“The aim is to normalise entrepreneurship and revolutionise matching”

September 13, 2022 · Consulting, Entrepreneurship

Written by: Mattias Loxi

Thomas Janhonen, co-founders of Thriv.

Finland is several years behind Sweden in entrepreneurship and opportunities for freelancing in the consulting sector. At the national level, the key challenge is to encourage more people to set up their own business. There are signs of progress, however, with more and more Finnish entrepreneurs adopting new models for both entrepreneurship and business management.

One example of this is Thriv, a unique company that has effectively challenged the Finnish consulting industry. The company has seen huge success, increasing its turnover by 160% in the last year.

We talked to Thomas Janhonen, one of the co-founders of Thriv, about his views on the freelancing economy in Finland. The goal behind the company was to tackle two clear challenges faced by the consulting sector. The first related to improving the matching process between customers and consultants by selecting for each customer a small number of CVs that fit their needs.

“Our experts select one to three consultant profiles that we believe will interest our customer, rather than giving them the time-consuming task of wading through a catalogue of hundreds. This means our customers don’t have to waste time to find the best match – we do the work for them,” explains Thomas.

Boosting recruitment efficiency

The second challenge was to shape a better work environment for freelancers so that they could focus on their work tasks and make the most of their resources. Thriv describes itself as a tech talent agency that connects skilled freelance developers with alert companies that want to streamline their recruitment process. Thomas explains how shaping a unique identity has been central to the company’s development.

“I am a developer with many years of experience, this allows me to understand the needs and desires from a developer’s point of view. This is not just about getting the right tech stack, but rather about the need, value and identity of the company as well as the developer experience. What does their team look like? What tools do they have and what does their work environment look like? We simply look at the situation from the developers’ perspective.”

A vision to transform the consulting sector

Originally from Germany, Thomas moved to Finland 17 years ago. He has worked in Finland as a software developer, initially for in-house companies. From a young age he had dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur and starting his own business, but at the same time he knew it was time to get himself an education. He completed two degrees, one in Finland and the second in England, then he returned to Finland once again and started working as a consultant. In the end, he wanted to try something new – and decided to try living out his entrepreneurial dreams.

He co-founded Thriv together with the other co-founder Jaakko Taskisalo almost four years ago as a subsidiary of the well-known Finnish consulting firm Futurice. The vision was to create something new, as the consulting industry seemed to look the same wherever you go – and especially in Finland’s relatively small market.

“The companies are different, but they ultimately all offer consultants the same kinds of benefits, flexibility and work tasks. After I went through my own journey into becoming a freelance software developer, which was fulfilling on a professional and personal level, I met my now co-founder Jaakko Taskisalo. With input from Futurice, we knew we could offer aspiring freelancers and ultimately all developers a better experience in every way – starting from a culture that puts them first, to making better matches based on their desires and sharing our knowledge on how to get started,” Thomas explains.

Finding the best match

Thomas’s solid work experience and extensive network laid a solid foundation for the company’s start-up phase and helped Thriv to build and shape the company into what it is today. These endeavours have clearly brought success, as can be seen in the company’s spectacular recent results: 160% growth in the last year and a turnover of EUR 7.4 million.

    “The aim is to normalise entrepreneurship and revolutionise matching.”

Thriv is aimed at senior developers who are true professionals in every sense of the word – beyond just years of experience – and with a clear passion for technology. In this way, the company ensures that its developers have extensive knowledge and solid technical expertise. At the same time, Thriv ensures the quality of the entire process so that the perfect match is found between the developer and customer. In addition, the company seeks to listen to the consultants’ own goals and plans for the future.

    “We want to provide developers with a personalised service. We are not just focusing on what they want to do right now, but instead asking them where they want to take their career. Top talent must remain motivated for engaging in development work, such as in problem solving or skills development. You have to be able to identify the business problem that needs solving at any given time and how best to tackle it.”

Research shows that more and more skills will be needed for the work tasks and roles of the future. How is Thriv developing its skills?

“We have formed a community in which we share up-to-date information from the tech field. We also organize tech events and sponsor speakers for Meetup groups. And, of course, we also use Slack. But the most important thing is that our consultants get the right assignments. In addition, we also invest in finding the right people – those who are interested in learning new things.” 

What are the company’s plans for the future?

“Developers can work anywhere that has the internet. Moving forward, we want to extend our operations into Central Europe – for example to Germany, which is lagging behind Finland but has a large market to offer. The Swedish market is interesting, of course, but one of the big challenges is that the Swedish market is ahead of Finland in terms of entrepreneurship. This means making it big in the market is a little more challenging.”

Gör som 7000 andra! Missa inte vad som händer i konsultbranschen.

Mattias Loxi, Co-Founder / CMO

Mattias is one of the founders of Cinode. Now in Marketing and Sales - runs the most popular blog and newsletter "Veckans konsultnyheter" about the Swedish consulting Industry. Also runs the podcast "Konsultpodden as well as a lot of Speaking engagement. Add him in Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattiasloxi/

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