Technological nuggets from Finland

Being in position of Startup gives an opportunity to ask for things that you don’t have, such as money, connections and of course expertise. But when Startup tries itself in the role of giver — things start to change. Suddenly you find yourself on the other side, starting to understand things that you couldn’t understand before. For example, you understand why your startup hasn’t been  selected in some accelerator competition two years ago and say to yourself: “Wow! This is so obvious! now.” Together with the enlightenment you feel more powerful when supporting others. You feel that you’re supporting new wave of change that will surely be bigger than ours. By supporting others you feel yourself as a part of something big and important — it’s called ecosystem.

This Tuesday I took the last train from Helsinki to Joensuu. Joensuu is a rapidly developing city on the east of Finland that embraces two big universities of the country University of Eastern Finland and Karelia University of Applied Sciences. Those two giants are the main initiators and sponsors of Draft — microfunding program for startup ideas. I’ve already described Draft program and how it works in my previous post. The reason for me going to Joensuu was Draft selection day. As CONNAX became on of the sponsors of Draft supporting Best IoT idea competition, I got my place in the jury.

For final screening moderators have selected 12 ideas mature enough for pitching. Each speaker had 7 minutes to present the idea and 10 minutes for questions from jury. So even having 12 ideas to evaluate we spend half of day for listening, asking questions and making decisions. It was intense as for the jury as for the speakers, each and every case was carefully evaluated by the experts asking all sorts of tricky questions.

Seeing a lot of Startups in my life, I should say that I never stop to wonder how many good ideas you can find in small town located in dense Finnish woods! From 12 ideas that I’ve seen there were 3 ideas that amazed me:

  1. Photogrammetric 3D scanning for drone vision presented by Toivo Ylinampa;
  2. Anthropomorphic omnicopter bird robot presented by Joel Jaaskelainen;
  3. Miun Saa — modular beacon system presented by Miika Kostian;

Just think about it — 3 ideas out of 12 it’s an amazing 25% ratio!

The hardest part for me was to select the winner of CONNAX best IoT startup idea competition. All three ideas were strong contenders for receiving the prize. In the end of the day I decided to select the idea that we can help the most with our resources and expertise: Photogrammetric 3D scanning for drone vision — NampaWorks!

Toivo Ylinampa, founder of NampaWorks explained his idea in foolowing way:

“Imaging with drone is limited: 2d images are not applicable for AR/VR, moreover 3d imaging systems are expensive and complicated to use. Meanwhile drone market is growing rapidly, with all its applications. Drones are now used almost anywhere from construction sites to insurance claims. That is why there should be affordable and fast 3D image scanning and processing software, available for different applications.”

Toivo have been working on his unique software setup for more than 2 years and got amazing results. Now he wants to share these results with the much wich wider audience, by making it accessible via simple web service.

From now on CONNAX is supporting Toivo and his venture in fundraising, business offer, technology and getting good server for faster image processing. Eventually we expect to get widely accessible service for creating 3D models from 2D images. Stay tuned! There’s much more to come!

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