Almost a year ago we reported on a Nokia, Tekes and Technopolis backed venture where startups would be able to reap the ideas and R&D results from Nokia’s patent portfolio. Not all patents, but specific ones that Nokia has put aside for the program. At this stage of the program, 12 startups have been formed, with 120 employees together with over 5 million euros in venture financing and angel funding. Tekes is the Finnish development fund for technology and Technopolis is a public company working with growth companies in many different ways.

In the first phase of the program, Nokia and Technopolis have gone through thousands of ideas from which about a hundred made it into the program itself. All three parties have commited quite a bit, to make all this happen. Tekes for example has been able to make financing decisions in a week for the companies involved in a program – something regular entrepreneurs can only dream in their wettest day dreams.

The financed companies in the program are There Corporation, Lingsoft, Thumbs-up Research Oy, Sport Tracking Technologies Oy, Screenpeak Oy, Respecta Oy, IW-Net Oy Ltd – Imageworld, Domuset Oy, Powerkiss Oy, Capricode Systems, Finembe Oy, Protacon Solutions Oy, Ludowaves Oy, Citynomadi Oy, Newelo Oy, Artifact Ware Oy as well as Fara Oy (ex Buscom). In total, 18 companies received funding.

During the summer, the program is looking to make more financing decisions. The cumulative sum of investments is expected to rise to 8 million euros, of which Tekes will finance some 4,5 million.

All this is great, but it leaves me wondering. Why have we had to wait this long for such rapid progress in this sector? I guess it takes the big companies to show the governmental institutions that there is potential in startups. I’m not fully sure these results required Nokia’s patent portfolio to be used, surely it has helped, but I’m not sure it is the key here.

With 5 million euros, 12 startups and 120 employees is a no brainer. It is just something I’d like to see spread over to the other areas of the startup ecosystem as well. There are tons of great ideas around and I hope Tekes seriously sees this as a great lesson to streamline their organisation. It might be nothing more than an empty hope as they don’t need to improve at the end of the day since there are no share holders wanting changes and the government isn’t too keen on improving the organisation either. Nevertheless, it leaves me hoping for change and improvement.