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The Slush 2017 event in Helsinki, Finland, kicked off Thursday with roughly 2,600 companies, 1,500 investors and 20,000 people gathering to network. Photo: Ina Fried / Axios

While most investors aren't eager to see themselves eclipsed, for the Finnish government, it's actually a good thing. After years of having to back its own startups, Finland is finally starting to get significant outside funding for its early stage companies.

Last year, foreign VCs invested 216 million Euros in Finnish startups, up from 110 million Euros the prior year and just 21 million Euros in 2010.

The bottom line: For the first time, foreign investors poured more money into Finnish startups than did the government.

"We know the machine we have built is working," said Jukka Häyrynen, executive director of startups for Tekes, the Finnish government's investment arm.

Expand chart
Reproduced from Tekes. Note: Local investments includes Finnish VC's, Nasdaq First North, crowd funding, and business angels. Government includes Tekes scaling, R&D grants and loans. Chart: Axios Visuals

Finland has been home to a host of startups for a long time now, fueled by all of that government funding, a strong tradition of gaming, and a steady stream of entrepreneurs leaving Nokia.

Next up: Finland wants to get more foreign entrepreneurs setting up shop within its borders and plans to introduce a startup visa next year. "We want to have more good ideas from all over the world," Häyrynen said.

Another step is boosting the number of students coming from other countries. Peter Vesterbacka, former Rovio executive and co-founder of Lightneer, says the goal is to get 150,000 foreign students in Finland by 2020, up from about 20,000 now. That's important because for all its tech talent, Finland is only No. 18 in Europe in terms of number of developers, according to a report released today by Atomico.

Go deeper

Updated 49 mins ago - Technology

Twitter sues Texas AG Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton at February's Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Twitter on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), saying that his office launched an investigation into the social media giant because it banned former President Trump from its platform.

Driving the news: Twitter is seeking to halt an investigation launched by Paxton into moderation practices by Big Tech firms including Twitter for what he called "the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President," days after they banned him following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.