Global provider of telecom IT solutions Tecnotree launched Quja, a coworking campus for startups, in October 2012 in Espoo, Finland. During its early months of operation, Quja has attracted almost 30 Finnish technology startups.
The size of the startups housed in Quja varies from 1 to 4 people, and altogether they currently employ 55 people. These companies serve both consumer as well as business customers, and their focus is on technology and digital software and product development.
”Our aim was to offer startups free, flexible space and, as Tecnotree’s growth happens outside of Finland, at the same time find an intelligent way to utilize space we didn’t need ourselves here. We are delighted to be able to help companies in taking their very first steps,” says Tecnotree’s CEO Ilkka Raiskinen. ”In addition, our aim is to provide access and open channels to our large operator customers. Going international is a key driver for many Finland-based startup companies right now. It is also in our interest to offer our customers innovations they require while going through an industry transformation of their own,” Raiskinen concludes.
Already one floor of the Quja campus building is sold out with queries for available space coming in on a weekly basis.
”The City of Espoo wishes to congratulate Tecnotree on how the Quja model has been put into practice. I hope to see something similar taking place in other cities as well. Espoo can also be used as a test bed for experimenting products and services developed by the startups located in Quja. Thus, we can accelerate a brilliant idea’s market entry,” comments Tuula Antola, Director for Economic and Business Development of the City of Espoo.
Many of the Quja startups are on the verge of commercialization. These include companies such as Incentz which is the largest location-based mobile offer service in Finland; FAM Sports and its Check product for training readiness optimization to be launched to professional athletes, coaches and active trainers later in June; and Nordtouch, who have developed an interactive learning environment and knowledge building service with Flinga.
As Inka Mero from seed investor and Vigo accelerator KoppiCatch puts it: “In order to receive funding, startups must focus on the talent and ambition levels of their teams, the right timing for coming to market, and the opportunity to become a major player in their own ecosystems. Tecnotree as a company is setting a wonderful example in true startup mode for piloting what the Quja campus can offer both to the companies working there as well as for itself and its own customers. This is exactly what, for example, The New York Times are doing in their own timeSpace initiative.”
The Quja building, owned by Tecnotree, hosts furnished work space for up to 150 people. Teams of three are granted rent-free space for the first twelve months with subsidised cleaning and network expenses. The only admission requirement for startups is that they are registered with the Finnish Trade Register. Priority is given to companies whose domicile is Espoo.