Editorial note: This post is part of a series of posts in collaboration with Lappeenranta University of Technology to promote their expertise and tools in commercialising research based innovations.
We've covered a few very successful Finnish companies on ArcticStartup, which are actually spinoffs from the University of Lappeenranta. Companies such as The Switch and Severa (sold to Visma in 2010) are concrete and great examples of the kinds of results the commercialisation of research based innovation can churn out from the university.
Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) has been combining business and technology for more than 40 years. In addition to simply studying and researching business related challenges, the university has made a strategic decision in building up sustainable processes that are able to create high growth companies. Actually, one of the three strategic corner stones is to commercialise research based innovation and through that, create new high growth startups.
Norwegian enterprise feedback management company QuestBack has just announced that they have acquired the Finnish SaaS company Digium Oy. Digium is perhaps the most well known company in this sector in Finland has proven that in their financials as well. In the financial year ending 2009, they turned over about 4 million euros while making over 650k€ in profit. In 2005 they made just about a million in revenue. The new company expects to tally a combined turnover of more than 22 MEUR for 2010. This makes it the largest player in the EFM industry in Europe.
QuestBack has been on a shopping spree lately. They have acquired Easyresearch AB from Sweden and Refleks AS from Norway. Both companies have been integrated fully to QuestBack's operations and thus adding to their turnover in a successful manner.
Visma, a supplier of different efficiency increasing solutions in the Nordics, has acquired the Finnish CRM and project management services company Severa Oyj. Severa has been a rising star in the Finnish software scene in the recent years with its SaaS-type service for companies. Last year, Severa made around 225 000 euros in profit with almost 1.8 million euro turnover. In 2005 their turnover was just under 200 000 euros. With growth like this, it is bound to arise interest in larger companies in the sector.
We've partnered with Deloitte this year to promote their Technology Fast 50 program here in Finland. Every year, Deloitte organises a competition to find and promote the fastest growing technology companies. In 2009, Finland's winner was Endero, who had grown 3277% over the last 5 years.
Thank you everyone who made it to ArcticEvening Helsinki last night. The evening was a great success and a special thank you for that goes out to the panelists David O'Weger who covered for Ari-Pekka Salovaara from Severa, Michael Falck from Relex as well as Mikko Kaarela from Technopolis Ventures as well as our sponsors for making the event possible in the first place.
We'll be continuing our tour of the ArcticEvenings around the Nordics and Baltics with our next event being held in Helsinki, Finland. Our event will be themed software growth businesses. We'll be hosting a fabolous panel for you on the 27th of October. It will have some young, but extremely successful local startups from the software sector.
Severa is a Finnish "startup" that focuses on creating one SaaS-solution to managing company's billing, project management and sales. They have just released a new version of the service - Severa3. I have to admit, looking at their website and statistics - they are doing very well. Severa was founded in 2004 and has grown a staggering 1304% over the last four years.
According to Inoa, their 2007 revenue was around 790k euros with a 121k operating profit. Other stats on their site are also pretty impressive - they help manage 130 000 projects, around 42 000 invoices and 10 million hours of work. Their business model is also relatively inexpensive - 30 euros per user per month and the first person to sign up gets the service for free. I have to disclose, that this is not a paid blog post by Severa, but I seldom am this fascinated by management tools!
Red Herring publishes finalists for Europe 100 list, suspected tax frauds and financial obscurity in the background
Several Finnish companies have been included as finalists for the 2008 Europe 100 list of the of most promising ventures Red Herring is once again publishing. The companies are Aito Technologies, Floobs, Muxlim, nCore, Severa, Whatamap.com, Widisys, and Valimo Wireless. The winners will be declared at Red Herring Europe 2008 event in Malta on April 14-16th.
While the nomination gives good visibility to the companies, it's worth a note, though, before going boasting around that the reputation Red Herring has is not that good everywhere. There's a whole lot of suspected monkey business going on related to the company. According to rumors (see ValleyWag's posts for example), Red Herring’s CEO and Chairman, Alex Vieux, doesn't pay his bills (nor employees' salaries). In addition, he's got the U.S. tax officials of IRS on his back, suspected of having $2 million in unpaid payroll taxes according to ex-employees. Mr. Vieux has also been said to to have fled French and Swiss police also interested to investigate possible unpaid taxes. A good sign is neither that Red Herring has lost quite a many board members over the last couple of years.
Although not all the rumors may be true, it nevertheless seems the company is in trouble and it's unsure if it's able to turn its course. As a takeaway it's good to enjoy the publicity the nomination brings, but at the same time it's worthwhile to assess what kind of association to have with Red Herring in particular and keep one's ears open.