Web application know-how from Finland to global markets

Vaadin is looking to accelerate the commercialisation of its innovations with the support of the Team Finland LetsGrow financing programme.

Vaadin develops tools and technology for building web applications. Its primary product is Vaadin Framework, available free of charge and used by some 130,000 developers around the world. The business model of the company is to provide training and other services to companies that use Vaadin technology and tools.

The main office of Vaadin, established in 2000, is located in Turku. This is also where practically all of the company's product development and production activities take place. The company's turnover, now nearing EUR 7.5 million, has grown steadily. In ten years, the number of its employees has also risen from ten to 85.

"Our products speed up the development of web applications considerably. The technology is easy to learn. It supports all desktop and mobile browsers, and it eliminates the need for a large number of technologies that web developers have traditionally been required to master. Therefore, products can be brought onto the market more quickly, and the costs remain lower", says Jurka Rahikkala, operative director at Vaadin.

Vaadin's primary markets are the United States and Central Europe. There are many competing technologies in the market, but the company has been able to distinguish itself through the ease-of-use and high productivity of its products. Its customers in Finland include Nordea, Orion and Kemira, and its international clientele includes e.g. Apple, Nasa and Puma.

"We believe that our innovations and products will be in demand also in the future. Our biggest challenge is the commercialisation of ideas. With state-of-the-art technology, this has always been difficult. In addition, you need to have proper funding to enter international markets."

Team Finland LetsGrow – just what companies need

The Team Finland LetsGrow financing programme is based on the premise that Finnvera grants an unsecured loan, Tekes provides grant for innovation services and Finpro advice on growth and internationalisation.

"Through LetsGrow, we have received funding for the commercialisation of new innovations. Our aim is to double our turnover in three years. In addition, we hope to receive support in acquiring new skills in order to be able to commercialise our innovations."

"One of LetsGrow's advantages is its comprehensive approach to the acceleration of companies' growth and its willingness to share the risk with these companies. In addition, it makes easier to gain outside expertise. All in all, LetsGrow is a very practically oriented package. That is just what growth companies need."

Jurka Rahikkala's vision is that, in five years' time, Vaadin will be recognised as the world's leading provider of user interface technologies, with a turnover of tens of millions of euros.
'Tekes has funded many of our projects related to the development of research and working life. It has provided crucial support in our internationalisation. In earlier years, in particular, many projects might never have been completed without their help – we may never even have entered global markets. Tekes financing has speeded up our development considerably.'

Vaadin has also received earlier funding from Finnvera for the purposes of internationalisation and the establishment of its offices in the United States and Germany. During this enterprise, Finpro helped the company to find the right contacts.

Image: Vaadin

Kaj Nordgren
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