August 13, 2020
DAILY BRIEF: Virtual reality, big orders from Japan, vodka, healthtech and a new startup hub
Varjo's 'human eye resolution' VR headsets are used to train astronauts.
All the daily Finnish business news that works: Varjo, XR Nation, MacGregor, Altia, Nexstim and Turku Science Park make headlines.
Varjo secures substantial funding, XR Nation grows out of Finland, MacGregor wins hardware orders in Japan, Altia extends its production deal for Finlandia Vodka, Nexstim sells medical technology in the US, and Turku Science Park collaborates on a new startup accelerator.
Varjo, a Finnish developer of virtual and mixed-reality technologies for enterprises, has raised 54 million US dollars in Series C funding. The company has become a pioneer in the field having developed virtual and mixed-reality headsets with human-eye resolution that are used by the likes of Volvo Cars, Boeing, Audi and Siemens to conduct immersive astronaut and pilot training, design cars, and develop new products. Varjo also announced the appointment of Timo Toikkanen as its new CEO, while co-founder and previous CEO, Niko Eiden, will drive technological innovation as chief experience officer.
MacGregor, part of Cargotec, has received two orders in Japan to supply full hardware including ramps and lifting platforms for two roll-on, roll-off passenger vessels and two material supply vessels. The orders are worth 18 million euros, and the deliveries are planned to commence during the first quarter of 2022 and to be completed a year later. MacGregor is an expert in intelligent maritime cargo and load handling, with a strong portfolio of products, services and solutions.
Finnish state-owned alcoholic beverage company Altia has prolonged its global production agreement with Brown-Forman for Finlandia Vodka. Altia sold the brand, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, to Brown-Forman in 2000. The agreement will run until 2035 and see Altia continue the production of grain spirit for the vodka at its distillery, as well as take care of the production, packaging and logistics at its beverage plant. Sustainable production is key to the collaboration, with Altia’s distillery having almost a full recycling rate and its own biopower plant.
XR Nation ecosystem grows rapidly out of Finland
XR Nation’s Extended Reality community has expanded to 22 companies and one cluster in the Nordic and Baltic regions only months after its official foundation in March 2020. The rapid growth has made XR Nation a serious operator on the scene. The idea for the community was born after founders Joh Orengo and Teemu Ollilainen noticed that brands have a great deal of interest in mixed-reality (XR) technologies but don’t necessarily know how to utilise them or find suitable creative partners. XR Nation also functions as an internal market where products and services can flow more freely between XR and related companies in the fast-developing field.
XR Nation / Twitter
Finnish medical technology company Nexstim has sold a navigated brain therapy (NBT) system to BrainStim Centers in the US. The system utilises Nexstim’s SmartFocus non-invasive brain stimulation technology for treatment of brain diseases and disorders. The system was bought after a successful pilot period and will be used to treat depression at a new private clinic located near Los Angeles in Valencia, California.
A Finnish-Swedish-Estonian startup accelerator, Northbound Startups, has begun operations and a search for globally focused startups. Read on by clicking the headline.
Turku Business Region
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