Starts

Projects so far

Here's a bunch of relevant starts I've been involved in with more or less significant role. I'm counting out a startup that created a free mobile text message service in 2001 and a media / advertising agency I was founding in 2004 which creates anything from websites to corporate brand identity videos.

Tuxera

2008- Embedded storage software CEO, co-founder

Started in 2008 and soon grew into my most successful start ever. Tuxera is a high-growth embedded software product business with more than 50 people in the team and counting. We have people across the globe and offices in China, Taiwan, Korea and US. I've been able to put into action everything I have learned from prior projects and pick up more as we go. The big story is still unfolding as we speak. Tuxera has major new growth opportunities ahead.

Spaceshot Group

2015- Commercial real estate CEO, co-founder

My entry into real estate beyond personal home projects. Spaceshot Group is a management company which at the moment owns and manages over 4.000m2 commercial property in Westendintie 1, Espoo, Finland. We have 17 tenants in the building and are launching additional services.

Movementals

2015- Electric scooters Chairman, co-founder

Launched a company which manufactures and sells electric scooters. We are tapping the global megatrends of battery-powered zero emission vehicles from the ground up. The first product Movemental S1 electric kickbike is now out and selling in Finland.

Turre Legal

2000-2011 Legal services, management consulting Partner, co-founder

After graduating from law school decided to try out a law firm with two friends. Turre grew soon into a boutique technology law firm with three partners and support staff. I first got name from consulting companies in open source licensing. Eventually I got into litigation as well. Some of the most memorable cases which also got some publicity:

  • Argued a case against malfunctioning electronic voting system up to Supreme Administrative Court, which declared the 2008 municipal elections in Finland invalid where electronic voting was used.
  • Defended individuals in p2p cases including a big one called Finreactor which went to the Supreme Court. Were able to get four out of eight guys free from all charges.
  • Defended individuals in a case where they publicly circumvented DVD copy protections. Won the first instance but lost the appeals and still hate it.
  • Won two cases against the state where the police wanted to stop popular grassroots organizations Electronic Frontier Finland and Kemijärven Massaliike from asking donations online.
  • Successfully defended the author of a Nightwish biography against defamation charges.

Turre is still there, run today by one of the three partners who took over the business.

Academic

1999-2010 Academic and public policy Adjunct professor

When I was not too busy with companies I worked for years in universities with flexible terms. One thing I never did was get into bureaucratic battles and office politics; that's probably why I never had any permanent position. To me university work meant a great combination of continuously studying topics I was interested in, getting paid for it, and at the same time keeping the freedom to jump into new business opportunities as they come. Inside the academic system I never kinda took work as given but was building stuff from the ground:

  • Helped launch IPR University Center and create its first website in 1999; this outfit is the kind of first source for any intellectual property related news in Finland
  • Raised money to several research projects at Aalto University and Hanken School of Economics; the biggest one in 2007 or so was over 1M EUR
  • Wrote a Ph.D on open source business and other books on copyright, patents and licensing; spoke out as an expert in the media to influence public policy
  • Taught several courses over the years at Aalto University, Hanken School of Economics and Helsinki School of Economics; developed and marketed new courses and one M.Sc program
  • Longer visits to University of California, Berkeley and University of Eastern Piedmont, Italy with raised money

Kutalab

2003-2010 Background music and media Board member, investor, advisor

Raised seed money and helped launch a company which has developed slowly but steadily DJ Online into a leading Finnish background music and media service. This company has been hardened over the years through ownerships shakeouts and near-death experiences. Today Kutalab is profitable, employing seven people, and run by the committed founder. Kutalab's DJ Online service works in over 200 bars, restaurants, hotels and other public places across Finland. I remain an advisor to the company.

Electronic Frontier Finland

2001-2003 Advocacy Chairman, co-founder

Founded a grassroots political advocacy group to fight for "digital rights" including freedom of speech online, strong personal privacy, and more balanced copyright and patent laws. We ran it as an open membership association and after getting publicity in the Finnish TV and press soon got over 500 paying members. Learned how to influence legislative process and policy making in general. Electronic Frontier Finland is still going strong and the last time I heard it had close to 2.000 members.

Tergat

2001-2004 Database software CEO, co-founder

My first company that sort of took off. Found an opportunity to develop an easy-to-use PC client for MySQL and other popular databases. Established the business in Hong Kong with a friend who coined the product name Navicat and a local partner with developers. Also talked more partners in Germany and South Africa to join the board. When the first version of Navicat was ready the HK partners bluntly stole the business and cut me and my friend out. A major lesson in how to build a global, distributed company with people coming with diverse backgrounds. The product we did was great, filled a niche, and is still selling.

Väldesoftware

1993-1995 Computer games One-man-business

Developed and sold own computer games. Games distributed through bulleting board systems before the Internet picked up. The best known game Kunkku ran on Windows and sold more than 100 copies at 50 Finnish marks a piece through mail order. It was a big number for a high-school kid at the time. I got totally excited with the very idea of starting an own business: I did my bookkeeping, learned about marketing and wrote an annual business summary. Then I went to army and decided to focus on studies before starting something again.