Disclaimer: Please be noted that this post is just to introduce the mini-series of Bloomberg Businessweek and recap the companies and their products or services introduced therein. Further secondary research is conducted based on mentioned companies’ websites and available Internet articles to the best of the author’s limited knowledge and time. This post’s intention is not to promote or advertise any company or its products and services. We take no responsibility for any possible consequences from the inference of information from this post.
When thinking about a Finnish company, for ones who are relatively fresh to Finland, which one comes first to your mind? Maybe it is Nokia, which once accounted for 4% of Finland’s GDP in its heyday[i], or Rovio with its “Angry birds” that took the world by storm with 1 billion times of download around a decade ago[ii]? Then for a brief look into Finland’s business scenery, why don’t check out this mini-series released in December 2019 from Bloomberg Businessweek? The mini-series contain three parts where Bloomberg’s reporter, Ashlee Vance, would bring us to the offices of various interesting companies in Finland. Supercell, Maria01, Naava, SolarFoods, Gold&Green Foods, Sulapac, ZenRobotics, and ICEYE, which one may you have visited before?
Part 1 – How Finland Survived the iPhone
In the first episode, starting with the rise and the fall of Nokia’s mobile phone business, the documentary opened up to the way Finland managed to revive the tech industry with the rising of companies making mobile games like Rovio and Supercell. While the first half of the story was about Nokia, the second half was dedicated for interview with Ilkka Paananen, CEO and co-founder of Supercell and visit to Supercell’s office. A short interview with Ville Simola, CEO of Maria 01, self-claimed as the largest start-up campus in the Nordics that serve over 200 start-up companies as at 2022[iii], comes after. Also, a visit to Naava that provides indoor green wall is expected at the end of the episode.
Part 2 – The Finns Are Probably Living Better Than You
In the second episode, Ashlee walked us go through familiar sceneries of Helsinki and brought up with questions on how Finnish businesses come up with different business models that ensure a high-quality living standard without compromising sustainability. The first one is Solar Foods, a food-tech startup spin off from VTT Research that researches technology to produce edible protein, using just air and electricity.[iv] While Solar Foods’ technology is still at research stage, the second one mentioned in the documentary, Gold&Green Foods has already launched its product called Pulled Oats®, plant-based protein made from the golden oats and green legumes[v] since 2016 and became national phenomenon, voted as Finnish food of the year in 2017.[vi] The company also entered into US market in 2020[vii] and joined the competition along with mainstream brands like US-based Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods in vibrant plant-based protein market with compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.1%.[viii] The third company is Sulapac that comes up with sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic.[ix]
Part 3 – From Saunas to Satellites, Finland Is Heating Up
In the third and the final episode, Ashlee brought us to visit exciting Finnish companies from one that provides waste recycling solutions to microsatellite manufacturer. The first company is ZenRobotics, founded in 2007 that claims to be the first company to apply AI-based sorting robots.[x] Leaving ZenRobotics, we follow Ashlee to visit Espoo-based ICEYE. ICEYE, founded in 2014 as a spin-off of Aalto University’s University Radio Technology Department[xi], combines synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) with advanced image processing and computer vision software to provide radar satellite imaging service with constant and timely coverage to solve problems in sectors such as maritime, disaster management, insurance, finance, security and intelligence.[xii] Then, a final non-business visit to the reputed Finnish invention, sauna with Finland’s most famous actor, Jasper Paakkonen, serves as the end of Ashlee’s interesting visit to Finland. If you have any interesting series or reports in mind, why don’t share with us? Also please feel free to share any interesting information related to