Treon builds a strong and large company in Tampere, Finland, and aims for global impact11.10.2023
"From connecting people to connecting everything." This is how Treon CEO Joni Korppi sums up the company's history, present day and path to the future. Connecting everything refers to Treon's current expertise in massive IoT solutions. The founders of the company, on the other hand, have a long history in the mobile phone teams of Nokia and Microsoft, so: connecting people. – A funding round secured this autumn will accelerate Treon's growth and internationalisation.
Founded in 2016, Treon's purpose is to be a globally significant player in IoT networks and have an impact on a global scale. That is precisely why the company approaches different markets by seeking partnerships with the largest global companies.
– Treon makes mostly wireless devices and software, and then take our IoT network to global market as a part of partner’s solution, says CEO Joni Korppi.
For example, Treon's condition monitoring sensors, related software and devices are part of the Valmet DNA automation system, which Valmet sells globally. KONE and Vaisala are Treon's long-term partners, as are such German companies as Schaeffler and ifm. New partnership agreements are in the making.
– Through partnerships we aim to make a global impact and advance the areas in which we are operating. They are quite often related to efficiency, sustainability and reducing the load on the environment, or safety and people's well-being, says Korppi.
The American operation
Lately, Treon made headlines after closing a 5.5 million Euro Series A round led by Ventech. The funds will be invested in international expansion. So far, the majority of Treon's turnover has come from the Nordic countries, Germany and other DACH countries, as well as Canada and the United States.
– We have been able to sell surprisingly much to the USA without having anyone there permanently. In February 2023, we established a subsidiary there, and the successful funding round will enable us to grow more significantly in the United States, Korppi says.
Treon is sending one of its salespeople to the USA on a permanent basis, and next year technical personnel will be hired to support Treon’s American customers.
The "American operation" is indeed one of Treon's key projects in international expansion. Korppi estimates that if a Finnish company succeeds in the demanding US market, it gives the company worldwide credibility.
France is another direction that is opening up. Entering the French market requires a person who is fluent in the language and culture, to represent the company in France. Treon happens to employ a person who meets the specifications, so Treon's second logical investment target is the important French market.
Growing and strengthening
Treon has grown strongly in recent years. In 2022, the company's revenue increased by more than 80%, and the growth is projected to continue. When all operations are expanding strongly, the company also needs to strengthen its internal organisation in Tampere.
The pace of recruitment has been fast: around 30 people have joined Treon this year, and now the company employs more than 65 people.
– The funding is enabling us to do the recruitments a little earlier than would have been possible with income financing. This gives us a good slope for growth, Korppi says.
Treon invests part of the funding in new products, i.e. in certain key projects, which are expected to bring faster revenue growth in the future.
Ventech made the first seed funding for Treon in 2019, and at that stage angel investors Jussi Heinilä and Pertti Aimonen were brought in. According to Korppi, they have done a lot of work for Treon's growth, and were also involved in the A round.
Industry, logistics and smart buildings
Treon develops scalable IoT solutions for three areas: industry, logistics and smart buildings. From the very beginning, their aim has been to build a strong and large company – one that can manage on income financing. The idea is that when a startup has paying customers from the start, it can ensure that it makes exactly the products that customers need.
On the industrial side, Treon's solutions are primarily related to predictive maintenance: sensors and intelligent edge computing help predict when machines need maintenance.
– We now have access to ten percent of the world's factories through our partnership network. This opens up a real opportunity to make a global impact on the efficiency of machines, and help the green industrial transition, says Korppi.
Next year, Treon promises news about logistics partnerships and products related to, for example, monitoring food transports. In the logistics sector, Treon already makes condition monitoring solutions for port forklifts and cranes for port operators and maintenance companies.
In smart office buildings, Treon's technology is for example sensors that measure indoor air properties or building occupancy rates. With their long-term partner Kone, Treon designed a product called KONE Lane by completely renewing the entrance hall gate concept.
Tampere makes an impression
Treon is a distinctly Tampere-based company, operating from Tampere and committed to the local industrial history. When it's time to impress customers around the world, Treon seeks help from Tampere stories.
– The history of Tampere helps us stand out. The beginning of industrialisation, Finlayson's story, Kalmar, Sandvik, Valmet, Nokia... they make it easy to imply that Tampere is an innovative and unique place. And for that matter, also rated as the most attractive city in the world’s happiest country, says Korppi.
Then there is the Tampere IoT ecosystem, whose excellency is largely the legacy of Nokia and Microsoft – and has already had time to develop further. Korppi is keen to mention some companies from the neighbourhood: Wirepas, whose technology is partially used by Treon, because it is the best in the world. Radientum has top expertise in antennas for wireless devices, so thanks to it, Treon has the world's most powerful antennas at its disposal.
– We are often at the same events with these companies. We promote each other's work and with our mutual cooperation we can be much bigger than if we were alone, says Korppi.
Treon and the Tampere City Region
Tero Kyckling, Senior Business Advisor, international relations and startups, Business Tampere:
– From the Tampere City Region’s vitality point of view, Treon is a good example of our new companies that invest heavily in internationalisation and, at the same time, show the way for the future development of our city region.
– The funding received by Treon is a significant investment in the internationalisation for one company. However, I think that more important than the amount of money is what will be achieved with it. In Treon’s case, I believe we don't have to wait many years.
– Business Tampere is building its own contact network in the United States. It has also been sparred with Treon so that when the next company from our region aspires to the US market, we’ll be better prepared to offer help and contacts. Thanks to NATO membership and fighter jet deals, interest in Finland is well on the rise in the United States.
Author: Päivi Stenroos