New worldwide drinking trend comes from Finnish forests

Birch_ForestLast year British media predicted birch sap, or birch water, to be the coconut water of 2015: a worldwide drinking trend. Finnish company Nordic Koivu was onto it before others; they’ve been exporting birch sap for over a decade.

When Arto and Susanna Maaranen started planning on a family, they wanted to move to the countryside. They were on the hunt for a place close to nature for their future children to grow up in, but also a source of livelihood.

”Whilst looking for a house we listed all possible business ideas for making a living in the country,” tells Susanna Maaranen.

The best idea was found in their very own garden. The newly-found house in Tohmajärvi, Finland was surrounded by a beautiful birch forest. Maaranens didn’t want to chop down the trees, and the thought of sap came to mind.

Now Nordic Koivu’s certifiably organic, free-of-additives and without preservatives, non-pasteurised sap is being drunk around the world. 97 percent of their production travels to Central Europe and Asia.

An idea that has won innovation awards

Arto and Susanna Maaranen moved to their birch-abundant house in 1996. At the time they owned a company called Aurinkolehto, but they were constantly gathering information about birch sap from experts in different fields all over the world.

Nordic Koivu aims at growth both at home and internationally. The company targets those European countries that yet remain untouched, and in Asia China, Japan, and South Korea. (Photo: Nordic Koivu)

The first version of the automated collection and production lines was installed in 1999; the first commercial products were sold two years later. In 2002 Aurinkolehdo was awarded the president’s InnoFinland award, and they have also been nominated for The Outstanding Young Farmer award.

Ten years ago the company gave up its other lines of work and focused only on birch sap production.

Sap has gained interest among the more and more health-aware consumers. According to Susanna Maaranen, birch sap has long been used to treat different health-related issues.

”There’s no scientific research on the health effects of birch sap, and we’re not even trying to claim it’s a medicine of any kind. It’s a healthy natural product,” Maaranen emphasises.

The Central European customers of Nordic Koivu recommend birch sap for body cleansing and weight control. In cosmetics birch sap has been said to help the renewal of skin cells.

From health stores to supermarkets

The first bottles of birch sap came from the trees near Maaranen family’s house. When the production was moved to a new premise, the sap was extracted from birch trees in areas rented from the municipality of Tohmajärvi. The production moved to new premises in 2012, and now the collection is done by subcontractors. Forest owners in Tohmajärvi area collect the sap using Nordic Koivu’s technology, whilst the owners focus on production, product development, and marketing.

2015 is, again, a year of change for Nordic Koivu. In the minds of some consumers, a glass bottle of organic birch sap might have seemed luxurious. Soon the company will launch a product with supermarkets in mind.

”The price of the new product is suitable for supermarkets. This way we’ll reach a whole new level of volume,” Maaranen says.

Unlike the bottled product, the new line will be packaged aseptically into cans. This means they will be pasteurised, then citric acid and, in the case of berry products, fructose will be added.

The new concept means new flavours, too. Birch sap will be accompanied by combinations of birch sap and wild blueberry and birch sap and wild lingonberry. Like birch sap, both berries come from Finland and are organic.

Short harvesting period requires forward planning

The sap is collected from trees using an automatic system. A truck takes the sap to the factory, where the bottling and packaging processes are automated as well. The harvesting period lasts, at best, only some weeks.

In order to extract sap, holes need to be drilled into the tree. According to Maaranen, this doesn’t damage the birch.

”The hole will leave a mark, and sometimes a small decay. The growth of the tree isn’t affected.”

It’s easy for the owners to supervise the productions, since everything is made in Finland and, as much as possible, locally. Only bottles and caps come from abroad.

Big markets ahead

With the new concept Nordic Koivu aims at growth both at home and internationally. The company targets those European countries that yet remain untouched, and in Asia for example China, Japan, and South Korea.

Sap has gained interest among the more and more health-aware consumers. According to Susanna Maaranen, birch sap has long been used to treat different health-related issues. (Photo: Timo Toivanen / Lehtikuva)

“I believe there’s room for significant growth in Asia. Australia and North America offer potential for our product too”, Maaranen says.

