Is this company going to be as recognized a technology brand as Gore-Tex one day? The Co-founders of CooliBlade, Janne Suhonen and Vesa Pentikäinen are envisioning the company to become the “Gore-Tex of thermal management”.
Photo: CooliBlade Oy
Before thinking more about the future of CooliBlade it is interesting to have a look at their past to see where their story began.
Vesa and Janne have known each other for a long time before CooliBlade. Therefore they are particularly happy to be able to build something together and combine their competences and strengths perfectly.
Vesa Pentikäinen has been at VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland) for more than 10 years, doing research with Kimmo Jokelainen, another co-founder of the start-up, in many different sectors before they came up with the idea of CooliBlade. Vesa was more than happy to put his research and ideas from VTT into his own start-up company.
Janne Suhonen, the CEO of the company, joined the team some years later and has been handling the economy and business part since then. He also has been at VTT for 20 years. Janne has previously worked for another VTT spin-off called Spectral Engines which was acquired by a German company.
In their joint company, they are now combining the technological research skills of Vesa and Kimmo with Janne’s business knowledge and experience.
- If Janne hadn’t joined the team, Kimmo and I would probably just be spending hours and hours at the lab, so we were really happy that he joined us with his business skills and mindset, says Vesa, laughing.
CooliBlade – high performance cooling for power electronics
Thermal management is needed in various industries where high-power electronics is used. Energy produces a huge amount of heat, which damages the electronics. CooliBlade technology improves the thermal conductivity of heat sink up to 1000 times compared to heat sinks broadly used today.
As a result, CooliBlade customers can develop products with more reliable electronics and less maintenance need. The CooliBlade solution is perfect for applications such as LED lighting, telecommunications, electric vehicle charging stations and energy industry sectors including renewable energy sources.
- The leading-edge high-power electronic companies come to us, as we have a cutting-edge thermal management solution. The main benefit of our technology is that we can increase the power levels used in high-power electronic products, their lifetime can be doubled or tripled, and the products can be installed to even the most demanding industrial or outdoor applications thanks to our efficient thermal management technology. Customers are confident that we can develop powerful solutions for their needs, and we also can deliver them in high quantities. But we must earn that trust every day, says Janne with a proud tone in his voice.
- We really do have a lot of big visions for CooliBlade. Our aim is that one day customers would be proud to display our brand in their products, just like the Gore-Tex brand, Vesa says.
Oulu is a great place for a start-up
All the co-founders of CooliBlade have studied and worked in Oulu before, so it was a natural choice to set up the business in the city. Now there are eleven people in the team, including one salesperson in Germany.
- Our plan is to grow up to 15 people within the next 12 months, Janne says.
According to him there is less competition for employees in Oulu compared to southern Finland. One reason for this is that the University of Oulu provides plenty of young, talented people. CooliBlade were also able to find their first strategic investors from Oulu.
- Oulu offers a nice environment for a start-up but also for your private life and family, Janne concludes.
Start-up life is a constant learning curve
At CooliBlade everybody is involved in product development, as customers’ needs are discussed daily.
- Start-up life is a constant learning curve. Take for example 3D printing. Daily thermal simulations and rendering 3D designs is inspiring because we all see the new version of the product taking shape in front of our very eyes, Vesa states.
The company benefits of a young enthusiastic team and its ability to learn quickly.
- You don’t know today what you will need to learn tomorrow and that is the case with every customer case we have, Janne points out.
Their next step on the path to growth is to find new industrial customers and production partners. CooliBlade is participating in the leading industry trade show Hannover Messe in April at BusinessOulu’s joint booth for local companies.
- BusinessOulu is great at promoting Oulu and organising local events like Northern Stars. Here in Oulu, we collaborate very closely and that makes our learning curve even shorter. That is one of our strengths, Janne sums up.