One of this cofounders was Rami Metsaranta, who is the director of engineering in the start-up called Neolitics. They started their operation in last April and now they have grown to be 9 people in the company. The company was founded in the United states, and their CTO and CFO are in California at the moment.
Neolitics is developing a Near Infra-Red Optical Analyzer (NIR-OA), which main aim is to analyse particles and substances in different materials. Their main innovation lays in controlling, processing and optimising data measurement in different materials and substances. They are leveraging Texas Instruments (TI) technology, specifically TI’s Digital Light Processor (DLP®). Together with their intellectual property they are able to create the most accurate measurement device that exists right now in the market.
The Finnish founders of the company are former Nokia and Microsoft employees, who had worked in these companies for the last 20-30 years. This is the main advantage that they have compared to their American colleagues- they have been working together for so long, in a familiar place with the same people and on similar technology. They are able now to make the most out of the experience and create amazing start ups that are different and game changing.
The Microsoft campus was a former Nokia building that was bought by them. Their former employees don’t have to pay for anything right now for the space rent or cool freebies (like free soft drinks and coffee). However, this can be changed very soon, as the city of Salo and some private investors are looking to buy the Nokia HQ and convert it into a big Start Up Hub very soon. According to Rami, there are around 20 companies currently functioning in the building and around 30 startups in total. The average age of the founders is around 30-40, but there are more senior citizens than younger generation.
In the HQ, the technology that is mainly developed is related the internet of things (IoT), sensors, electronic devices, software for engineering and industrial use, design and mechanical engineering.
One of the most interesting innovative companies that we talked with was Nuviz, which is a start-up that aims to bring Head-Up Display to the motorcycling helmets. They device attaches to any helmets and smart sensors project all of the relevant information to the rider without having to take the eyes off the road. This technology is cutting edge in branding motorcycling safety to the roads, and the sensors and camera allow to track and record the driving experience through the online platform.
Soficta was presented to us by their CEO and cofounder Sami Metsanpera. Again, because of their experience and expertise after years of working in Nokia, these guys have created a great start up that provides industrial internet solutions, digital media services and software solutions for small and medium businesses.
Their business model consists in creating projects and work for clients that gives them income, and re-invest into other prototypes that are more experimental but more innovative and daring. In the last year of their operations their income was around $200K, which is an incredible result for a company operating for only one year. One of such experimental projects is a cloud solutions for regulating and analysing heating problems that there are in the houses and businesses around Nordic countries. They are working on this prototype together with Sensoan, another start up in the hub and Samsung.
In this company there are 15 people working, who are mainly the ex Nokia employees. It was very interesting to see that they are implementing a Scrum philosophy in their software development. As I have interest in team efficiency and project development, I had asked to get a meeting where these guys can explain in much more details how scrum works and how it can be implemented. We agreed on meeting with them next week on Tuesday for this workshop, which might be interesting for other people in my team.
This guys not only develop software and hardware, but they are also experts in digital media marketing such as web page creation, graphic design, presentations, etc. Here is an opportunity for a collaboration and knowledge fertilisation. The work they had done looks very interesting, innovative and different from anything else, and we would like to know how can we exchange ideas.
Finally, their outlook on the whole problem of Microsoft buying Nokia is that their location is very good and that they change did not affect him or their employees that much. In Salo there are cheaper apartments and rent then in Helsinki or Tempere (main Finnish technology hubs) but it is still relatively close to those cities. For now they have some employees that have to commute every day from big cities a lot but it provides an opportunity for Soficta, in the moment of attracting the best minds with more competitive salaries and cheaper location.
One of our main motivations that we had was getting a meeting with Turing Robotic Industries, in which we were not as successful as we desired. We go the contact from Heikki form Yrityssalo, and were directed to the Microsoft offices. During our visit there, we were told that Turing Robotic Industries has rented out half of the building but it is very rare that they appear around. It was very strange to find out that they are not working on their potential phone that is going to come out this summer and that there is nothing being done about. Turing Robotic Industries is founded by Chinese founders, but they don’t usually appear around.
Our main aim right now is to find out more about their story and may be revealed that they are a fake company which is not selling real products, which is also a very interesting story to explore.