In the domestic market Nordic Koivu’s consumer products have been marginal until now. The growing selection of products is coming with the hopes of increasing the presence in Finland.

Growth means more work. Although the marriage is over, the Maaranens still work together, Susanna in sales and marketing and Arto in production and administration. Currently they have six employees year-round, but in the harvesting period 12 employees are needed for bottling alone. The new production concept will also lead to an increase in the number of staff.

Being Finnish plays an important role in Nordic Koivu’s international image. This is visible in the name of the company.

”We chose the word koivu (birch), because at least to our knowledge it doesn’t mean anything funny or strange in any language. It’s also easy to pronounce for a foreigner.”

Text: Anne Salomäki  
www.nordickoivu.com
Good News from Finland

Finnish health bracelet may revolutionise hospital patient care

Good News from Tue, 17 February, 2015:

© Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva  Medieta has launched a prototype of its medical health bracelet which measures a patient’s biosignals and predicts the risk of complications. It has been developed in cooperation with several hospitals and healthcare professionals.

While the bracelet is still under development, the promising prototype has already raised international interest. The final product will be launched in late 2015. (Photo: Creoir)Finnish biomedical startup Medieta has an ambitious goal: to reduce healthcare costs while optimising patient care and increasing efficiency. The key to this is the company’s unique medical health measurement bracelet ‘ErrS’.

 

“The company was born in 2012 out of medical frustration,” explains the CEO and Co-Founder of Medieta Jouni Ruoppa.

“Three ‘wise men’ [doctors] marched into my office. They were discouraged by the inefficiency of patient monitoring. Some surgery patients even passed away at night time because there wasn’t an efficient system for monitoring their biosignals.”

To answer this challenge an idea was born for an easy-to-use, wireless medical measurement bracelet to enable remote patient monitoring. Two years later the prototype bracelet is in test use in two university hospitals in Finland, and Medieta is getting ready to launch the final product in late 2015.

Fewer hospital days

The ErrS bracelet is equipped with GPS and measures several different biosignals, like blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation. The measurement data is transferred in real-time to Medieta’s cloud-based platform where the assigned doctor or a nurse can check the measurement data. They also get alerted if any anomalies or significant changes are detected in the patient’s vitals.

 While the bracelet is still under development, the promising prototype has already raised international interest. The final product will be launched in late 2015. (Photo: Creoir)

In addition to data gathering, the system analyses the collected data against Early Warning Score Tables, which are widely used in hospitals, and predicts the development of possible complications, such as cardiac arrest.

The remote monitoring makes it possible to discharge hospital patients earlier and reduces unnecessary hospital visits. This not only improves the patients’ wellbeing but also brings substantial cost savings when fewer hospital days are needed and resources can be allocated more efficiently.

Furthermore the data can be used to determine correct medication and treatment needs or in some cases even to see whether a patient has remembered to take their medication.

“We can increase the efficiency of a hospital by up to 40 percent. Patients can be safely transferred from intensive care or discharged earlier since there is a reliable way to remotely monitor their vitals,” says Ruoppa.

“We are the first in the world to have integrated the measurement of all main biosignals into one user-friendly and truly mobile device. It also looks like a consumer product and not like hospital equipment.”

Healthy future in sight

While the bracelet is still under development, the promising prototype has already raised international interest. In the UK pilot tests are scheduled to start in the next few months and similar discussions are currently under way in the US.

For now the US and the EU are the primary target markets for the company which employs around 30 people in its teams in Finland. In the US alone, missed critical warning signs and unnecessary visits to the doctor add over 130 billion dollars in annual costs to the healthcare system.

Medieta’s health bracelet alerts health care professional of anomalies in a patient’s vitals and predicts complications before they develop. It can be also used to determine correct medication and treatment needs. (Photo: Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva) Medieta’s health bracelet alerts health care professional of anomalies in a patient’s vitals and predicts complications before they develop. It can be also used to determine correct medication and treatment needs. (Photo: Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva)

“In total we are looking at a huge market. That will keep us busy. We have received lots of enquiries from China as well, but that time will come later,” says Ruoppa.

