Edged between the Nordic startup powerhouses of Sweden and Estonia on the Baltic Sea, Finland is home to the world’s best education system and its happiest people, according to the World Happiness Report 2018. Finland also harbors a strong startup ecosystem, with one of the highest investment ratios in tech startups per capita in Europe, and investment more than doubling in the country from 2014 to 2017. Helsinki’s ecosystem is especially strong in healthtech, AI, and gaming, and the city is host to some of Europe’s coolest startup events like Slush and Arctic15.
Here are 10 promising startups to look out for in this snowy nation in 2019, from foodtech to VR and machine learning – all founded within the past 2-3 years:
Yetitablet – This Espoo-based startup produces giant Android tablets that allow multiple people to work together simultaneously, with uses in various sectors, including education, team collaboration, and hospitality. Yetitablet allows its users to convert individual tasks into group activities so that they can learn, play, communicate and collaborate more efficiently. The tablets come with an open source Android operating system, high performance hardware, and application packages that are adapted to different industries including health, education, construction, business, tourism, transportation, and more. The startup has launched pilot projects with care institutions in Finland, Germany, and Japan, as well as schools in Jordan. Founded in 2015 by a married couple looking for a way to help their children diagnosed with Asperger’s to communicate better, the startup has now raised €1 million.
Grib – Founded in 2016 and based in Helsinki, Grib was created for students, designers, and anybody else that wants to easily create 3D models and hone their creativity. The majority of 3D Modeling tools are difficult to master – it can take days or even weeks just to get the hang of them. With Grib, you can design 3D models in minutes, share your work online, and print your creations in 3D. Grib’s cloud–based, AR software turns your mobile device into a universal controller, with which you can design complex objects up to 10 times faster than with current common tools.
Varjo – Varjo (pronounced in Finnish, “Var-yo”, meaning shadow) was founded in 2016 in Helsinki. It is producing an industrial-grade VR / XR headset that allows professionals in sectors from aerospace to architecture to work in human eye-resolution quality virtual or mixed reality when designing new products. The headset can be integrated with the world’s most popular 3D engines and software tools. Unlike devices such as Magic Leap, HoloLens, and HTC Vive Pro, Varjo’s product can be used in fields where extreme precision and visual accuracy are paramount. Varjo is already collaborating with leading firms such as Airbus, Audi, Lilium, Saab, Sellen, Volkswagen, and Volvo Cars to optimize the headset for their respective business sectors and needs. The startup raised $31 million in Series B funding in October 2018.
Hostaway – Founded in 2015, this short-term vacation rental management startup and partner of Booking.com helps professional property managers save time and money by consolidating their apartments across every rental channel, offering the only unified dashboard available on the market. While adding properties to platforms such as Booking.com, HomeAway, and Expedia allows property managers to compete with hotels and other market players, it can be tricky to manage every platform. Hostaway gives property managers all the tools they need to grow their business with many short-term rental providers in a single place, utilising a real-time integration of Airbnb and Booking.com listings, while offering messaging services, user management, revenue management, and more. Based in Helsinki, the startup has raised €1.16 million to date.
Valohai is a platform where data scientists can run, iterate, and collaborate on deep learning models, from experiments to inference. Founded in 2016 in Turku, Valohai’s deep learning management platform integrates arbitrary runtimes for arbitrary machine learning code, thereby simplifying ML training and research. Unlike other deep learning platforms, Valohai doesn’t tie you down to one vendor–not even itself, as even the configuration format is open source. Valohai supplies a streamlined machine learning pipeline ensures that steps integrate together, regardless of who has written it or which language or framework was used for it. For example, Valohai allows deep learning projects to generate images with Unity, transform in custom C-code, train with TensorFlow in Python, and deploy to a Kubernetes cluster. Valohai showcases a range of textual, image, and sensor-based ML systems that the company has integrated for clients. Last March the startup closed a $1.8 million round.
Solar Foods is creating “food out of thin air” – producing an entirely new kind of nutrient-rich protein using only air, water, and electricity. Developed through Finnish cleantech expertise and concepts from NASA, Solar Foods is redefining the basics of food production, as its product is not dependent on agriculture, the weather, or the climate. The company plans to start commercial production of its revolutionary protein by 2020. The price of the protein product will also be competitive compared to sources such as soy protein. Just founded in 2017, Solar Foods has already raised €2 million.
The Mealplanner delivers a mix of real-time dietetic consulting, big data analysis, meal planning, IOT solutions, food delivery and smart cooking solutions, with the objective of eventually preventing diseases such as diabetes and obesity in their early stages. The medtech startup connects tech solutions such as health trackers and smart watches with your diet or meal plan, and adjusts your diet according to your stress and energy levels, glucose and fat levels, etc. using tools such as its digital nutritionist, nutrient calculator, and Mealplanner engine. Founded in 2016 and based in Pori, Finland, The Mealplanner has raised €1 million to date.
HoxHunt – Founded in 2016, this startup gamifies training for employees to improve cybersecurity. HoxHunt’s AI solution simulates real phishing attacks on organisations’ users, while revealing the techniques attackers use to infiltrate organisations. Employees are rewarded for reporting the attacks – both real and simulated. Based in Helsinki, HoxHunt has raised €2.9 million to date.
Meeshkan is a powerful machine learning framework that merges data streams to train models and adjust predictions on all types of infrastructures in real-time. The Helsinki-based startup builds software development tools to accelerate modern workflows that can be integrated on Slack. Its first product, a ChatOps bot, allows developers to rapidly stop, restart, fork, tweak, monitor, deploy and test machine learning models using existing collaborative workflows. Founded in 2017, the startup recently raised €370k in pre-seed funding, and is already working with clients in the US, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland.
Etsimo Healthcare – Based in Turku and founded in 2016, Etsimo aims to put a doctor in everyone’s pocket. Its virtual assistant helps patients to determine whether they need to see a doctor by entering their symptoms into Etsimo’s self-diagnosis solution, which uses AI and machine learning to create a dialogue with the patient to reduce uncertainty. The assistant can then determine the condition, care need and next steps — either self-care, remote care or face-to-face care with a doctor. Etismo allows patients to receive medical advice 24/7 regardless of location, and in many cases, to be treated remotely at home. The startup recently raised funding from the Finnish healthcare service company Terveystalo in exchange for 20% equity.
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