Illustration of Nokia phones and speech bubbles
Startups founded by Nokia alumni are making a name for themselves on the international scene. Image: Julia Bushueva
ICT/Technology

FIVE FROM FINLAND: Nokia alumni

Nokia’s deep roots in Finland are the foundation of many success stories. We take a look at a handful of companies which emerged after their founders left the telecom giant.

Jonathan Öller

31.05.2021

At its peak, Nokia was the epitome of Finland’s economic success and innovative spirit. After a well-documented decline resulted in considerable downsizing of staff earlier this century, the culture that had fostered groundbreaking technologies began to spawn numerous very promising startups.

Check out these five firms founded by ex-Nokians.

Casambi

A mobile phone operating the Casambi app

Casambi’s smart lighting system lets users control lights and create programmable lighting environments through a mobile app. Image: Casambi

This company aims to brighten up the future with lights that can be adjusted to increase alertness and wellbeing. The solution offers users the possibility to adjust illumination according to their individual preferences and requirements.

“Lighting has traditionally been kind of accidental,” CEO Timo Pakkala told us. “It is always a bit too bright or dark with limited controls. But today, tunable lighting makes it possible to mimic natural light and even change colour temperature based on the weather outside or what someone is doing. We call it lighting that fits the purpose.”

The technology relies on Bluetooth and a wireless mesh network that together with an easy-to-use app and an intuitive interface make for a user-friendly solution.

Kindfull

A trio of Huoleti employees

The Kindfull mobile app fosters peer support for people with health and life challenges, and their loved ones. Image: Huoleti

The original name of this app was Huoleti, which means “worry-free” in Finnish. This in an apt description of its goal: creating supportive peer networks both for people who have encountered health issues and other life hurdles, and for their loved ones.

Kindfull enables people, their friends and their family to stay connected, supported and informed together.

“I believe communal services are on the rise, which will have a wider effect on the society,” founder Carita Savin said back when the app was in its trial phase. “At the moment people are diverging from one another, but technology has the potential to bring us back together with peer networks.”

QuietOn

QuietOn earplugs

QuietOn earplugs boost one’s wellbeing by reducing stress brought upon by continuous background noise. Image: QuietOn

It is not a well-kept secret that our morning readiness depends heavily on how well we slept the night before. The founders of QuiteOn have come to the rescue for light sleepers – now it’s time to get some undisturbed shut-eye with noise cancelling earbuds!

The earbuds effectively block out all noise but have been engineered to especially shut out low frequencies, such as snoring. So far, the technology has been received with well-rested, open arms.

“Our feedback has been magical,” COB Janne Kyllönen rejoiced in 2018. “The product has the potential to change people’s lives. Its ability to minimise the irritation caused by snoring has already saved some marriages.”

Team Action Zone

People looking at smartphones

Tampere-based Team Action Zone developed a digital team game – and then realised it could help everyone else create their own, too. Image: iStock

As its name suggests, this company has set out to boost teamwork with the help of technology. With the ActionTrack solution, users can design, create and gamify indoor and outdoor experiences anywhere.

At its core, Team Action Zone is about boosting synergy between employees and getting people moving.

“We want to offer something that can increase the sense of community and help people exercise,” CEO Kari Laurila said. “This is our contribution to better health, fun learning and encouraging creativity.”

Disior

Healthcare professional pointing to tablet screen

Disior has developed software to analyse and model bone fractures and soft tissue. Image: Disior

The good people at Disior want to give bone fractures a taste of their own medicine by supporting the decision-making of doctors with the help of numerical data.

The software turns medical images into figures and statistics that aid the diagnosis and treatment planning of bone fractures and soft-tissue damage.

“Currently this type of analysis is largely manual, which means that decisions about treatment can be highly subjective,” explained Disior CEO Anna-Maria Henell. “Our software provides data that is accurate, objective and comparable.”

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