August 12, 2014

Russian startup Taist expands to Helsinki

Taist has only launched its operations in Helsinki but sees Finland as a springboard to other Western markets.
Taist has only launched its operations in Helsinki but sees Finland as a springboard to other Western markets.
Riitta Supperi / Keksi / Team Finland

The reputation of Helsinki as the startup capital of Northern Europe hasn’t gone unnoticed in Russia. Moscow-based startup Taist is opening an office in Helsinki to access the Finnish cloud software market and to prepare for international expansion.

Taist offers cloud software vendors a service to open up their software to third parties to build applications. This added level of customisation enables the software to better suit individual customer needs.

”Think of the iPhone. When it was first introduced, it didn’t offer any external apps. Apple later opened up the app store for third party developers to create apps to meet the needs of different users. We offer a similar solution to cloud software vendors who can turn their products into extendable platforms,” describes Anton Belousov, founder of Taist.

Helsinki is seen as a gateway to wider European markets and the US for the Russian companies.

Helsinki is seen as a gateway to wider European markets and the US for the Russian companies.

Riitta Supperi / Keksi / Team Finland

Taist’s service will allow third parties to expand the vendor’s software to meet the specific needs of different customers, without the vendor having to spend money and time to customise the software.

The mature market of cloud software vendors and the level of software expertise attracted Taist to Helsinki, where its operations began in June. Helsinki is also seen as a gateway to wider European markets and the US for the Russian companies.

”There is more demand for our service here than in Russia where the market is still young. I was surprised how easy it is to get access to top level management in Helsinki. That wouldn’t be possible in Russia. The first customer negotiations have already started,” says Belousov.

Next step: growth from Finland

Founded in 2013, Taist has largely been a one man project. Belousov is now looking for developers in Moscow while the business operations of the company will be run from Helsinki.

”My plan is to focus on growing the office in Helsinki and during the next two years hire both developers and business people here. I hope to build a big, successful company, ”Belousov explains.

At the moment the early developer version of Taist is used by 50 companies in Russia and Belousov says the first pilot project with a major cloud software vendor is underway. Once the pilot has been completed Taist will focus on further developing its service for internationalisation with Finnish customers.

These plans are supported by Helsinki Ventures, an accelerator and early stage investor, whose startup programme convinced Belousov to come to Helsinki in the first place. The accelerator sees great value in attracting foreign startups to Finland.

Taist offers cloud software vendors a service to open up their software to third parties to build applications.

Taist offers cloud software vendors a service to open up their software to third parties to build applications.

Taist

”Successful startups coming from Finland, like Rovio and Supercell, don’t just employ and help the economy locally. They also help to build Finland into an attractive and well-known startup centre, ” explains Saku Everi, partner and chairman at Helsinki Ventures.

Taist might be a small player now but in targeting the global multi-billion market of cloud services, the potential is virtually limitless. First Taist will focus on Finland and then build international operations starting from other Nordic countries and the Baltics.

”My aim is to build a service that is used by the whole cloud industry globally. At the moment we are targeting mature cloud software vendors but in the future I want to see all new vendors using Taist from the start,” Belousov adds.

Text: Eeva Haaramo

Editor’s note: This article is published in cooperation with Helsinki Business Hub and Invest in Finland.

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