Helsinki-based ThingLink, enabler of interactive images, is using the 1.5 million euros of investment it secured in August to build a sales and marketing team in the United States.
The company, which now employs 13 people, has recently recruited a head of publisher sales and a community manager in the US team and plans to recruit eight to ten more staff over the next eight months in both Finland and the US.
— Previously the majority of the team was located in Helsinki and we did not have a sales operation in the US, explains CEO Ulla Engeström.
— With the new funding we have been able to get an office space in West Soho and start building a sales and marketing team in New York. The way we divide the work between the two teams is pretty clear: our Finnish team builds the technology and our US team sells it.
— Out of European countries Finland is one of the best places to have a skilful and stable engineering team, she says.
— Also government support from Tekes [the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation] is unparalleled and has been key to ThingLink’s development.
Engeström has relocated from Helsinki to New York to lead the company’s growth.
Engeström says that business development in a young startup relies mostly on personal relationships and that direct contact with clients is crucial in this stage of structuring and scaling the activities and forming new strategic partnerships.
— To sell enterprise technology to US clients, you have to have a strong presence in the US.
The August investment round of 1.5 million euros was led by Helsinki-based VC firm Inventure Oy with Tekes also contributing. Some 65 per cent came from foreign investors including New York and San Francisco angels such as Terrapin Bale, led by former Tumblr president John Maloney, the CEO of Fremantle Media N.A. Thom Beers, the managing partner of Trimaran Capital Dean Kehler and SoundCloud CTO Eric Wahlforss.
It was ThingLink’s second funding announcement since launching in August 2010, bringing total funding to about 2.9 million euros, including Tekes funding.
ThingLink has developed a platform that enables tagging content such as video, music, notes and web links to images and making them interactive across the web. Companies can use this creative storytelling as a way to drive more engagement on their websites, social media channels and ad campaigns.
It is used by more than 350,000 publishers in 46 countries, including leading newspapers and magazines, brands, digital agencies, universities, schools, and long-tail bloggers.
Article is published in cooperation with Good News from Finland.