Kiosked is a young company with a big future. Founded in 2010 by Micke Paqvalén and Antti Pasila, the brand has grown exponentially during its short life span and is now represented in London, New York, Los Angeles, Singapore and Dublin as well as Espoo, where its headquarters can be found.
Kiosked is at the forefront of the online revolution occurring in Finland and its Smart Content model is both revolutionary and innovative. With global ecommerce sales expected to top $1.3 trillion in 2013, it is evident this is a growing and forward-thinking industry. The premise behind the Smart Content concept is that it connects visual content with retail; in other words, it turns every webpage into a viral storefront. The plan is to evolve online purchasing by allowing customers to discover products within the content they enjoy rather than forcing banners adverts upon them. Having spent a great deal of timing testing and perfecting their product, Kiosked can now count worldwide brands such as Nike, Rovio, Harvey Nichols and House of Fraser among its clients.
While companies such as Rovio and Supercell are synonymous with the start-up wave currently rippling through Finland and have justifiably grabbed the headlines of late, younger and innovative companies such as Kiosked have perhaps not received the attention their work merits. This appears to be changing and the next generation of the Finnish start-up boom is now emerging, which calls into question whether this can still be referred to as a boom. Such is the sustained success of these start-ups, surely now we must talk of a new way of thinking?
These companies, despite their varying size and age, all have one thing in common: they want to stay in Finland. Rovio, Supercell and Kiosked all have their active operations in and around the Finnish capital and have no plans to locate elsewhere.
So why are these companies choosing to shun the allure of bigger, more cosmopolitan cities and base themselves in and around Helsinki? Micke Paqvalén, Kiosked’s CEO and Co-founder, says of their Finnish roots: “I believe that Finland is a great place to develop a company. It is a ‘peaceful’ working environment. As for Kiosked, we worked hard on our product, tested and improved it constantly and we only started telling the world what we have built in 2013.’
‘And Finland has given us the opportunity to do this. State funding, such as Tekes, is great and gave us the possibility to work in a more focused manner. Furthermore, the technology is really flourishing in Finland at the moment. With Rovio and Supercell nearby, we live an environment that invites and ignites innovation.”
Furthermore, the renowned – and free – higher education system in Finland offers companies the chance to entice the very best graduates into what is a fast-becoming a highly competitive market. Add to this the close proximity of the ever-improving Russian market, unrivalled incubation programmes such as Startup Sauna and funding schemes like Tekes, and a picture begins to form of a perfect location from which to launch your product, and business, on the international market.
Kiosked may be piloting a unique product in the international market, but they are far from alone in extolling the virtues of the country that helped and supported them in their early days. This belief in Finland is far from blind loyalty and serves to confirm that Finland is fast becoming a crucial European business hub.
Text: Craig Houston