Top-11 Artificial Intelligence Startups in Finland
While Mongolia may be the most sparsely populated independent country in the world, in the European Union that claim goes to Finland. With just 5.5 million people (that’s about the same population as the cities of Houston and Chicago put together, just without that whole deadly crime thing) Finland has many claims to fame. She is a country of great natural beauty that has influenced generations of minimalist industrial designers. More importantly, though, the country follows the Nordic model of capitalism and has thus become one of the few working examples of a progressive, socially sensitive state with superb welfare, education, and healthcare services. Or so they say.
It’s no surprise then that the country’s liberal administration is keen to explore the possibilities offered by artificial intelligence. Their Ministry of Economic Affairs has released a pretty thorough report on how best to nurture and employ AI technologies for the betterment of the country, looking at the public and private sectors, and society as a whole.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the top AI startups in Finland based on a list published by Berlin-based Asgard Capital, a VC that specializes in making investments into AI startups around the globe. According to Asgard, only 60% of companies claiming to be AI firms are actually doing AI, and researching this is Asgard’s bread-and-butter. Here are the eleven artificial intelligence companies in Finland which Asgard highlighted in a post on LinkedIn titled “The European Artificial Intelligence Landscape.”
|The Curious AI Company||Generic machine learning||$5.9 million|
|Kirontech||Health insurance||$3.5 million|
|Valossa||Video recognition||$2.7 million|
|Lumoa||Customer service||$0.74 million|
|Teqmine||Patent search||$0.57 million|
|Usetrace||Software testing automation||$0.29 million|
|TidyCMS||Website development||$0.28 million|
|Get Jenny||Chatbot||Undisclosed funding|
Founded in 2013, Helsinki startup Claned is at the top of the list having raised $7.2 million to develop a personalized education platform that combines machine learning with the Finnish educational approach, considered one of the best in the world. The company has worked with Finnish universities to integrate validated research on how individuals learn into its algorithms. Over the course of time, Claned understands how its user is motivated and the most important factors affecting individual progress are implemented into the curriculum.
The platform targets schools, universities, and corporations. Since its launch in Q2 2016, it has gathered a strong user base across 15 countries and has clients like Microsoft, the United Nations, and the European Olympic Committee. Claned has also expanded to emerging markets like India and is used in 2,000 schools across the country now.
The Curious AI Company
Founded in 2015, Helsinki startup The Curious AI Company has raised $5.9 million to develop generic machine learning technologies that users can implement into diverse business and industrial environments. The founder, Harri Valpola, co-founded Zen Robotics, a company that originally wanted to build brains for intelligent robots. Zen Robotics failed to achieve its aim and pivoted into creating robots that sort industrial waste. Valpola has moved on and founded The Curious AI Company, trying to achieve the original goal of building a truly coherent AI “mind” capable of unsupervised learning. The company is investing heavily into research and is monetizing developments by selling algorithms capable of database and document understanding, business process analysis and prediction, industrial process prediction, and design understanding. Originally set up as a research boutique, the team’s ultimate goal remains the development of a “true” artificial intelligence, not unlike the mammalian brain.
Headquartered in Espoo, Kirontech has raised $3.5 million in funding to develop machine learning solutions for the health insurance market. The company’s insurance platform uses big data repositories of medical claims to mitigate wasteful processes and automate fraud detection, price adherent risk, and evaluate healthcare providers. Health insurance is big business: the total revenue from life and health insurance in 2016 in the U.S. alone was $852 billion. Healthcare fraud, waste and abuse in the U.S. cost insurers $84 billion per year. Kirontech aims to cut these inefficiencies and also increase the quality of care through better monitoring of providers. The company has also applied its algorithmic approach to the diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases over the course of a 2015 pilot project and is now looking to bring its solution to the global market.
Founded in 2009, Tampere startup WordDive has raised $3.2 million to develop a language learning app that uses AI algorithms to make you learn quicker. Like Claned above, WordDive also optimizes the learning curriculum to each user and uses multiple senses throughout the learning process for easier memorization.
The app promises fluent language skills with an average of 63 hours spent exercising. That’s three months’ worth of 45 minutes every weekday – impressive. Since its launch in 2010, WordDive has gathered 500,000 users in 150 countries and now covers ten languages for the price of $11.5 a month.
Founded in 2015, Oulu startup Valossa has raised $2.7 million to develop a video recognition and content intelligence platform. Valossa’s service allows users to search and tag anything in a piece of video footage, track and recognize faces, flag undesirable content, or run statistics on the content.
The application works both on premises or through the cloud, and has API (Application Programming Interface) connectivity so it can be embedded into other systems as well. With video fast becoming the dominant medium on the web, Valossa’s solution is being used by some high profile names like Nvidia and BNP Paribas. The video recognition service costs between 9 cents a minute and 24 cents a minute depending on services used.