“I believe that in a few years time we will employ 200-300 people and have offices at least in the UK and the US, possibly also in Germany.”

While the bracelet is packed with features also suitable for fitness tracking, Medieta’s plans do not include expanding to the consumer market. Instead, the company envisions different versions of the bracelet which could be prescribed by doctors not only to existing patients but also to people belonging to high risk groups.

“Healthcare needs more automation and better abilities to intervene at an early stage. We want to start an evolution in healthcare similar to what happened in communication when we moved from landlines to mobile phones or from physical banks to internet banking,” says Ruoppa.

“Like some wise Chinese have said, hospitals should be only for the sickest of the sick. We can help to make that happen.”

Text: Eeva Haaramo
www.medieta.com
 

Swords to dinosaurs: Meet the Google of public procurement

Oppex The database of Oppex includes more than 3.5 million public sector tenders and more than a million are added every year. The company believes it is already the world’s largest source of tenders. The database of Oppex includes more than 3.5 million public sector tenders and more than a million are added every year. The company believes it is already the world’s largest source of tenders.

Sometimes it takes being boring to be successful. This is what Ville Heinonen and Mikko Lehmuskoski have found after co-founding Oppex, the “world’s largest source of public procurement notices”.

Public procurement is a totally boring area for a startup which is exactly why we thought there must be something great about it,” says Oppex CEO and Co-Founder Ville Heinonen with a laugh.

“Like that the public sector represents a $10,000 billion market globally.”

In practice, Oppex is a global search engine for public procurement tenders. It helps companies to find sales opportunities from both local and international government contracts. For example a user types in a search word related to their industry and the results show all relevant tenders from over 100 countries.

The service aggregates thousands of new public tenders daily and translates them to English from around 50 languages. This is exactly what gives Oppex a competitive edge compared to other similar services.

“There aren’t many other global services in this field, but what makes us unique is that no one else offers English translations of public tenders. With our service, companies can find any public tender, no matter what the original language is, explains Heinonen.

“Oppex suits especially small and medium-sized companies who don’t have the resources to go through public tenders in many different countries and languages.”

It seems the company has found the right approach. Despite only being launched publicly in November 2014 (after a few years of testing) the service already has thousands of business users from 120 countries.

International ambitions

Oppex has come a long way since 2009 when Heinonen and Lehmuskoski, who met 10 years earlier while studying together, started the company. The first iteration of the service was born three years ago – coded by Lehmuskoski himself.

“During the first month of using the service, one of the test users found four interesting tenders from Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. Four months later they had already closed one of the deals, worth 300,000 euros,” says Heinonen.

Remote work is a natural part of Oppex’s business culture as half of its employees live abroad. “We want to find the best people for us and that is more important than where they live,“ says Heinonen. (Photo: Oppex) Remote work is a natural part of Oppex’s business culture as half of its employees live abroad. “We want to find the best people for us and that is more important than where they live,“ says Heinonen. (Photo: Oppex)

“When we got similar feedback from other companies, we knew we wanted to take the service further.”

The duo quit their day jobs to become full time entrepreneurs. Now Oppex employs 10 people in its headquarters in Helsinki and abroad and is constantly looking for new talent, from coders to digital marketers.

“The next step for us is to speed up our internationalisation and marketing. Our aim is to be a globally well recognised company in our field within a few years,” Heinonen says.

These ambitions are spurred on by a 1.2 million euro seed funding from media company Alma Media, startup accelerator Veturi, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation Tekes, and seven angel investors.

Oppex’s first marketing pushes will be targeted at the UK and Germany as they have been successful test markets for the company. However, as the public procurement process is very similar all over the world, potentially there is no limit to where the company can go.

From dinosaurs to champagne

Oppex’s database currently includes more than 3.5 million public tenders and the company claims it’s already the world’s largest source of tenders. While traditional industries like healthcare and construction represent major areas of public procurement, the variety of tenders and business the company is seeing has taken Heinonen by surprise.

“Sometimes it takes me a few minutes to even understand what a company does,” he laughs.

