GlobalTech Group Oy has developed an IoT-based load control system for freight transport. With roots in Russia, the high-tech startup chose Helsinki for the location of its European headquarters and the starting point of its journey to the trucks and trailers of the world. GlobalTech plans to set up a manufacturing facility in Eastern Finland and to hire 10 employees by the end of 2019. Helsinki Business Hub has accompanied GlobalTech from the start and continues to support its operations.
Last year, GlobalTech’s team of five was thinking of ways to develop the company’s business in Europe. They had developed an IoT-based load control solution for freight transport, which monitors axle load online, throughout the journey. The solution reduces the risk of alarm conditions on the road and extends tire and engine lifetime.
“We wanted to test, develop, commercialize and market our solution globally through a European unit. Finland, of course was the closest country to us. We knew it’s an innovation-driven market and a good location for international companies,” says co-founder Viacheslav Volkov from GlobalTech Group Oy.
Then chance intervened: NewCo Helsinki and Helsinki Centre organized a Business Academy pitching competition for startups in Saint Petersburg and invited GlobalTech to pitch its idea. Volkov and his colleagues didn’t expect to win. They won.
Startup Permit enabled quick relocation
Things started moving fast, and Helsinki Business Hub joined GlobalTech’s support troops. The team applied for and was granted Startup Permits, special residence permits meant for non-EU citizens who are capable of building international business success in Finland.
“Everyone has been very helpful. I received my Startup Permit in only one month. Another very valuable step was when Helsinki Business Hub connected us with the IoT Forge Foundation,” Volkov says.
The Finnish Startup Permit makes it possible for international, non-EU growth entrepreneurs to build a startup company in Finland and to become part of Finland’s vibrant startup ecosystem.
The IoT Forge Foundation supports startups with the development of IoT solutions. GlobalTech applied and was accepted to use the foundation’s services, mentors and facilities for R&D and test marketing.
“They have a great lab for testing our equipment and components. We’ve also received very helpful advice from their engineers on how to make our equipment affordable for the market,” Volkov says.
“Finland has become very strong in IoT technology, and this strength will sprout opportunities for success in the years to come,” says senior business advisor Maria Hartikainen from Helsinki Business Hub.
“Helsinki Business Hub has also helped us with company registration, bank accounts and other practical matters and provided us with excellent connections. Their experience has really helped us develop the company in Finland,” says Vjacheslav Volkov.
In search of a manufacturing facility
The newest trucks usually have built-in load monitoring systems, while trucks that are tree years old or older, often don’t. If they do, the weight monitoring system in the truck and the one in the trailer may be from different manufacturers, which often causes connectivity problems.
“Our solution consists of fully connected equipment for the truck and the trailer. It relays load information to the driver and the operator of the freight transport company, including the time the vehicle was overloaded as well as location and route information. It helps avoid both overload and waste space, enabling more efficient use of loading space. Real-time axle load monitoring is very useful because bulk cargo can sometimes get heavier with humidity,” says Volkov.
“We’re also thinking of merging our load control system with a tire pressure system for a comprehensive solution. Our technology could be useful in other industries as well, for example the maritime industry is definitely something we will look into in the future.”
To enable the growth of its business, GlobalTech is looking for a manufacturing facility in Eastern Finland.
Finland is an innovation-driven market and a good location for international companies.
Viacheslav Volkov, GlobalTech Group Oy
“The Helsinki region is excellent for our headquarters, but we also need a manufacturing and assembly facility and right now we’re considering Imatra. It’s close to Kouvola, which has a fast train connection to China. That would be very useful for us, as we import components from China. We’re also open to using a partner who could assemble our hardware for us, but we’ll continue to install our own software,” Volkov says.
Piloting, hiring and expanding
GlobalTech is now looking for piloting partners and collaboration to test their solution on Finnish trucks and trailers. The company plans to pilot its solution in Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Latvia.
GlobalTech aims to hire around 10 people in Finland by the end of 2019 and approximately 25 by 2022. The company’s future vision includes splitting the business in two, with a production company concentrating on R&D and manufacturing and a sales company trading around the world.
“The Finnish sales company will eventually open branches in other European countries, like Germany, Spain and France. There are lots of trucks and trailers in Europe. But we are also looking beyond Europe, at the North American and Asian markets,” Volkov says.