FinNode kicked off in Silicon Valley
FinNode celebrated its inauguration in Silicon Valley on Wednesday, 24 January. The innovation centre will foster closer cooperation between Finnish innovation actors in the USA.
A joint effort of Finpro, Sitra, the Academy of Finland, Tekes, and VTT, the
FinNode innovation centre in Silicon Valley invited the region’s key decision
makers in research, corporate and financing worlds to its new premises.
“Silicon Valley is one of the world’s major innovation clusters. FinNode’s most important task is to create and maintain the right contacts and cooperation networks. Our job is to put our Finnish clients – companies and researchers – in touch with the most useful American partners, and vice versa. From the client’s perspective, it is a major improvement that all our services can be found under one roof,” says Pekka Pärnänen, Director, FinNode, who is also Head of Trade Center, Finpro Silicon Valley.
FinNode’s premises also house a business accelerator owned by VTT and Technopolis Ventures, INBAC, which helps accelerate the entry of Finnish growth companies into the US market.
Repute and markets for Finnish mobile innovations
The winners of the Web-2-Mobile competition, launched in October, were also presented at the FinNode opening. The competition sought new technologies and services for mobile devices. The finalists presented their innovations to a panel of judges comprising top experts and financiers in the branch, including representatives of FinNode, Nokia, Yahoo, Red Herring and Silicon Valley investors.
The three winners in the competition were Mobile Backstage from Finland, N2N Consulting from Singapore and SMS Card from the UK. The top three entries are invited to develop their product in Nokia’s product development labs.
The final originally included two Finnish companies, Geniem and Mobile Backstage, which both develop client-based mobile applications. In the final, however, the companies presented a joint mobile service concept.
“By joining forces, we were able to offer a more complete overall solution. Mobile Backstage has a new, interesting business concept and we have developed a brand new technology, which will first be piloted by Mobile Backstage,” says Tuomas Kumpula, CEO and Co-Founder of Geniem.
“The Web-2-Mobile competition offers new companies, such as Mobile Backstage, vital contacts in the US market, a channel to potential customers and investors. Victory in the competition will most probably create new business opportunities for us. The USA is the centre of the global entertainment industry, which makes it our most important target market by far,” says Samuli Saarela of Mobile Backstage about the significance of the competition.
FinNode’s objective is to accelerate the entry of Finnish companies into the US market, to augment the mobility of researchers and research cooperation between Finland and the USA, and to add to the attraction of Finland as a target for investment and as a place to establish a business. The innovation centre was established by Finpro, Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, the Academy of Finland, Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. FinNode is Finland’s second internationally based innovation centre. The first one, the FinChi innovation centre, was established in Shanghai, China, in 2005. Finnish innovation centres are also being planned for St Petersburg and Tokyo.