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Dynamics in Gothenburg Attracting Finnish Companies

Their innovations have received a great deal of attention from Swedish companies, financiers and networks. They admire the dynamics, mentality and networking. We take a closer look at three Finnish companies that are now setting up shop in Gothenburg.

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petronella

Petronella Posti, Scandinavia Manager for consultancy firm Solita, which helps companies to become more data driven.

Solita opened an office in Gothenburg at the beginning of the year. Why?
We have operated in Stockholm since 2017 and quickly gained Assa Abloy and Scania as major customers. But we recognise a different kind of data maturity and interest in our services in Gothenburg. The dynamics here are different – there is much happening regarding data, cloud computing, and machine learning, and there are companies here with considerable expertise. We are a culture-driven company and cherish our values, so we don’t usually establish ourselves according to a specific strategy, but if we feel that it works in terms of our values then we go for it. This is probably our greatest success factor and we’ve been around for 23 years so it seems to be working.

What did the process entail?
We actually already had a customer in Gothenburg and initially used those contacts to build networks, to research the market, and to determine how our agile and autonomous way of working would fit into the consulting world here. We also came into contact with Business Region Göteborg through Business Tampere – our head office is in Tampere. They have truly been welcoming and proactive; they booked meetings and on the whole have shown to be just as dynamic as the rest of Gothenburg. And this is also another huge advantage that Gothenburg has: the size of the city is workable, which makes networking so much easier.

What are your goals?
Sweden is our most important growth market at present and we are aiming to have 25 employees in the Gothenburg office by the end of the year. At the moment we are situated on Avenyn boulevard, but we are looking on taking the next step shortly: Lindholmen is a real possibility but it’s proving difficult to find premises.

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Elina Peltola, sales manager at TactoTek

Elina Peltola, Sales Manager at TactoTek, which supplies licensed technologies for smart 3D surfaces: Injected Molded Structural Electronics (IMSE)
What does TactoTek do?

We are a global growth company that issues licences for the manufacture of electronics that undergo injection moulding into millimetre-thin three-dimensional surfaces. We have been operating since 2011 but the automotive industry was not our main market initially. Vehicle manufacturers discovered our company and realised that our technology will be necessary in vehicles of the future. We are now planning to expand further in the automotive industry as well as other industries.

You have recently started working with Geely and CEVT. How did that happen?
Business Finland and, in particular, Business Oulu have arranged network meetings with Gothenburg companies. My colleague attended a Business Region Gothenburg event a year ago – and things moved quickly after that! We now have twofold collaboration with Geely and CEVT: one part involves jointly developing ideas for future cars in innovative workshops, while the other part involves building demos that will hopefully lead to production in the future. Our head office is in Finland, but we inaugurated an office in Germany last year and it’s very possible that we will do the same in Gothenburg.

How important is the collaboration?
“Very important. And it’s great that all the TactoTek employees involved find collaborating with Gothenburg companies so simple and effortless. I think it’s because we have the same type of mentality. Swedish companies are open and non-hierarchical, especially when compared to Germany or the US, for instance. You could say that it’s straightforward both when it comes to laws and regulations and in professional interrelationships. We are speaking to other Swedish companies as well. When I look at the participant list today, I see several people and companies who I would like to speak with about collaborating on complete solutions and other things.”

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Forciot som tillverkar printed stretchable electronics för IoT.

Pekka Iso-Ketola, Senior Researcher and Tytti Julkunen, Market and Business Manager at Forciot which manufactures printed stretchable electronics for IoT.

What does Forciot do?
Our technology can be integrated with, for example, different materials in vehicle interiors to be used as sensors. It can also be integrated with different products and equipment to measure power, weight, balance, and pressure. The company is based on research from Tampere University of Technology, and has been in business for just over three years. We attended a conference two years ago where we got an opportunity to present ourselves to Volvo Cars Tech Fund, and they were very impressed.

What did it lead to?
After several meetings and discussions, it was decided that Volvo Cars Tech Fund, together with a German company, will invest 4 million euro in Forciot. This is one of the largest investments ever in the Tampere region, and it affords us an opportunity to scale up and grow.

What does Gothenburg mean to Forciot?
We have been highly interested in the ecosystem in Gothenburg for a while. In large part due to Volvo, but also because of other OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers. Business Finland helped us to make the right contacts. We have established relationships in several different ways, including by being out in the field and meeting people at events like this. This is the second year we are attending. We are taking the chance to present ourselves, gain some insight into what others are doing as well as direct input regarding what the market needs, and even to get some new ideas about what our technology can be used for. Something we truly appreciate in these types of situation is openness. It’s not about competing, instead it’s about cooperating and networking in order to increase awareness and to help drive development forwards.

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About the companies
Solita

Founded: 1996 in Tampere.
Focus: Works with digital transformation – strategic consulting, service design, digital development, data, AI, digital analysis and maintenance of cloud services. 
Employees: 750 in Finland (head office in Tampere), Sweden, Germany and Estonia.
Turnover: EUR 91 million in 2018.
Operations in Sweden: Solita has operated in Stockholm since 2017 and is now opening an office in Gothenburg. Sees Sweden as its main growth market and aims to have 25 employees in Gothenburg by year-end.

Forciot
Founded: 2015 in Tampere.
Focus: Develops advanced IoT solutions in the form of printed stretchable electronics that can be integrated with products and equipment, such as vehicle interiors, to measure and report power, weight, balance and pressure.
Employees: 20.
Turnover: EUR 1 million in 2018.
Operations in Sweden: It was recently officially announced that Volvo Cars Tech Fund and German Hereaus Holding GmbH will jointly invest EUR 4 million into Forciot. The company says that this funding will enable the scale up of operations and will support global sales, marketing, and technology development.

TactoTek
Founded: 2011 in Oulu.
Focus: Injection Molded Structural Electronics (IMSE), which are 3D moulded electronics that can be integrated with vehicle interiors.
Employees: 85 in Finland, the US and Germany.
Operations in Sweden: The company has signed a framework agreement and initiated a joint project with Geely Design and CEVT to develop smart surfaces for vehicle interiors. 

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