Elisa Wants To Sell Your Services For You

    These days most Finnish startup’s limited sales force is focused on the whales: big corporate customers that pull in a lot of money, instead of cold calling the long-tail of SMEs in Finland. But there could be a way to plug into the flower shop down the corner. Finnish mobile operator Elisa tells us that they’re launching a new app and service store for startups called Taitawa (Editor’s Note: This is a working name) through Appelsiini, a company they acquired in 2010.

    What it boils down to for Finnish entrepreneurs is basically an app store for web apps. There are a few players in this space, even locally with StartHQ, a Helsinki-based startup that went through Startup Sauna last program that replaces your “new tab” page with a directory of web apps for consumers and corporates. But the big difference is that Taitawa employs Elisa’s 200 strong sales staff to help move web apps to their customers, which include Elisa’s 150,000 business clients in Finland. Elisa claims that half of all Finnish companies are Elisa customers, so that’s a nice number of SMEs that could potentially take advantage of your service.

    It’s not all a free lunch; there are a few costs. For instance, Elisa takes a familiar App Store 30% cut for sales that go through their platform. And additionally it might take some technical time to get your app integrated into their app directory, although they claim its easy to get integrated into their API and that they will even help you out with that for free.

    The integration doesn’t cost you anything, and you’re potentially hitting customers you normally wouldn’t. Additionally once you’re plugged into Taitawa, you can also be plugged into AppDirect, an even wider “app store” marketplace for web apps, sold by American operators like AT&T as well as other cooperation from Swisscom and Deutche Telecom.

    This might not be the golden goose for profitability, but after speaking to a few startups at the launch meeting, the buzz was ‘hey this really can’t hurt, and we weren’t focusing any resources on these customers anyway’.

    The whole process is built and managed by Appelsiini, which used to be a startup and got acquired by Elisa. As CEO Janne Lipiäinen commented: “We used to be a startup and went through all the aspects, ups and downs, before Elisa’s acquisition in 2010. We very much have kept our own identity and we are leveraging the large corporation ‘big machine.'”

    The meeting was arranged by “The hoodie dude” whose building briges between startups and large corporations. They tell us the best way to find out more is by sending an e-mail to [email protected]. They were even courageous enough to leave a phone number for us to publish: +358 405 416 461. This will put you in touch with Sari Kola-Nyström, VP of Strategy & Innovation at Appelsiini. Elisa says that they will be happy to work with any startup, not just those based in Finland.

    Top Image Courtesy of Shutterstock // Web Apps