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Posts Tagged ‘Nokia’

Imagine a bit easier life. Think about all the things a virtual assistant in your phone could do? What would it be?

Let’s go one step back in the history. In 1999, Nokia Released the first WAP phone (Nokia 7110). It was supposed to offer wireless data services enhancing our lives. As a pioneer, the road was tougher than that. See one of the press articles from 1999 (in Finnish, sorry).

Seven years later Apple releases the first iPhone. As a consumer product, iPhone came much close offering all those data services envisoned in 1999. But where are all the applications for daily life management?

Mobile phone is (or could be) a unique life management tool as it ‘knows’

  • who you are
  • who you know
  • where you are (and where you should and should NOT be)
  • where you are going to be
  • who you communicate with

What would you like to have in your phone? Which application would make your life easier? Click here to give your answer.

And Happy New Year everyone!

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I think this is quite self-explanatory, found this while browsing through my archives… (dates back to year 1995).

Three Essential Steps in Marketing Consumer Electronics

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I think this is quite self-explanatory, found this while browsing through my archives… (dates back to year 1995).

Three Essential Steps in Marketing Consumer Electronics

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Yesterday I tweeted about a simple question.

So far I’ve received 15+ excellent comments.

Initially and based on discussions with some fellow (active) entrepreneurs I was of an opinion that we are mainly missing the people (entrepreneurs) to make the idea into action.

This line of thought was justified as we all know there are more ideas than what we can implement. Many of the ideas should, honestly, never be implemented. And many of them are just copycats, yet another facebook-youtube-socialmedia clone which is a pity. Even after these taken away there are many more great ideas than people to implement them. In this light it seems almost funny how desperately (still) some people value just the idea (or an idea in PowerPoint slides).

On the other hand many people, again initially, were of an opinion that you can actually find money if you have a really good idea. The money just may not come from your home country, in this case Finland. There is no real Venture Capitalists left in Finland, and the angel investor community is not very large nor truly active, yet. Luckily at least Veraventure is doing good work to get this changed.

I made earlier a little poll which says many (academic) people skip entrepreneurship as they either don’t have a business idea nor a team.

This week a Finnish business magazine Kauppalehti Optio published a cover story of 80 young people born in the 80’s, the people who are our future and who are going to take over. Guess how many of those persons were entrepreneurs? One. There is hope that some of those classified as “students” still could become entrepreneurs…

The responses to my tweet mainly said, however, that we are missing money and financing. There were also good comments about timing and luck, no matter how good the idea is. For example our idea of mobile carpool service (year 2002) was given no serious attention in the Finnish VC community (luckily the angel investors in Finland, Italy and The Netherlands trusted us) but this year two young students won Venture Cup with the idea of mobile carpool. So it’s also about timing, seven years later. See also a briefing to the subject here. As a side note I would say that if Nokia really would like to “think different”, they should use this Ecolane technology to enter mobile carpool business before Google or Apple do. Disclaimer: I’m a shareholder in both of the companies mentioned.

One thing what I’ve been wondering – if having not enough entrepreneurs is NOT the problem – why as there so little active serial entrepreneurs? I mean those who have tried at least once, possibly succeeded and become a driving force of another start-up with all that experience? Many of those people seem to be now in a more convenient “advisor” role. As one of the active entrepreneurs I respect, Marko Parkkinen, said this week: “After failing in the recent start-up, I was at one point almost desperate enough to become an employee, but luckily I run out of battery in my mobile phone before I said ‘Yes'”.

As one active entrepreneur friend of mine said, “At the first stage of ‘making it big’ the lack of true entrepreneurs makes the start-up market very small. Money matters only after a start-up has started its journey – if there was all the money available, but no real motivation to make ‘my/our company big’, I doubt there would be much success.”

However, I do belive that funding is a key element in building new success stories. Early this year  we start building a new initiative code named “GrowthOS“.

“GrowthOS is an ecosystem for entrepreneurs to build online presence enabling them to receive funding from one or more private investors as well as facilitate all the activities before and after the investment has taken place. Extensive use of web-enabled communication, reputation building and other tools offer a unique platform for private investors to follow, communicate with, invest in as well as follow or participate the development of those startups they mostly believe in.”

If you are interested in the GrowthOS ecosystem (it’s going to be Europe-wide), feel free to contact me.

But coming back to the main question: “Which one of the following is the most critical and the least supplied resource: ideas, entrepreneurs or money?”

What do YOU think?

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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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We all know that the car industry is in BIG trouble. Volvo is for sale, is looking for tens of millions of tax payers money to survice few more months. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are asking for 25 billion USD to keep their operations going. That’s just few examples recently given in the press.

A French sociologist Bruno Marzloff had already some time ago an interesting idea: why not to offer vehicles “as a service”. Taking that idea further, why not to use the current crisis in the vehicle industry to get something new done.

Introducing Vehicles as a Service (VaaS) model!

We already had Software as a a Service (SaaS), right?

This is how would it work:

  1. All or major part of the financing the car manufacturers are asking, is used to implement this concept
  2. Best in class technologies are used to enable VaaS: mobile phones, navigation systems and ride-sharing software
  3. Banks and financing is needed for this as well (it’s huge capital investment), but that’s easy as there are so many socialized banks already 
  4. All cities would participate with related services for the participating peoples (for example, free parking)

Who would we need to implement this? There is a clear need for out-of-the-box thinking so it might be a good idea to leave out those big players who typical would implement these ever-lasting and and extremely expensive public projects (in this case we want this done a bit quicker).

Secondly, we need the best-in-class companies for the technology.

  1. Mobile technology from Nokia (they have however bad track record in Open Innovation so alternatively it could also be Ericsson)
  2. Navigation technology from TomTom (Nokia navigation is IMHO really bad, got lost in the middle of Manchester with that)
  3. Ride-sharing software from Ecolane (their real-time ride-sharing really works, it’s really cool technology waiting for the billion dollar opportunity)

And then what? Build a model where financing tools are used to finance enough vehicles which would be equipped with the above mentioned tools and offered for members (car drivers) as really good alternative for owning your own car. There is a need to integrate this with public transportation as well. As each of these vehicles actually becomes part of public transportation, maybe buses could become part of that as well by becoming more demands-responsive?

How woud it work? 

  1. Members of the VaaS service would get a brand new car (choose any brand currently in trouble) for half the price
  2. Car would be equipped with a Navigation Device connected with Ride Exchange
  3. Whenever driving the car, the navigation would be used and it would tell the Ride Exchange the destination. If there would be matching passengers, the driver would need to take them on board and the navigation would automatically adjust to the new route.
  4. The destination information would be utilized for carpooling (and why not for other useful purposes as well). There many additional things to consider, such as matching preferences and collection and use of traffic information.

Maybe you could even “sell” your current car to the government and get your share of the subsidies if you’d participate in this service with the same rules.

Well,  this is really just simplified idea that is not deeply analyzed to death. It might work or maybe not. We don’t know if we don’t try it (or even think about it, right?)

It might be really interesting to dig this deeper one day.

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