“There are some amazing public tenders out there, it’s actually very interesting to go through them. We have seen everything from ceremonial swords and dinosaur playgrounds to champagne and caviar.”

Maybe public procurement is not so boring after all.

Text: Eeva Haaramo
www.oppex.com  
Good News from Finland

Dreams & Doors creates ecological sports fashion

 Alisha Hasan from Finland established a company in the UK that stands for luxury sports fashion and produces all of its garments ecologically.
Alisha Hasan from Finland established a company in the UK that stands for luxury sports fashion and produces all of its garments ecologically.

Two years ago, Alisha Hasan decided to realise her dream, which many thought was a tad grandiose. She established a fashion company named Dreams & Doors that manufactures ecological sportswear in the UK – and has decided to make it big.

The thought had been smouldering in her for years: active in tennis and rowing in her student years, she wanted clothes which would make a sporty woman look classic and chic. The existing markets failed to respond to her need to look elegant and feminine in sportswear.

“I want to offer people outfits that they can easily wear for a bike ride into town and for a drink after their sports session,” Hasan says.

First fabrics, then designs

The company is just in its infancy, but Hasan believes she is uncovering a gold mine. According to her, there are currently no other manufacturers using similar organic fabrics in their sportswear lines.

 “I want to offer people outfits that they can easily wear for a bike ride into town and for a drink after their sports session,” Alisha Hasan says. (Photo: Dreams & Doors) “I want to offer people outfits that they can easily wear for a bike ride into town and for a drink after their sports session,” Alisha Hasan says. (Photo: Dreams & Doors)

Hasan designs her ecological sportswear pieces herself. The fabrics are imported from India and Turkey, among other countries, and the garments are produced in the UK. Hasan wants to support companies specialising in sustainable development and small British textile factories.

“The fabrics are either herb-dyed, i.e. totally chemical-free, or OekoTex-certified, which means that the minor amounts of chemicals used in their manufacture do not cause any detrimental impacts on the environment,” Hasan explains.

Producing ecological garments is neither low-cost nor easy. Due to the availability of the materials, Hasan needs to proceed in a reverse order compared to traditional fashion labels: she buys the fabrics first and then creates her designs, and not the other way round.

Target group: high-end sports clubs

Hasan describes her customer as a sporty career person aged 20 to 35 with an active life and a playful style. They are also quality-conscious and care about their health and the environment. Dreams & Doors is a luxury brand which enjoys a large potential customer base at British sports clubs.

“Also creating a men’s collection right off the bat was a strategic move, because market opportunities are certainly not in short supply when it comes to men’s fashion,” says Hasan.

The first collection was launched last summer and the pre-sales of the spring/summer 2015 collection have been growing steadily among both customers and distributors. As of early summer, Hasan’s garments will be sold in London’s high-end Equinox fitness clubs, and the network of co-operation partners was further expanded at the Ethical Fashion Show held in Berlin in January.

“We had booked several meetings with local eco-fashion retailers during the fair. The purchaser of the German store Phasenreich and the founder of the Monagoo distribution channel visited the fair just so they could meet our team,” Hasan says.

Finnish roots and global dreams

Raised in Finland, Hasan completed her Master’s degree in economic science in London. She thinks of the UK as her second home and lives in London. Establishing a company in the UK was a natural choice, as the largest markets for her products can be found outside of Finland.

 The ecological and chemical-free fabrics used by Hasan are imported from India and Turkey, among other countries. (Photo: Dreams & Doors) The ecological and chemical-free fabrics used by Hasan are imported from India and Turkey, among other countries. (Photo: Dreams & Doors)

However, it is important for Hasan to let her Finnish roots and the Scandinavian aesthetics shine through in her designs: in her future collection she intends to use reindeer leather produced in Finland for its quality and unique characteristics.

Hasan also wishes to collaborate with Finnish designers. She has already signed an agreement with Mari Kasurinen, an artist and graphic designer known internationally for her My Little Pony designs.

“Mari will design a new dedicated character for D & D’s future collection which will be targeted especially at Japan and South Korea. We want to create a new kind of Finnish design identity, one that is more global and focussed on detail,” Hasan says.

