10 exciting start-ups from Espoo to watch

22 Nov 2018

The city of Espoo. Image: © xan844/Stock.adobe.com

The southern Finnish city of Espoo just oozes with innovation, with a heritage that includes global mobile brands, apps and a lot more.

The second largest city in Finland and located just west of the country’s capital city of Helsinki, Espoo boasts a thriving tech and science community.

It has developed from a rural community into a fully fledged industrial city during the course of the 20th century.

As well as the renowned Aalto University, Espoo is globally recognised as being home to the headquarters of telecoms equipment giant Nokia and cult video games developer Remedy Entertainment.

The city’s traditional stamp on the mobile phone world is being maintained by HMD Global, which continues to sell Nokia devices worldwide, as well as Rovio, creator of the Angry Birds game franchise, and a slew of new and emerging start-ups.

Here are the start-ups from Espoo to watch in the year ahead.


Coachilla is a platform that helps professionals find and meet verified career coaches via video calls to achieve meaningful careers. The company was founded in 2016 by Niklas Kinnunen, Marko Malinen and Eeppi Nieminen.


Funzi is a mobile learning service that makes delivering learning to large target groups easy and effective. Founded by Tero Salonen, Aape Pohjavirta and Miemo Penttinen, Funzi’s services develop new skills and empower co-creation and collaboration between mobile users and experts. Founded in 2014, it has raised €500,000 in seed funding.


Enevo is a technology-driven progressive waste management company, saving clients money and saving the planet, all at once. Its sensor and analytic software provides transparency and insights to enable better management. Founded by Fredrik Kekalainen and Johan Engstrom, Enevo has raised $55.4m from investors including Foxconn Technology, Lifeline Ventures, Ginko Ventures and Mistletoe.


Dispelix creates see-through, near-to-the-eye displays that are core to smart glasses products. Led by CEO Antii Sunnari, the eyewear company has raised €13.7m in funding from backers that include Tesi, 3M New Ventures, Lifeline Ventures and VTT Ventures, with a €12m Series A round secured in recent weeks.


Iceye provides access to timely and reliable radar satellite imaging for a variety of industries. Its platform is primarily used by individuals within government and businesses, which are solving some of the hardest problems the world faces today. Iceye was founded by Rafal Modrzewski and Pekka Laurila, and has raised $53.8m in funding from investors that include True Ventures, Seraphim Capital and Draper Nexus Ventures.


MariaDB is behind one of the fastest-growing open source databases in the world. It delivers the same core requirements as core databases but at a fraction of the cost. It is used by organisations from Reuters to Intel and Red Hat. Led by CEO Michael Howard, MariaDB has raised more than $98m in funding to date from investors that include the European Investment Bank, Alibaba and ServiceNow.


Popit has developed a smart device that assists people with managing their pill dosages. On a mission to digitise medicine, Popit was founded in 2016 by Janne Sahlman, Marko Nirhola, Teemu Piirainen and Timo Heikkilä. The company raised €1.2m in a seed round last year from Butterfly Ventures, Tekes, and Amor & Labor Oy.

Verto Analytics

Verto Analytics is the creator of a consumer-centric measurement solution for monitoring consumers’ behaviour on every device, app and platform they use throughout the day. Founded in 2014 by Dr Hannu Verkasalo, Verto also has offices in New York. It has raised $37.3m to date from investors that include Conor Venture Partners, Tesi and OpenOcean, with $13.4m raised in a Series C round in July this year.


Wellmo is a mobile health platform for insurance providers and care providers to build smartphone-based services. Founded by Sampo Juustila and Jaako Olkkonen, Wellmo raised €1.3m from private and institutional investors last year, bringing its total funding to date to €3.5m.


Zervant provides an online invoicing platform for small businesses and freelancers. It is currently used by more than 20,000 businesses across Europe, mainly due to EU directives that make e-invoicing the primary form of invoicing. Founded by Mattias Hansson and Tuukka Koshien, Zervant recently raised €6m in a round led by Finnish VC firm Tesi with participation from Northzone, NFT Ventures and Conor Venture Partners, bringing total funding to €13.6m.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years