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Posts Tagged ‘Finland’

As part of the Venture Bonsai concept, we shot the first five elevator pitches today in Helsinki.

The idea is to make two videos for start-ups looking for funding: one public 100 seconds video and another 5 minutes non-public video which can be shown to potential investors.

To our knowledge, this is the first time elevator pitches are really made professionally.

Same questions were asked from each entrepreneur and if the answer filmed did not go well enough it was shot again. All the aspects of each answer were fine-tuned towards high quality of the message.

The filming itself was done by a professional as will be done the editing.

Looking forward seeing really cool videos next week!

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Innovation in the big corporations is in crisis. This is obviously no news to many of us. Either there are not enough innovations in the company (typically due to corporate culture focusing on maintaining the Status Quo) or alternatively, there are too many of them. This is the case with Nokia which has in the recent years spent hundreds of millions of euros (if not more) in inventing new ideas, researching many of them, trying out some and patenting quite a few. For one reason or another, many of them have got “no-go” decision for any further action.

Technopolis Ventures, a subsidiary of a Finnish public real-estate corporation, has made an agreement with Nokia to offer some of these left-over innovations for Finnish Start-ups in Oulu and some other selected cities in Finland. Sounds too good to be true? Read on!

Nokia Outsources Finding the Golden Eggs to the Finnish Startups

Nokia Outsources Finding the Golden Eggs to the Finnish Startups

The project itself has been launched already some time ago in Oulu, the home city of Technopolis. Today there was the first marketing event for the project in the capital area. The concept is aiming to find an alternative way to commercialize innovations, the traditional way being focusing on inventing new technologies within VTT (state-owned research center) or in the universities. The new idea is find a way to commercialize ideas born within large companies (such as Nokia).

The idea is good, maybe even excellent. The project is taking place in next three years (2009-2011). The total budget is 5 M€ and is paid by Tekes, the participating cities and companies. The amount of money seems somewhat small if they really aim to get 100 projects/startups involved.

The ideas now available cover some 60 Nokia-selected  innovations in the fields of Near-Field Communication (NFC), Environment, Health Care, Location-Based Services (LBS), Mobile Security and Future Internet Services.

There’s a catch, however. There is no free lunch, right?

The companies willing to take advantage of this must have a Finnish VAT number. Technopolis Ventures will match the companies and available innovations in the Nokia innovation pool. After evaluation and screening by Technopolis Ventures, and signing the NDA and contract with Nokia, the funding can be applied from Tekes. It is currently unclear whether the company actually MUST look for Tekes funding or can it also do without.

There were few interesting questions asked in the event today. Here are some examples:

Q: Can I get in touch with the original inventors of an innovation at hand?
A: Maybe, it depends.

Q: Can we see the list of the innovations available?
A: No, you have to provide some keywords describing your own idea (or company business) and we will see if there are matches with the available innovations.

Q: Inventing new ideas and innovations is easy. What about Go To Market strategy and help concerning that?
A: As Finland has one of the best innovation systems in the world, it will take care of that… (Note: This answer was given in a sarcastic tone)

Q: As Nokia keeps parallel rights to everything they “give away”, does it mean that Nokia can at any later time do the same thing than the startup?
A: Yes.

Q: Are there any restrictions concerning the exit phase of a company building its business on one of these innovations?
A: Yes, for example Nokia may forbid selling the company to a Nokia competitor (definition of this remained unclear).

You can also take a look of the Presentation Slides (in Finnish).

Nokia Technopolis Innovation Mill (Process)

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Kasvufoorumi 2009

Kasvufoorumi 2009

The future of the Finnish Economy is in the hands of those software entrepreneurs who dare to innovate and build growth companies at these times. That’s the idea of Growth Forum (Kasvufoorumi in Finnish), an initiative of Finnish Software Entrepreneurs which in co-operation with several other organizations such as Microsoft, arranged a kick-off seminar last Friday in Helsinki. This is the second year this event is organized.

According to Mikko Alkio,  the State Secretary to the Minister of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Employment and Economy, this is a unique collaboration in whole Europe. In no other nation have most of the key stake holders of the software industry joined the forces to build a new cornerstone of a new economic driver. Unlike some other politicians, he was also wise enough to admit that he himself is not actually the best person to advice how to become an entrepreneur and build a company. He claimed that the main reason for this is a  large house mortgage and no room for additional risk taking. In my humble opinion, this is actually often the reason to stay at a regular job instead of building a growth company of your own.

Another speaker, Mikko Kosonen from Sitra, also had an interesting presentation. One of the main things was the need for user driven software design. It is well-known that many (but not all) software is developed based on view of the developers, and less based on the actual and real user needs. There is light in the end of the tunnel, and it’s not the train. Memorize the word “Gasellizer”, an innovation by a group of sofware experts, and see what it is going to be this Autumn.

Concerning Mikko’s presentation, he also mentioned the need of new Service Innovations. That’s absolutely true. It’s no longer enough to engineer yet-another-cool-technology and try to find a use case for that. The future is in Service Innovations. This message is yet to go to the Finnish entrepreneur funding system, however. Trying to find funding for a Service Innovation (with focus on something else than the technology) is quite difficult as a typical answer is that “…it is just a service innovation, we cannot give support for that…”). In the future it should be the other way around, having “just a technological innovation” should not be enough, it should also be Service Innovation!

The Growth Forum will now continue with crowd sourcing model. All the software entrepreneurs were encouraged to join one or more of the task forces working on few pre-selected focus areas. Those focus areas are Teaching and Education, Research, Innovation, Growth Strategies and Capital Markets and International Sales & Marketing. I will personally join at least the Innovation group.

Let the forces be with this initiative!

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