“One of my favourite print designers is Klaus Haapaniemi, who created the Taika range for Iittala. Each of his pieces tells a story. I want to achieve the same expression in my garments, and I’m not likely to run out of stories and wild ideas anytime soon,” Hasan says, laughing.

Text: Mirja Vainio
www.dreamsanddoors.com
Good News From Finland

Seminário Cuidados domiciliários e cuidados paliativos: Organização, meios, custos, tendências

Hotel Sofitel – 25 de Fevereiro de 2015
Organizado pela Câmara de Comércio Luso-Belga -Luxemburguesa
Seminário Cuidados domiciliários e cuidados paliativos: Organização, meios, custos, tendências

Com a presença de:

– S.E. o Senhor Paul Schmit, Embaixador do Grão-Ducado do Luxemburgo
– S.E. o Senhor Bernard Pierre, Embaixador da Bélgica
Programa

09:00 – 09:30 Recepção
09:30 – 10:00 Abertura
Pedro Pinto, Presidente da Câmara de Comércio Luso-Belga-Luxemburguesa
Keynote Speaker
Representante da Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa
10:00 – 11:00 Saúde: os cuidados domiciliários
Moderador: Carlos Tomás, Presidente da Apegsaude
– Alain de Wever, ‘Situação na Bélgica: organização, meios, custos, tendências’ (EN)
– Representante da Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa
– Paula Caetano, Diretora Técnica – Humanize – Cuidados de Saúde Lda.
11:00 – 11:15 Debate
11:15 – 11:40 Coffee-break
11:40 – 13:00 Saúde: os cuidados paliativos
– Alain de Wever, ‘Situação na Bélgica: organização, meios, custos, tendências’ (EN)
– Orado a confirmar
12:00 – 13:00 Moderador: Carlos Tomás, Presidente da Apegsaude
Debate entre 4/5 oradores + (SCML+ médico + enfermeiro + psicólogo + advogado)
13:00 – 15:00 Almoço com intervenção de Sr. Dr. Santana Lopes, Provedor da Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa
Para mais informações, por favor contactar:
Câmara de Comércio Luso-Belga-Luxemburguesa
Tel.: (+351) 213.152.502/03 – Fax: (+351) 213.547.738
E-mail: info@cclbl.com – Web: www.cclbl.com

Team Finland em Portugal

Team Finland em Portugal

A rede Team Finland tem por objectivo a promoção da Finlândia no mundo: a internacionalização das empresas finlandesas, a captação de investimento internacional e o aperfeiçoamento de imagem da Finlândia. A rede reúne os actores e serviços em áreas de negócio diversificadas. O núcleo da rede é formado por organizações com fundos públicos como os ministérios, embaixadas, Finpro, Tekes, institutos da cultura e da ciência da Finlândia, Finnvera, Finnfund, bem como os serviços de internacionalização regionais.

A rede Team Finland presta apoio na internacionalização das empresas, no crescimento e na obtenção de sucesso a nível mundial. Mais informações sobre os serviços de internacionalização para as empresas em: palvelut.team.finland.fi.

Team Finland – pessoas de contato em Portugal

Coordenadora:
Primeira Secretária Elina Dakash
Tel. +351 213 933 040
Embaixada da Finlândia, Lisboa
elina.dakash[at]formin.fi

Presidente:
Embaixadora Outi Holopainen

Membros da Team Finland em Portugal

Os objectivos da rede Team Finland em Portugal

A economia portuguesa está numa fase de transição, cujo objectivo é o de corrigir os problemas estruturais, melhorar a produtividade, competitividade e melhorar a posição de financiamento do país. Apesar dos desafios da economia, algumas áreas apresentam boas possibilidades para novas empresas, sobretudo nas áreas das tecnologias do ambiente e energia, tecnologias de informação, serviços de bem-estar, turismo e tecnologias do mar.

A Team Finland apoia os esforços das empresas finlandesas na exportação e nos investimentos em Portugal, como também reforça a imagem da Finlândia sobretudo junto dos intervenientes especialistas na economia, investigação científica e ensino. A Embaixada disponibiliza informações sobre a Finlândia, através das suas páginas oficiais e perfil no Facebook, para além de distribuir material informativo impresso. A Team Finland presta especial atenção à diversificação e atualização dos artigos e notícias publicados em português.

