'Birth father' of Angry Birds inspires entrepreneurial spirit amongst students

By DA NANG Today / DA NANG Today
November 04, 2019, 16:20 [GMT+7]

Finnish billionaire Peter Vesterbacka, the Founder of SLUSH, Co-founder MobileMonday, Co-founder at Lightneer, Fun Academy Advisor to Edunation, Former Mighty Eagle of Rovio’s Angry Birds, has delivered an interesting speech ‘Impossible is Nothing’ in Da Nang.

 Finnish billionaire Peter Vesterbacka sharing his valuable entrepreneurial experience with local students at recent SURF 2019
Finnish billionaire Peter Vesterbacka sharing his valuable entrepreneurial experience with local students at recent SURF 2019

In his trademark uniform of red hoodie, jeans and red sneakers, Vesterbacka enthusiastically shared his valuable entrepreneurial experience with local students. 

Vesterbacka was the force behind creating the world-beating Angry Birds franchise – one of the most significant startups to come out of the Nordics. And today, he is widely acknowledged as the father of the Nordic startup revolution, and the pre-eminent entrepreneur and visionary from the region.

Notably, in 2011, Time Magazine has ranked Vesterbacka 7th on its annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people. On the Time Magazine list, he comes in straight after Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg. Vesterbacka was listed higher among the top ten than the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the founder of the whistleblowing website Wikileaks, Julian Assange.

At the age of 24, Vesterbacka started working at Hewlett-Packard, and then founded the HP Mobile E-Services Bazaar, a global innovation and corporate partnership program that Booz Allen Hamilton declared an industry benchmark.

In 2003, Niklas Hed, Jarno Vakevainen and Kim Dikert- alumni of the Helsinki University of Technology- won the first prize at a mobile game development competition. Thanks to their victory and through words of sincere encouragements from the event’s organsier Vesterbacka, the trio started their own company, Relude, the predecessor of Rovio Entertainment. Vesterbacka then served as the Chief Marketing Officer and Mighty Eagle of Rovio Entertainment Ltd.,

In 2009, Rovio Entertainment released Angry Birds for the iOS as an app for 0.99$. It is Rovio's 52nd game and becomes the first hit for the struggling company. In March 2011, mobile sensation Angry Birds saw its 100 millionth download. “Everyone is playing Angry Birds”, Rovio marketing exec Vesterbacka claimed at that time.

After 10 years of publication, Angry Birds is still one of the most successful game brands globally, with nearly 5 billion downloads across all platforms counted to date. Originally a free mobile game, Angry Birds kept on updating more stories and creative play styles. Throughout many versions, the game has been praised by players for its humour, vibrant animation, addictive gameplay and low costs.

Angry Birds clearly demonstrates the fact that ‘the impossible becomes possible’ According Vesterbacka, Finns often joke that they can walk on water. This may seem impossible, but actually, when the winter reaches its coldest and snowiest time, the Finns take it in stride. They make the most out of it by using the frozen ocean as a winter playground. So, it’s not difficult anymore to start a business once you've found a right way to bring your ideas to fruition.

Having delivered his great speech, Vesterbacka received many questions raised by students about entrepreneurial experience, including what to do to overcome difficulties in the early stage of startup, how to get start-up funded, and how to set up a startup group.

Whilst answering these questions, Vesterbacka stressed the need for the young to have their own creative ideas as a basic step, and then build up clear goals and roadmap. Besides, a dynamic and like-minded working group is also essential.

“Peter has always been the one insisting on bigger ideas and bigger dreams to take the birds higher,” said Rovio Chairman Kaj Hed.

Pursuing his entrepreneurial passions and dreams in the global startup scene, Vesterbacka is also the founder of SLUSH - the world's leading Startup event where founders and tech talent meet with top-tier international investors, executives, and media.

SLUSH has grown into the largest single gathering of venture capital in the world. In 2008, SLUSH attracted only 300 participants, but this year’s event is expected to become a gathering of 25,000 curious minds, including 4,000 startups and 2,000 investors.

Mr Ho Quang Dung from the Da Nang Entrepreneurship Support Company Ldt (DNES), also known as the Da Nang Incubator, affirmed that SLUSH’s journey really inspired him and his collogues to do their utmost to make the International Startup Conference and Exhibition in Da Nang (SURF), the largest of its kind in Central Viet Nam, more attractive.

Finnish billionaire acknowledged the fact that Da Nang is witnessing a dynamic startup ecosystem, with many innovative models and creative startup ideas. He expressed his hope that, in the coming time, Da Nang, and Viet Nam at large, would see effective and breakthrough start-ups.