Nokia’s falling star is hurting more than just the company’s bottom line. It was once the pride of Finland, and a decent size chunk of the country’s GDP. So it’s been nasty all around to see Nokia get decimated by the iPhone and Android. Surprisingly, Finland has been more than a hotspot for iconic phones; I learned reading Businessweek today that there’s a big software startup movement there, including Rovio (makers of Angry Birds).
Yep, the game that seems to have singlehandedly slowed down worker productivity worldwide is helping to fill the gap left by Nokia. Not only that, but there’s a big movement among Finnish software developers and the government to push this momentum farther. According to Businessweek:
This year the government sponsored a “Summer of Startups” at Aalto University, the nation’s flagship technology campus just down the road from Nokia’s headquarters. Ten teams of young entrepreneurs attended the two-month event, participating in workshops and other activities designed to help them build stronger companies. “This grassroots student stuff is what’s going to create the 10 to 20 companies we need,” says Will Cardwell, who directs the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship.
Attending the camp were Timo Herttua, 23, and Tuomo Riekki, 22, co-founders of a sales-force software company called Deal Machine. The two, who met while serving in Finland’s army, had each set up Web design businesses as teenagers. Launched this year, Deal Machine now has nearly 600 customers. The duo received a €30,000 grant from Tekes to develop their company.
I find this fascinating. It’s just another example of how global software has become, plus there’s a certain irony here. Nokia’s big downfall has been in software. No one denies their hardware has been top-notch, it’s just the software experience that has lagged behind their competitors. Now it’s software (led by an incredibly popular game on Nokia’s biggest competition’s platform) that’s attempting to bring Finland back!