Unikie’s CEO Esko Mertsalmi awarded the Software Entrepreneur of the Year 2020

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Esko Mertsalmi, CEO of software technology company Unikie, was awarded the Software Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 title today. Mertsalmi is one of the founders of Unikie, which has grown rapidly internationally, and has piloted a five-year-old company throughout its history. The Finnish Software and E-business Association chose the Software Entrepreneur of the Year now for the 19th time in Finland.

“Unikie operates in a very competitive industry, holding on to all latest technologies. Unikie builds strong global customer base with smart technology solutions and has quickly acquired large international customers. For three years in a row, Unikie has practically doubled its turnover and the number of its employees each year. Unikie has been successful and has succeeded in growing the team with the best talents”, explains the CEO of the Finnish Software and E-business Association Rasmus Roiha regarding the Software Entrepreneur of the Year selection.

Finland’s third fastest growing technology company (2019) employs more than 300 people. Unikie’s revenue forecast for 2020 is approximately EUR 35 million.

“As Unikie, we have come a great way so far. We have renewed the shortcomings in the software industry and at the same time believed in strong Finnish technology expertise as an export company. This concept has paid off and our targeted growth continues”, says Esko Mertsalmi, the CEO of Unikie.

One of the reasons for choosing Mertsalmi as the Software Entrepreneur of the Year was that the company has quickly acquired large international customers. Approximately a third of Unikie’s turnover comes from exports. Already at the company’s founding stage, it was seen that the revolution in mobility, autonomy and digitalisation offer unprecedented opportunities for a software technology company.

“At a very early stage, we found that disruption in the automotive industry is a big deal. Broadly speaking, it means the logistics of objects and people. Since our establishment, we have focused on internationalization by investing in technology development and international sales”, Mertsalmi says.

“However, we have internationalized faster than we dared to dream”, Mertsalmi adds.

The employees are stars at Unikie

Focused on demanding software technologies, Unikie employs experienced top professionals. The operating principles of the entire company are built around software engineers and technologies. The guiding principle of Unikie from the beginning has been that employees are stars.

 “Our employees are stars. Openness and transparency are part of our value base, and the appreciation of technological know-how rises high. We value expertise, performance and added value for the customer. When top experts are at the center and the operating model is built around them, customer benefit through technical know-how also comes naturally, ”Mertsalmi explains.

There is a demand for special expertise in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensor fusion, information networks and data security, and this creates a unique competitive edge for the company. Unikie’s competences include embedded development, device and edge processing combined with IT systems, and the data security solutions that crosses them all.

The prestigious Software Entrepreneur of the Year was awarded for the 19th time this year.  Matti Vilmi, Kristo Ovaska, Tero Sarkkinen, Seppo Kuula, Sami Ensio, Pekka Koskinen and Risto Siilasmaa, among others, have previously been selected as Software Entrepreneurs of the Year.


Further information:

Esko Mertsalmi, CEO, Unikie, +358 400 675 918, esko.mertsalmi@unikie.com

Rasmus Roiha, CEO, Finnish Software and E-business Association, +358 400 180 434, rasmus@programistoebusiness.fi


Unikie Oy

Founded in 2015, Unikie is a technology company focused on demanding device-edge-cloud-based software. The main segments are the automotive industry, smart machines, industry 4.0 and telecommunications. At the forefront is Unikie AI Vision, a comprehensive autonomous driving (AD) solution that scales to the global market. Unikie is Finland’s third fastest growing technology company and operates in Finland, Sweden, Germany, Poland and the United States. Based on the strong demand for Unikie’s expertise and technology solutions, the company’s next objective is to achieve a turnover of more than 100meur. Unikie’s customers include e.g. Sandvik, Nokia and Valmet.

The Finnish Software and E-business Association

The Finnish Software and E-business Association (former Ohjelmistoyrittäjät ry) is a management association founded in 1993. We promote the chances of our member companies succeeding in the intensifying international competition. There are 700 software and software-driven companies involved in influencing industry decision-making, supporting research and training in the field, and developing their business.


Photo: Mikke Pöyhönen, Photomikke Oy

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