Katja Karelina moved to Helsinki in 2002, after having spent 10 years studying and working in the United States. Today she is a mother of 5-year-old twins and the CEO of a Helsinki-based neurotechnology start up Neurotar. Combining the two roles is easy.
Neurotar is the first commercial service provider that offers high-resolution imaging and data analysis services for the use of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. “Our current and potential customers are located all over the world,” Katja says. “But we are and will continue to be located in Helsinki,“ she adds. “What I like about Finland is that logistically things works 100%. I’ve started to take for granted that everything IT related is accessible and functions well, which is certainly not self-evident everywhere else.” The straightforward manner of communication and the work ethic in Finland also get credit from her. “There is no funky business here. A yes is a yes and a no is a no.”
In her childhood, Katja remembers watching the trains running between Helsinki and St. Petersburg and thinking of them as “trains to the other world”. “From a Russian perspective, Finland is a brand – clean, safe and honest,” she explains. After moving to Helsinki, Katja discovered the many unexpected advantages that the city has to offer: green parks, absence of crowds and yet the abundance of available activities. She especially appreciates the balance between metropolitan life and nature in Helsinki. “For instance, the fact that I can start jogging straight from my front door and be in the woods in three minutes is an everyday luxury to me.”
After ten years in Finland, Katja is confident about the best thing in the country: the day care system, which has been worth gold for Katja and her family. “The fact that I can leave my children in a safe place for the day makes it possible to balance my family life and my professional career,” she says. “My kids get several cooked meals every day, they get to play outside on a regular basis and they have plenty of extra curricular activities organized for them. In most countries, no amount of money can buy such service.”
Find out more about the Helsinki way of doing business here.
Katja Karelina is the CEO of Neurotar, the first commercial provider of in vivo two-photon imaging and data analysis services. Founded in 2009, company started with the focus in Central Nervous System disorders (CNS) and since then has expanded to drug delivery and skin imaging, developing service products in oncology, immunology and ophthalmology. Neurotar is one of the organizers of the first international In Vivo Microscopy Symposium organized for the first time in 2012.