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Gofore celebrates 20-year jubilee – Consultant company rose from startup Death Valley to the most profitably growing in the Finnish IT industry

Gofore celebrates 20-year jubilee – Consultant company rose from startup Death Valley to the most profitably growing in the Finnish IT industry

Press release 11 August, 2022

On the picture: Gofore’s CEO Mikael Nylund (on the left) and COB Timur Kärki on the construction site of Gofore’s new headquarters in Tampere 8 August 2022. 

Gofore celebrates 20 years in operation this August. The company was born when the current Chairman of the Board Timur Kärki convinced his friends Petteri Venola, Jani Lammi and Mika Varjus to become entrepreneurs with him in 2001. Their first business idea was to develop an e-finance system that also inspired the startup’s name; “Go for e” (e-payments and business). The first customer deal was nearly in the bag and venture capitalists onboard, so Kärki left his day job in a big software company.

From misfortune to a new start

The customer, however, pulled out of the project, leaving the newly founded company without business. Investors walked away, the founders stayed in their day jobs and Gofore was put on the shelf. The dream, however, lived – and soon took new shape.

”In 2002, we got together to redefine Gofore’s business model and value base: that it would be the best possible workplace for us as well as others, and that we would thrive through our customer’s success. These are our company values even today, and our business model is the same”, Timur Kärki says proudly.

In the founding year, the business model was set from software to consulting; selling expertise to other companies. Kärki left his job for the second time and other founders followed. Gofore began its operations in August 2002 in Tampere, where the company’s headquarters still are.

On the picture: Gofore’s founders Mika Varjus (on the left,), Timur Kärki, Petteri Venola ja Jani Lammi.

Steady growth rate

Persistent work started to bring success in 2005. Ever since, Gofore has been on a steady growth curve, and a profitable company that at the end of June 2022 employed over 1,000 people in 12 offices in Finland, Germany, Estonia and Spain. Gofore has grown strongly every year for the past 17 years, most years at an over 50% rate, and its comparable operating profit has remained in over 10 percent each year.

”I think our secret sauce is the Gofore culture, meaningfulness, succeeding as a team, low hierarchy, psychological safety, and a common value base. We have stayed in the line of business we have chosen and wanted to be the best at it. We also continuously expand our repertoire and think about what we need to master next. We have also let go of some things that would not bring growth and said no to others that would bring growth but not match our values”, Kärki describes.

In 2017, Gofore was listed in the Helsinki Stock Exchange First North Growth Market, and moved onto the official list in 2021. Upon the listing transfer, the founding partners sold some of their shares to expand the company’s domestic and foreign share ownership base and to add to the liquidity of the share.

Acquisitions enrich the culture

The founders apart from Mika Varjus and Jani Lammi have exited the company’s everyday operations in the past few years. Kärki handed over his CEO role in 2019 to Mikael Nylund, a long-standing Goforean since 2010.

Nylund, who has also worked as a consultant, has been closely involved in the seven corporate acquisitions Gofore has made since 2017 and which all have a significant impact on what makes up Gofore nowadays. The company seeks international growth especially in Germany, where it has been present since 2016.

”Acquisitions are an important part of us, and they are all successful. The new teams have added to our diversity and provided us with valuable capabilities. We have become skilled buyers and a community that is easy to integrate to feeling welcome, and one who’s customers are happy”, says Mikael Nylund.

”Us founders are proud to see Gofore no longer being a company relying on individuals, but instead a strong, self-managed culture, and a community that’s not only growing and renewing, but also very change resistant and persistent”, Kärki adds.

On the pictures: Gofore’s summer party in 2005 and 2022. 

Ethical digitalisation for the next 20 years

Gofore’s mission is and will be to promote ethical digitalisation in both society and companies. In 2021, the company’s net sales were 104 million euros, of which the public sector represented 65 percent.

”Focusing on the public sector customers has proven to be the right decision for us, and we have been privileged to be part of significant societal digitalisation projects for almost two decades. Alongside that, we have generated a growing private sector business that focuses on industrial digitalisation. This brings a world of business opportunities in both Finland and elsewhere in Europe”, Nylund says.

During its jubilee, Gofore promotes the ethics and inclusivity of digitalisation and the ethical use of data. These themes are manifested in e.g. collaborations with Plan International Finland and science center Heureka in Vantaa, Finland.

Gofore develops a new prototype of the so called Equality Tech with Plan International and Samsung Nordics. Globally over 25 girls have taken part in the developing process. A solution is being developed based on the suggestions and insights from the girls to fight misinformation and harmful content, to enhance the digital safety. The results will be released in Fall.

Chart: Gofore’s net sales and profitability
*Adjusted EBITA% from 2019 onwards, prior to that operating profit-%.

Further information:

Timur Kärki, COB, Gofore Plc
tel. +358 040 828 5886

Mikael Nylund, CEO, Gofore Plc
tel. +358 40 540 2280
 

Gofore Plc is a digital transformation consultancy with over 1,000 impact-driven employees across Finland, Germany, Spain, and Estonia – top experts in our industry who are our company’s heart, brain, and hands. We use our holistic service offering – consulting, coding, design, and verification – as tools to incite positive change. We care for our people, our customers, and the surrounding world. Our values guide our business: Gofore is a great workplace that thrives on customer success. In 2021, our net sales amounted to EUR 104.5 million. In 2022, Gofore is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Gofore Plc’s share is listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd. in Finland. Get to know us better at www.gofore.com.