Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, has launched a new financing program to support growth companies developing mobile services and applications – Tempo. Having followed Tekes for quite some time and knowing how they operate, one could easily argue that Tempo is a sign of the organisation changing tracks fundamentally and putting most of its feedback into practice. I’ll go through a few examples below.

First and foremost, “as agility and customer development are essential in mobile service development, companies must be able to launch a minimum viable product to find out whether there is a customer need for it”. This comes in fact from the Tempo pitch itself. They’re promoting MVPs as a way to find out if there is demand for services the companies are offering.

This in practice means that Tempo funds early stage development projects that as a minimum requirement have a prototype outcome in the project. Hats off to the people behind Tempo for getting something this different through to the new program. Tempo also encourages companies to include test marketing in their projects and they furthermore understand that it’s of crucial importance to get customer feedback as early as possible to develop their products into the right direction.

Having said all this, Tempo expects nothing short of world class outcomes from the projects that participate in the program. Services and products could work in the possible business areas of social media, games, location based services and cloud services. Regardless, Tempo is a great improvement in the Tekes’ programs and I’m sure it will receive greater results only for the fact that they are harnessing things such as customer development, MVPs and encouraging test marketing.

Furthermore, Tempo also looks to strengthen the mobile ecosystem by co-operating with existing parties. We’re also proud to disclose that Tempo is a silver sponsor in Arctic15 (do come and say hello to them at their stand on Thursday for more info on the project).

People behind the project include senior adviser Tuomas Henttonen and program director Risto Setälä. Tempo has a very market oriented steering group that includes Ilkka Paananen (Supercell), Kai Lemmetty (Mobile Dev Camp), Tommi Mikkonen (professor, Tampere University of Technology) as well as Ossi Kuittinen (Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund).

You can read more about the program from its webpages at Tekes.