Founded in 2016, Helsinki startup Lumoa has raised $740,000 in funding to create a platform that makes high volume customer feedback actionable. Targeting mid to large size companies in diverse industries like banking, healthcare, and software development, Lumoa’s algorithms provide real-time customer feedback analytics, pinpoint the most important factors affecting your customer satisfaction, and slice and dice customer feedback to find the most efficient actions needed to increase customer satisfaction.
All of this helps companies sift through massive amounts of information and come up with action points to increase Net Promoter Scores (NPS), a key metric of customer loyalty. The tool works well according to their case studies, and one occupational healthcare client has doubled its NPS within six months after implementation. Pricing is by monthly subscription fee, and starts at $800 a month for medium-sized companies.
Founded in 2013, Helsinki startup Teqmine has raised $570,000 to develop a patent search, analysis, and similarity comparison platform. Teqmine’s servers store the entire human patent knowledge base and its algorithms allow search and comparison using natural language. Exploring the patent landscape has traditionally been the job of a specialist patent engineer. Now, Teqmine is democratizing the process with a product that targets enterprises, startups, universities, and patent attorneys.
The service helps determine the value of an innovation before patent filing and also helps patent owners protect their intellectual property rights from infringement. Patent litigation damages can be in the billions of dollars, and with China (48,882 filings in 2017) slowly taking over the US (56,624 filings in 2017) in patent filings, Teqmine is targeting a global growth market.
Little known fact about the Finns and the Chinese, most affluent Chinese who love to travel will put Finland’s Northern Lights at the top of their travel bucket list. A Finnish news program, Yle Uutiset, recently talked about this growth with a picture that hints at the sort of exciting cultural experience you’re likely to have when a parade of mainlanders starts shoving cameras in your face and playing with your children.
Of course, Finland got the Chinese back by creating Angry Birds, a game which tons of potential Chinese Rhodes Scholars wasted weeks of their lives playing instead of studying – like they do in Finland – which has the world’s best education system. It’s all making sense now.
Founded in 2011, Helsinki startup Usetrace has raised $287,000 to develop a cloud-based, automated web-app and website testing service. With Usetrace, cloud computers automatically test client sites going through the steps a visitor/customer would take. Tests run periodically and every time the code is updated, then Usetrace alerts developers of any bugs found. User testing has traditionally been a cumbersome process that didn’t always locate all possible malignant bugs. Now, there are a handful of companies offering automated user tests (that behave like humans apparently) with prices ranging from $100 a month upwards. Usetrace’s basic subscription costs exactly that much, and promises a development speed boost of +20%, and half the reported UI bugs (we’re assuming that means UI bugs found in production.) It is used by small and large companies alike, including the global media company Sanoma (SAA1V:FH).
Founded in 2014, Turku startup Tidy Technologies has raised $281,000 to develop an automatic website builder for high volume website generation. Typical clients include agencies, designers, and developers who use the platform for building websites using templates, or using semi-automatic and automatic site generation capabilities. The system can also build websites around data fetched from a pre-determined source like a previous website, a CRM system, or an API.
Tidy claims their algorithms can create a whopping six websites per minute and charges $12 per site, per month (including hosting) with volume discounts available. The service promises search engine optimization as well, and increased sales by using their websites. Kind of reminds us of that startup using AI to generate corporate logos.
Founded in 2016, Helsinki startup GetJenny has raised undisclosed funding to develop their own take on a chatbot platform. Growing the ranks of AI chatbot platform companies in an oversaturated market with a total funding of $24+ billion, the team promises the usual efficiency gains through custom-built customer service bots. GetJenny claims its chatbots automate up to 80% of the customer support processes and go live in weeks, resulting in a high return on investment for any company. Customers include Slush, the world’s leading startup event organizer, and IF Insurance, Scandinavia’s largest insurance company.
Update 02/05/2019: GetJenny has raised $2.3 million in seed funding to continue its expansion across the Nordics and the MENA region. This is the company’s first disclosed funding so far.
Founded in 2012, Oulu startup Smartifik has raised undisclosed funding to develop customer-facing tools based on natural language processing and natural language understanding. The product suite contains a chatbot, advanced search, personalized product recommendations, and speech recognition. The company claims its tools, targeting ecommerce clients, can boost search results by 40% and increase sales by 5%. Smartifik’s client references are mainly local web-shops selling jewelry, hunting gear, and cosmetics.
Funding amounts for these companies are, unsurprisingly, much lower than in leading global economies. One reason for this might be that the Finnish government program has only started a year ago, and it’s still too early to see its effects. Finland’s strong competencies in education and welfare might be the edge they need to produce world-class AI services on the back of her government’s initiative in the next few years. That’ll show Sweden – a country that we’re going to look at next.
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