Much has been said about the Finnish startup scene. Finnish entrepreneurs come in many shapes and forms. But the basic story remains that there’s a lot of human capital freed up after the swan song of Nokia, while new talent keeps brewing in our country’s tuition-free higher education system.
So, to get a better idea of what’s cooking in Finland right now, we’ve spent some time studying the scene. Now, we can present our list of super interesting Finnish companies, with varying levels of funding and progress, which we think will make waves (or even bigger waves) in 2016.
Kiosked aims to refresh the industry of online advertising, with improved technical delivery, insertion into today’s content and better relevancy. Kiosked’s rise happens at a point when the web advertising industry faces increasing concerns about the cost of advertising for customers. The company’s business model involves creating innovative new ways of showcasing relevant advertising at greater speed. What’s more, with its new, clean code for delivery, it’s helping speed up page loads and decrease bandwidth consumption. A win-win for everyone.
It’s been said that many high tech tech companies are becoming increasingly invested in at least trying to advance and control battery technology. Tespack is a different contender, even in the wearables market. The company specializes in “smart packs”, solar powered bags and backpacks intended to provide power to commuters and hikers alike.
Combining engineering talent with good taste has increasing value in the wearables market. Tesback is early on the market and has the potential to create compelling products in a growing niche. The company can do so by crafting a distinct brand aesthetic around the technical limitations concerning the combination of solar cells and textiles before the world’s clothing behemoths wake up to wearable power generation and storage.
Indoor location tracking seems to be a massive marketing gold rush waiting to happen. But tracking technologies are messy, disparate and incompatible. Proximi.io brings them together into one happy API app developers can use to make business premises aware of customer movements.
Brands, chains and franchises are are quickly waking up to offering added value to customers through instant access to product information, shopping and customer support experiences. Certain companies have worked this field for years since the “app economy” around the smartphone got started, but now is the time when vendor specific indoor location tracking technologies are appearing everywhere, from point of sales systems to Wi-Fi routers.
Middleware “glue” with a smart pricing strategy can be hugely helpful in reducing risk for developers as they navigate the crazy, still immature field of these technologies. That why we think Proximi.io can be really important for a lot of great future services, just like the smooth payment services of Braintree is the secret sauce behind companies like Uber and Lyft.
Another player in the location tracking industry, Walkbase builds an analytics system for in-store customer activity in real timeusing several types of sensors. The system can be useful with existing Wi-Fi equipment and runs in the cloud, placing little further burden on IT operations. Case studies on the the company site shows that the system is up and running in settings such as showrooms for upscale car brands, being helpful in picking better placements for cars in the store. We think this offers further proof that in-store analytics is a serious endeavor, worthy of all kinds of high margin businesses.
What happens in Finland during winter? Darkness. What happens when utility or rescue vehicles, tractors, harvesters and the like have outages? Well, loss. Perhaps both in terms of money and human lives. Five Watts brings warm, sun-like light and reliability wherever important work needs to be done. The company has built and designed a super rugged LED based worklight that’s mountable anywhere: the company has videos of crazy abuse like driving over lights with exavators and laying them on a sauna oven.
The work lights being factory installed on vehicles and machinery are usually of fairly modest build quality and usually rely on older, less robust technologies like Xeon. With LED technology going through exponential growth in power efficiency and light output with “its own Moore’s law” established by the late Roland Heitz, Five Watts has a head start in making specialized vertical products that would’ve been impossible with earlier technologies.
If there’s one thing wearable tech doesn’t need, it is complexity. Moodmetric takes this realization to the extreme with their piece of design jewelry. Their ring measures the skin’s galvanic response and outputs feedback on the user’s calmness or lack thereof in simple to understand colors. If you need to watch your stress levels, something like this could save you from the ulcer you’ve been working on.
