Picture 1It is nice to be able to write about positive growth stories for a Finnish SME in these times, especially if the company is located in the Cleantech sector and was just established in 2005. Beneq is located in Vantaa and during the Finnfacts Cleantech Blogger Tour 09 we went for a visit, where CEO Sampo Ahonen and Marketing Manager Joe Pimenoff gave us a presentation on what the company is about and also granted us a look at their products and premises.

Beneq is a MBO spinout from Nextrom, which was an ex. Nokia-Maillefer venture. The company offers industrial equipment and technology for functional coatings based on Atomic Layer Deposition and aerosol technologies. A strong IPR portfolio in over 60 patent families is one of the corner stones of the company’s success, which is best represented by its continuous annual 100% growth between 2006 – 2009. This year, Ahonen says, revenue will be up EUR 3,5m from last year, to EUR 7,5m. He is bullish on the company’s growth and wants to increase it in the coming years, and given their increasing sales network around the world the possibilities for succeeding look good.

“The thinner the world gets, the better for us.” With that sentence Pimenoff explained us Beneq’s markets, which are the cleantech and renewable energy industries, especially PV, flexible electronics and flat glass. Beneq was able to size up their technology and make it work for mass production, which is something their competitor Picodeon, also from Finland, still works on. Beneq sees itself delivering its technology to the growth markets of the PV and OLED manufacturers, which are able to coat their thin products with a completely uniform coating. An added benefit is that their ALD technology helps companies to be very material efficient, which in times of more expensive and rarer raw materials is a huge benefit.

Thin film technology is a new area for me, and it was very interesting to see the companies achievements in the area and their optimism for the future. With two successful funding rounds totaling EUR 4m and 100% annual growth in the last three years the company has good reasons to be optimistic, and given that they know where their weaknesses are – some of their technologies are slower than presently used ones – they know where to optimize further.