Business Finland selected Unikie as one of four winners in the latest Growth Engine funding competition round. Unikie will be granted a capital loan of EUR seven million dedicated to business development. The objective for the financial instrument is to advance the building of an ecosystem for autonomous vehicles in Finland.
Software technology company Unikie has specialized in technological development of autonomous vehicles since its founding in 2015 and invested over EUR 10 million in their own technology platforms. Unikie will be starting as a platform company in the building of an ecosystem for autonomous vehicles in Finland. The primary objective for this project is to advance the joint development of intelligent machinery and automotive technology and to maximize the international competitiveness of Finnish manufacturing in these areas. The purpose is to enable large-scale technological research, development, and delivery for international customers of autonomous vehicles.
“Vehicle technology overall, including information networks and information security, is going through major changes. This turmoil enables a growth opportunity for Unikie, but at the same time, we have all the necessary prerequisites to build a truly international and significant software technology hub for the automotive industry and information technology in Finland”, states Unikie CEO Esko Mertsalmi.
“In the field of intelligent machinery, Finland is home to many strong players. On the other hand, there are also solid operators with market openings for new generation autonomous concepts. Finland also has a thriving information technology cluster born in the wake of the rise of Nokia. It is an extremely important milestone for this project to have gotten this far, and it is important to recognize that by combining these key fields, Finland’s international competitiveness will improve specifically in this new automotive industry branch. Simultaneously, strong local players will develop new kinds of skillsets and networks”, Mertsalmi recounts.
As a Growth Engine platform company, Unikie will be a key organization acting as a growth catalyst, around which other operators will be able to build new business.
Disruption of global traffic market is an opportunity for Finland
The automotive industry is currently at a critical point of disruption. Electronic, self-driving vehicles that are connected to other vehicles and surrounding infrastructure, along with new business models are becoming more common. Artificial intelligence, data, and software are becoming key factors in facilitating disruption of the automotive industry. Monumental new global markets are forming around the digitalization of traffic where Finland has an excellent baseline for success.
“Reaching even 1% market share of the potential global market in 2025 would mean a revenue worth of billions for any Finnish companies operating in the development of autonomous vehicles. A realistic vision for achieving this is to create a strong domestic ecosystem which can be used to join international ecosystems and offer services through them”, envisions Unikie CTO Erkka Niemi.
The PAVEF (Platform for Autonomous Vehicles Ecosystem Finland) ecosystem targets creating new innovation-based business operations in Finland worth over EUR billion by 2029. Orchestration of the ecosystem is in itself a separate project, which will be planned at the start of the venture during the first half of 2021.
Business Finland organized the competition for Growth Engine funding now for the third time. Applications for new Growth Engines were requested from the fields of data science, circular economy, and low-carbon development. The objective was to find the best ideas which could be used by different ecosystem operators to create new innovation-based business, exports, and investments worth over EUR billion in Finland. Business Finland offers a capital loan for the development of platform companies’ operations and the ecosystem. Platform companies are key companies or organizations that act as growth catalysts and around which other operators can build new business.