Environmental problems and peaking prices of natural resources create huge new possibilities in business. Peloton Club explored the recent state of cleantech in Finland. What is the next big wave of cleantech, and how to ride it?
”In Finland we tend to be technology focused”, explains Kaisa Hernberg, the Executive Director of Cleantech Finland. The room is full of listeners; investors and startup entrepreneurs of course, but most notably, people from diverse backgrounds: architects, coders, political scientists and city developers.
”But cleantech is more than that”, Hernberg continues. ”Basically cleantech can be any product, service, process or technology which increases the energy efficiency or decreases negative environmental effects.”
Understood as such, cleantech is a glimpse of light in Finnish economy. Last year it went up 5 percents, and now it has already passed forest industry by it’s national total revenue of 25,8 billion euros. And it keeps growing. But why is that?
As visually demonstrated but cleantech business angel Ari Hyppönen, the limits of the planet are scarce. Strong, global changes driving the enlargement of the sector. According to Hyppönen, a clever investor focuses on re-using, recycling and energy efficiency. But surely not only the Finnish are interested in grasping the opportunities. “Cleantech is huge in China”, says Ying Hu, who works at FinPro and came to Peloton Club evening as so did a dozen of other Chinese cleantech enthusiastics from different organizations. The Embassy of China among other Chinese organizations were sitting in the front row of the Club.
“The media representatives which are here, are from large scale papers, such as China Science Daily, Economy Magazine and Daily 21’st Century Business Herald”, she notes. “The Chinese are very interested in finding promising Finnish companies.”
Even though competition is hard, the Finnish companies can succeed in the global market. For instance, Finland is world elite in district cooling and heating. “But generally Finnish companies are very small”, reminds Hernberg. “In the future they need to get together to solve more holistic solutions.”
The money will be in boring businesses
“Nowadays I like boring businesses”, starts Tero Ojanperä, the co-founder of Vision+. He points at the picture of a thermostat – Ojanperä refers to boring businesses as the opposite of fields of music and movies, already explored by many. “The real success is waiting in the digitalization of boring businesses.”
Ojanperä is talking about cloud technology, mobile technology and internet of things combined. Predicting the energy consumption of homes, keeping track on the emptying rates of storm drains and digitalizing your warehouse have more to do with everyday routines than entertainment. If it is how Ojanperä thinks, there is usually a need for a product or service, which makes these routines run with less money and effort.
“Collecting data has become incredibly easy”, Ojanperä says. “We have to think, what kind of data we have, and how we can turn it into a business model. We have to think, how we can cultivate the data so that it makes life easier.”
Harri Paloheimo’s PiggyBaggy service belongs to a different branch of cleantech. It strives for saving not only nature but also customer’s time and money by offering a ridesharing service for goods. Certainly, Ojanperä’s idea about making life easier as a starting point of business idea isn’t just applicable to data collection sector, but also to many other businesses. “There’s a proven need for the service”, Paloheimo says about PiggyBaggy, “but we’re having problems with the regulation.”
“Did you know that on a flea market you can sell for up to 5000 euros without taxation each year”, asks Paloheimo and continues: “Perhaps the sharing economy should have the same rules”, he suggests. Now Paloheimo is collecting a list of companies, which state that they would benefit from this kind of a change in regulation. “A change might open up a new cleantech market”, believes Paloheimo.
Peloton Club is Demos Helsinki’s incubator for resource smart startups. Peloton consists of teams from transportation, sharing, commerce, cleantech, home deliveries and packaging. Peloton Club evenings are open events, arranged once a month in Putte’s Bar and Pizza. For any matter of inquiry, contact firstname.lastname@example.org