they do have areas designated for rest and relaxation for their employees. We saw several gaming machines such as pinball, pool table, and air hockey. We were even informed that these were not only relaxation areas, employees can conduct their meetings here as well. We thought this was very interesting considering that they are attempting to model their business structure/culture after tech startups in the United States.


Just hanging out with our new best friend

We especially enjoyed hearing about the reasons for their success. Rovio takes pride in the fact that they want characterization that tell stories and strive to create meaningful characters.  This is sometimes very hard to do with an app-based game, but if done properly, can create something that is much more than a fad.  Angry Birds has been Rovio’s greatest success in that sense because it has branched out to more than just app-based games. There are animations (where they currently reign as one of the top Youtube videos played), and their first theatrical film The Angry Birds Movie.  That was released just a few weeks ago, and has made just under $300 million in the global box office off of just a $70 million budget.


Helsinki Cathedral


Ash Admiring the Cathedral

Rovio has a team of just over 500 employees (300 of which work with the development team), but they are a company that has only been around since 2003 and Angry Birds was not even developed until December of 2009.  They have grown at a rapid pace and it is because they continue to stretch the boundaries for what app-based games can do for their consumers.  


Uspenski Cathedral, one that reminded us of Hogwarts

Unlike many of the businesses we have visited so far, Rovio appears to be very culturally similar to American startup companies.  Rovio even has a mission statement, “We are here to delight the world” making it feel like they are trying to go above and beyond what a normal startup company might try in Scandinavia, and more so what might be attempted in America.  Rovio even has licensing partnerships with McDonalds, Lego, H&M and PEZ Candies, and over 300 more licenses to date, as they try to cement their brand even more internationally.  They have even begun coming up with new ways to add value to their products such as augmented reality to complement some of their games and toys.


A beautiful view from a tower in the middle of the City

If Rovio’s numbers are actually true (growth every year since the inception of Angry Birds), then they are not only obliging their fiduciary duties, but they are getting their animations and games into the hands of the consumers and truly are doing a great job of delighting the world.

Note: Part 5 of our Food series!