A Team Finland junta de uma forma mais concentrada, os vários agentes ligados à Finlândia. A equipa da Finlândia, em Portugal, é composta pela Embaixada, Finpro Madrid e o Instituto Ibero-Americano da cultura, Câmara de Comércio Luso-Finlandesa e ocasionalmente, os Consulados Honorários nas suas áreas geográficas mais próximas. Em Portugal, a Team Finland é composta por:

Mais informações:

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© Embaixada da Finlândia, Lisboa | Informações sobre o serviço on-line | Contacto

Flockler makes content marketing more social

Good News from Tue, 27 January, 2015:

Screen capture / Flockler’s Youtube video  Finnish startup Flockler enables brands and publishers to create social magazines, applications and websites which combine editorial, curated and social content.
Finnish startup Flockler enables brands and publishers to create social magazines, applications and websites which combine editorial, curated and social content.

Today’s digital world challenges companies trying to reach and engage their users across a wide variety of social media channels. This is where the Finnish startup Flockler steps in.

Flockler was founded in early 2011 when the use of social media was growing rapidly. A pilot product helped media companies like The Times to build social news channels and from it the Flockler platform was born in 2013.

In short Flockler enables brands and publishers to create social magazines, applications and websites which combine editorial, curated and social content. A brand can engage its audience by allowing them to contribute content through any social media service they wish using a specific hashtag.

Today Flockler employs a total of 10 people in its offices in Tampere, Finland and London and has a roster of international customers, including one of the world’s largest publishing houses: Penguin Random House.

“We have been very customer oriented from the start. The best approach is to create and evolve with your customers and to be ready to throw away products which don’t work” says Toni Hopponen, CEO and Co-Founder of Flockler. “It’s not always easy to do when you have spent months building something, but it has helped us to build a product that really adds value to our customers.”

A powerful platform

The result is Flockler has matured into a feature packed, flexible platform that can be integrated to a company’s existing website or it can be used to build a completely new channel that works on any device from mobile phones to desktops.

 “We want to help our customers to make marketing more social, more engaging and easily measurable,” says Toni Hopponen CEO and Co-Founder of Flockler. (Photo:Flockler)

Flockler provides everything from custom design to email marketing and native mobile applications, all of which is built on top of analytics to give customers real time feedback on how well their services are performing.

“We want to help our customers to make marketing more social, more engaging and easily measurable”, explains Hopponen.“What separates us from publishing systems or social media curation tools is that we enable companies to build their own tailored social channel where they can produce and publish content under their own rules. With curation tools it’s not possible to combine your own content and social media content.”

In practice most companies build upon templates offered by Flockler. These can be setup in a few days and don’t require any special technical expertise. For more complex needs, bespoke solutions can be built in cooperation with Flockler or third parties using the company’s API.

From small to big screens

Flockler is also interested in expanding the reach of web content. The platform currently enables content to be viewed on large advertising displays and TV broadcasts.

A major Flockler customer here is Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle. It has been working with Flockler from day one and uses the platform to add social media content and monitoring to TV broadcasts. For example when broadcasting an ice hockey game, Yle can display real time or curated social media content on the same screen.

For Flockler this is only the start of how its platform could be used outside more traditional mobile and browser based solutions.

“We had one really interesting case in Finland last summer where [TV station] Nelonen and coffee company Paulig collaborated on TV advertising”, says Hopponen. “When Paulig’s ad was broadcast it used a live feed of Instagram photos from users applying a specific hashtag which changed every time the ad was shown. Our platform made that possible. It’s an interesting case of how web content can be used in a new context.”

Born international

Currently Flockler has roughly 70 long term clients and a number of customers who use the platform on a short term basis. Most are based in Finland and the UK, but expansion has begun with new recruitment in Tampere and London and new clients elsewhere in Europe and as far away as Australia.

