Members of the Finnish Mobile Association, lovingly known among mobile industry insiders as FinnMob, went to Barcelona in February and showcased their wares at the industry’s largest tradeshow, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Faced with the challenge of staying above the usual public relations stunts on the tradeshow floor, the teams of greater Helsinki based business developers and entrepreneurs focused on one-to-one meetings with their counterparts from handset manufacturers, mobile network operators, media houses and other potential partners. By the time they boarded their homeward bound flights, these teams had a significant number of prospects in their pockets.
Dazzboard, Xtract, Sendandsee, Powerkiss, Notava, Ixonos, Invest in Finland, and Technopolis showcased in hall four, while colleagues from UpCode, Cellictica, and Openbit used FinnMob’s Powerbar in hall one. The showstopper at the Powerbar was the wireles charging facility provided by Powerkiss.
US-based mobile operators remained notably absent from the show, but operators from the Middle East, Eastern Europe, APAC and South America had good representation. And their people were actively seeking innovative companies from Finland. Although the FinnMob team already received meeting requests and scheduled them for the participating member organizations prior to the show, lots of request for ad hoc meetings brought pleasant surprises.
“It was very interesting to be approached by several people from the same organization. Representatives from Samsung, for example, came from different business units, and they had different sets of questions for us,” said Maija Itkonen of Powerkiss.
While most of the international media’s attention focused on announcements made by the big players of the mobile industry, the main story from Barcelona should have been about small innovative entrepreneurs rather than the industry Goliaths. In fact, the big companies had scouts roaming the tradeshow floor looking for something new.
“Investors like to say they already know all the interesting players, but the fact is they can’t cover all the fields. I had a big corporate investor visit me at the booth asking about the good cases in my area,” said Will Cardwell of Technopolis.
Text: ROGER D: PINEDA