With aging populations facing rapidly changing job markets and uncertain pension prospects, many of the world’s riches countries will need have to learn to chill out and exercise more to lead pleasant lives. The skills for building healthcare tech without the unsubtle, intrusive feel of hospital equipment is still scarce. The quest for establishing a design language for low cost, smart wearables that don’t feel disposable is something every insurance company in the world will be following with great interest.
This company is doing more than ditching vowels in their name. Bt.tn prides itself on “the easiest internet user interface in the world”: a single programmable, big red button, which can be configured in an endless ways. Need to turn off all smart home nonsense? Or do you want your child to report their arrival back home with an automated message? That’s the sorts of things this big red button can do for you.
Any talented team of designers can products that look great and aim for simplicity. But in our increasingly connected world, this is no longer sufficient. By now, everyone who’s heard of the Internet of Things realizes that even small, mundane things now rely on software. But this isn’t enough either: firmware on connected devices don’t live in isolation, but rely on APIs, programming interfaces, to be relevant as building blocks in the digitalized consumer economies and specialized vertical markets alike. We see great promise in the depth to which Bt.tn goes to in scraping together the nutrients of an ecosystem, even around the simplest of ways of interacting with technology.
Holvi takes a lot of servides small businesses need and rolls them into a unified ball of unified goodness with simple, per-transaction fees. It’s an e-commerce solution with some banking services without the terrible user experience of traditional banks.
Almost anyone who faces the prospect of small-scale entrepreneurship will notice the complexity of bureaucracy, expense and indefensible ineptitude of traditional banking and financial institutions providing usable services. The implications of offering banking-like services around e-commerce are global, as many non-western, low and middle-income countries have skipped the early days of e-commerce and jumping straight to mobile. Holvi is there to harvest some of the demand for making business simple and contract free.
If you sit on appealing video, you should share it as soon as possible to create one of those social media wildfires. Tellyo builds a platform making it easy to do just that: making sure that media producers quickly can make sharable clips of their programming.
Professional, heavy duty media production and broadcasting workflows are far from the swipe and tap experience of editing family videos on the iPad. And few years back, Netflix’s technology chief even complained publicly that the TV and movie industry were sending the streaming giant master copies with broadcast TV commercials burned in.
All this means is that the creative industries tied to traditional broadcast mediums still need to renew the toolset with which they allow in-house social media editors and fans alike to quickly share, discuss and obsess over content. Tellyo is right here, waiting for them.
We humans all need sleep. The problem, as many new parents can attest, is that babies don’t always sleep… like babies. This leaves everyone tired and less happy. But Familings has built a smart mattress around the age-old wisdom that babies sometimes need some nice, steady movement to fall asleep. With new parents outsourcing some of the night time soothing of an unhappy and very unsleepy baby to a mattress, they can be happier, more fulfilled and more available to their new family member for the rest of the day.
“It takes a village to raise a child”, as the old saying goes. But in today’s’ (sub)urbanized societies around the world, parents are facing the odd combination of relative isolation from family and friends with wealth and technology that were unimaginable outside the ruling classes. Despite massive improved infant mortality rates globally, parenting may just be emotionally taxing in other ways less as helping hands may be far and few in between.
We can only guess if companies like Familings will face moral indignation and taboos concerning parenthood, but we think young parents everywhere will find great relief in having safe and well-designed technology responding to some of a tiny human’s first needs and struggles in life.
No one can argue that Facebook and Instagram advertising doesn’t work. Smartly.io takes the social behemoth’s advertising platform to the next level by building quick and easy to manage campaigns and variations of them in scale. They even have Instagram filters!
The are numerous arguments for simpler, more visual platforms that tie together entire portfolios of social media properties, tools for managing paid campaigns and comparing metrics. But we don’t need to go very deep into marketing lingo to explain this.
One doesn’t need to a full-fledged social media manager with tens of brands to attend to to see challenges in being stuck with default tools for social platforms. First, we all know social networks, especially Facebook, are built a bit like Vegas casinos, to help you forget where you are and how much time you’ve spent. We can assure you: trying to work in Facebook is a distracting affair.
