Greetings from Alumni: Antti Antikainen, Investment Manager, Juuri Partners Oy
26 January 2023
This time around in our Greetings from Alumni series, we interviewed Antti Antikainen, who works as an investment manager at Juuri Partners Oy. During his time at Hannes between 2014 and 2021, Antti worked as an associate and senior associate in our Real Assets Team.
Hi Antti, how are you? How has 2023 started for you?
Hi, great to hear from you! The beginning of the year as well as last autumn have been extremely interesting so far, but also busy despite the market cooling down in the recent years. I have been working with a new investment that was published last week, where we invested into DAF Group, which is responsible for managing Subway’s® business in Finland and Sweden, and its subsidiary operates approximately 40 Subway restaurants in Finland. I have also conducted value creation activities at Co-Engineering, which is a green energy-focused engineering firm. It is one of our portfolio companies where I am also a board member. The times in the economy have changed a lot in one year with the breakout of the war in Ukraine. Strong inflationary pressures are mounting up first time in decades and all economic forecasts are extremely foggy.
Can you tell us what Juuri Partners is?
We are a private equity fund manager, with two funds currently, and the assets under management exceed 200 million euros. Our strategy falls within so-called growth equity, so typically we do minority investments to fast growing and profitable entrepreneur-led companies. We are sector agnostic, so we invest in different industries ranging from B2B software-as-service companies to stone crushing. This means that we have a very diversified portfolio of companies operating in different industries.
You work as an investment manager at Juuri Partners Oy. Can you tell us a bit about your main responsibilities?
The great thing about working for Juuri Partners is that I have a very diverse set of main responsibilities, ranging from making new investments, related strategy work, working with deal sourcing, negotiating deal terms, and also supporting our exit processes with my legal expertise. So far, I have been working with two different boards of directors for our investments. It is very interesting, as I get to work closely with the entrepreneurs in developing and growing their businesses to the next level. As a growth equity investor, we are typically the first external investor and we bring our playbook to navigate fast growth and build robust governance in our portfolio companies. I also lead our ESG team, so sustainability is a part of my responsibilities, and this is an area with a lot of new regulation and recent developments.
During your time at Hannes, you worked in our Real Assets Team. How was working in the team and what was the most valuable thing you learned during your time at Hannes?
Working in the Real Assets Team was very fun and at times hectic. Due to the size of the team, there were ample opportunities for taking responsibility and learning from the process. When I started at Hannes, the team led by Tapio Teräkivi was only a small group of 6 lawyers, whereas now the team has grown to be more than 40 people.
The most valuable things I learned for my career would boil down to three: ability to negotiate, project management skills, and diverse understanding of transactions and related legal concepts and documentation. I also gained a very broad legal understanding from transactions, as in addition to real estate transactions, I also took part in M&A transactions and completed a rotation in Hannes’s Finance Team. I also learned a great deal about how to work and interact with clients and communicate in a clear manner and gain clients’ trust. For me, client work was always my favourite part of being an attorney.
You hold a master’s degree in law and an MBA from abroad. Why did you end up doing an MBA at IE Business School instead of an LL.M.?
For me, a key reason for completing an MBA was that I wanted to learn more generalist skills ranging from leadership to finance and economics. My view was that such skills would both benefit me as a transaction-focused lawyer and also potentially open up opportunities for doing business. Another key reason was that I wanted to network with people from different backgrounds, and the IE Business School MBA cohort had over 65 nationalities from diverse professional backgrounds.
Do you have any advice that you would want to give other lawyers considering doing an MBA?
Do it and trust your abilities; law is a great background for business studies! Completing an MBA abroad was one of the most fun years in my life – this would probably apply to an LL.M. as well. International exposure opens up a lot of understanding and is also a great journey to better self-understanding. On the practical side, doing an MBA requires completing a GMAT degree first. Start preparing for the GMAT early enough, as (re)learning mathematics and mastering mental arithmetic takes up time and energy.
What career advice would you now give to yourself if this were your first day at law school?
Don’t worry, there will be plenty of time to work. I rushed to start working while studying quite quickly. I would also urge myself to join the active start-up community and to collaborate even more with people from different backgrounds while it is even easier to transfer some of my time to start-ups.
What is your favourite memory from your time at Hannes?
I have many favourite memories from Hannes and most notably of all the colleagues there. Professionally, I enjoyed the dedication and supportive collegial environment, but also the annual ski trips to Tahko rank among the top memories.
One theme which currently stands out in working life discussions is purpose at work. To conclude this interview, we would like to ask what the things are that keep you going and motivated at work – what is your purpose?
I am very passionate about being an investor to small and medium-sized Finnish companies. A key part of my motivation is the ability to learn something new every day and the fact that I get to work with a lot of people. Also, as a private equity investor, we help entrepreneurs to achieve maximum potential growth for their companies and, in the process, we create a lot of work and growth in the Finnish economy and society.