“We didn’t have to make the decision to target international markets, that has always been built into the service. We are focusing on the European market for now but later we hope to expand to the other side of the Atlantic as well”, says Hopponen.

“Our long term goal is to ease the work of marketers and journalists. Key to this is enabling a kind of ‘360 degree publishing’ where the same content can be shown everywhere from big screens and ad breaks to a company’s own web site”, Hopponen concludes.

Good News fro Finland
Text: Eeva Haaramo
www.flockler.com

Mendor helps patients manage diabete

AcMendor_commercial_man_smallAccording to the World Health Organization, 347 million people worldwide have diabetes and the numbers are growing. Finnish company Mendor developed a compact glucose meter which checks blood sugar level in seconds.

Compact, quick, easy to use, discreet. These are just some of the words diabetes patients typically use to describe the glucose meter produced by Finnish company Mendor. Gone are the days of carrying a bag of separate components to check blood sugar level.

Mendor was founded in 2006 by five individuals from different universities in Helsinki. After participating in a national business plan competition, the team started product development.

One of the founders was a type 1 diabetic, adding an extra incentive to come up with a new type of discreet and portable meter.

The result was the Mendor Discreet, an all-in-one design with meter, the lancing device and a cartridge of 25 test strips all part of one small box, about the size of an iphone.

“It’s about 20 seconds from pocket to pocket,” says co-founder Tuomas Planman. “And it’s not just the speed but the convenience and comfort when you need to test yourself on the move.”

Early challenges

The software, which accompanies the device, is another important feature. The Mendor Balance puts all your glucose measurements in the cloud, allowing easy sharing of data with doctors.

The Mendor Discreet meter was launched at the start of 2011. The company, which now employs 27 people and had sales of 4.3 million euros in 2013, has sold over 150,000 devices.

Although the company is now on a successful trajectory, the ride was not always smooth. In October 2010, in particular, bankruptcy loomed.

The founders recall a few sleepless nights before they managed to convince existing investors and new ones to keep them going.

The result has been three financing rounds since then of 8.1 million euros in the summer of 2011, 4.7 million euros in January 2014 and a further 6.5 million euros last July.

Distribution deals

The company has just launched a 3G enabled meter, Mendor Smart, and expanded rapidly in European markets and China with the US market on the cards.

“We imagined that once we had developed a prototype and got the first patent application, that we were almost done,” recalls Planman.

“In fact, once you reach those goals, you have to move up a division and actually make the product. The challenge is that you have very limited resources at the beginning to make the device and build up the company.”

Good News from Finland
Text: Vincent Landon 
www.mendor.com

Candidatura aos Incentivos à Qualificação e Internacionalização das PME

CCIP Portugal 2020A Câmara de Comércio e Indústria Portuguesa, no âmbito do Programa Portugal 2020, vai apresentar uma candidatura ao primeiro concurso aberto – Nº 01/2014 – Incentivos à Qualificação e Internacionalização das PME, com o intuito de apoiar a internacionalização das empresas portuguesas num conjunto de mercados estratégicos.

Este concurso é especificamente dirigido a PME e a associações empresariais, que agreguem no projecto um mínimo de 10 PME com localização nas regiões NUTS II: Norte, Centro e Alentejo.

Para o efeito, em parceria com a empresa WLP concebeu um projecto integrado de promoção e marketing internacional que visa facilitar o acesso a novos mercados para as empresas portuguesas denominado – “Portugal Business on the Road” – Missões empresariais 2015/2016, que contempla os seguintes mercados: África do Sul; Brasil; EUA; Índia; México e Polónia.

Estando certos de que esta iniciativa vai ao encontro das necessidades do tecido empresarial português e tendo em conta a natureza dos beneficiários deste primeiro concurso, gostaríamos de convidar as empresas interessadas a integrar o núcleo de fundadores e promotores deste projecto conjunto.

Perante a exiguidade de tempo disponibilizado para a apresentação das candidaturas, as empresas interessadas em integrar este projecto e em obter mais informações sobre esta iniciativa deverão contactar até ao próximo dia 30 de Janeiro.

João Oliveira e Silva
internacional@ccip.pt