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January 30, 2024

The Beginning of Vincit: How Mikko Kuitunen led Vincit from near collapse to doubling revenue in one year

By Evli Growth Partners
Mikko Kuitunen
Growth Partner
In 2007, 26-year-old Mikko Kuitunen quit his previous job and founded a software consultancy company. There was no problem to solve, no ready-made vision – just the hope to go to work every morning without feeling sick of it.

This blog post is part of The Founder Files series, exploring the human side of entrepreneurship, where the distinction between success and failure is often a fine line. From founding and scaling, all the way to the exit, we reveal the unfiltered, authentic stories behind entrepreneurial journeys. Ready to hear the truth?

In 2007, yet another software consultancy company was founded. Looking at statistics at the time, the Trade Register was buzzing with small or even one-man software businesses mainly employed by Nokia. But unlike many of its competitors, this company, Vincit, had other plans: they did not aim to have this telecom giant as their sole customer.

Vincit was founded by two men, one of whom “ended up working in IT by accident” by his own account. 26-year-old Mikko Kuitunen quit his previous job due to dissatisfaction with how decisions were made and lured his colleague to join him.

There was no problem to solve, no ready-made vision – just the hope to go to work every morning without feeling sick of it. And what even was the worst that could happen? That they would both need to return to work in places where they had already grown tired of?

Mikko Kuitunen in the brand-new office in 2009.

The founding of Vincit also included strategic moves. As Kuitunen informed his employer’s accounts he worked most closely with that he was leaving the company, one big one followed. And after six months, a dozen of his former colleagues were working for him.


“We actually started off with great revenue and even profits,” Kuitunen says. In truth, there was more hard work and “shoveling shit,” in Kuitunen’s words, than inspirational entrepreneurial stories often want to discuss.

The honeymoon was over shortly. In 2008, they started to see the first international signs of an economic depression hitting, and soon, it reached Finland, too. Customers froze most projects in the pipeline. Vincit had put all its eggs in one basket, and without new customers, the whole company was going under.

Salaries were cut, work went on, and everyone sold anything to anyone. As the economic recession drove more and more competition, the whole team was desperate to find a new direction.

“We realized that no one offered a money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy, you will get your money back. With that statement, we got into every possible tendering table.“

One sales call is especially etched on Kuitunen's memory. “The person at the other end of the line was like, hear me out; this is the eighth call I’ve received from an IT consultancy company – today. What sets you apart?”

Kuitunen ran into research stating that 67% of software projects fail. This is where they started to build.

“We realized that no one offered a money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy, you will get your money back. With that statement, we got into every possible tendering table.“

The team was hesitant about the idea in the beginning, but soon, everyone was working together to outline the conditions for the customers to make the money-back guarantee a reality. Against all odds, Vincit not only managed to bounce back after nearly collapsing in spring 2008, but also doubled its revenue by the end of the same year.

“I gave up everything at that point. Family gatherings, friends’ birthday parties. Relationship – this wasn’t what ended it, but weeks went by without us really talking to each other.

There’s no denying that “You shouldn’t feel pissed about going to work on Mondays” turned out to be excellent advice for the company culture. It sparked the greater idea of what kind of leadership the company would encourage. But that culture was also shaped by hard times.

“People have stayed with us for over a dozen years after those critical moments.”

That cohesion and culture came with a personal price.

“I gave up everything at that point. Family gatherings, friends’ birthday parties. Relationship – this wasn’t what ended it, but weeks went by without us really talking to each other. I got drunk with a bunch of friends at least a couple of times a month. That formatted working memory pretty efficiently, but it treated the symptoms instead of the disease.”

In the next part of the series, we will dive deeper into how a great culture carried the company through the challenging years of scaling. How did fostering a strong people-centric culture shape Vincit's success? And how was the company culture scrutinized and challenged in the public eye?

Vincit’s dreams captured in 2014 by Antti Karppinen.

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