Smartly.io combines two essential properties owned by the same parent company in a way that Facebook’s own tools simply can’t offer. That’s some added value for sure if you get the value of visualization.
Imagine long days at the office or awesome nights on the town. Both happen. So do messed up flight schedules. In all these scenarios you might need somewhere safe and comfy to rest for a few hours. Kapseli takes the legendary Japanese 80’s sleeping capsules and updates them to picky western standards with generous space, built in flat screens and super easy, sprinkler based cleaning. The company is planning a first rollout of capsule hotels with three partners but is highly interested in adapting their product for custom installs at industrial sites, offices and construction sites.
Many of us are very lucky to be alive in a historically stable and safe world, but we all know about the clouds on the horizon. Nobody has missed the current refugee crisis in Europe. Climate change, conflicts the possible end of mass employment and the challenges of wealth redistribution will require answers. It’s ideas like Kapeli’s improvements of temporary accommodation and housing that can build a foundation for sustainable, compact, yet very reasonable human habitats.
The touchscreen provides amazing new possibilities to visualize parts of life. And what is music if not both a part of life and fairly complex theory? With Musiclock, you can take a new spin on learning scales and jamming by turning a clock-like interface. This sort of thing can make the causalities of sound frequencies come to life easier and quicker for anyone who wants to really get music.
Music is too valuable as an art form to be reserved for only the most obsessed and those privileged with expensive lessons. With humans everywhere adopting smartphones as their primary interface to the world, it’s only to be expected that someone will make use of all the sensors and computing power in these devices to help with the practice of structured and mathematically oriented subjects like music theory. We’d like to believe that the young team of music students behind Musiclock has even more fresh ideas to bring to the table.
Uncertainty about the safety of our everyday surroundings can cause stress and frustration. And eeal dangers can cause life-altering harm. 720 brings to the table a new way to monitor and communicate about indoor air quality, mold problems and the like. And they do so with networked, smart sensors. There’s an “Internet of Things” freak in all of us who’ve ever bought something like a remote controllable light, and I’m sure all of us just can’t wait for the positive changed of quantifying data from our everyday surrounding.
In Finland, there’s an ongoing public debate about the poor and unhealthy conditions in aging municipal buildings like schools. A significant number of people find themselves with symptoms that could be mold related and feel betrayed by the system. From this perspective, it’s easy to see where 720 is coming from: confirming real worries or proving suspicions wrong with transparent data from sensors can stop the undermining of trust that holds safe society like Finland together.
Publishing print magazines still involves weirdly convoluted workflows that are tied to apps that feel like nuclear submarines. Mag.io wants to change this with a web-based, wysiwyg tool for team collaboration on building magazines, including the sharing of heavy, big-filed assets.
Many print media industries face leaner times, with business models that no longer can support complicated, labor intensive and heavy software workflows. Mag.io may not be a single entity that can safe journalism, but automation and simplification are keys to unlocking the gates keeping content difficult and slow to finalize.
If you’ve ever wanted to design your own jewelry but have neither the time nor resources for it, Jevelo is the startup for you. By using Jevelo’s app, you can create pendants by simply taking a photo. Selfies, photos of your cat, abstract designs, or anything that catches your eye can be turned into bespoke silver or steel jewelry. Just take a photo, adjust composition and contrast, see how your design looks in 3D imaging, and place your order. Jevelo is perfect for personalized gifts or adding the final detail to pull an outfit together. Pendant costs range from 65-110€, and you can design your own or buy straight from the market. Designers also have the option to earn income from their designs when purchased by other customers. Get creative!
Thomas Nybergh is a Digital Producer and writer for Ink Tank Media. Passionate about user-centred design and culture, he’s spent a decade working at the crossroads of technology and marketing. He can be found sharing his thoughts on Twitter