FinnCode began with us developing our own mobile marketing platform, designed to make QR codes more adaptable with changeable, varying content. This service was met with some interest, and soon FinnCode had accrued a number of clients. However, reading QR codes with mobile phones was deemed slow and difficult, and QR codes in general did not seem to be catching on with the general public in the way it was initially predicted. Instead, what the market seemed to need was a service where the consumer would only have to bring their smartphone near the product and the desired content would pop up instantly on the phone screen. This need could be met by utilizing RFID-based NFC technology. This more consumer-friendly technology was getting increasingly popular, and NFC-based services would be very simple to understand and use for all consumers with smartphones. This became the cornerstone of our vision for future FinnCode services: NFC-based software services for companies.
This vision started to become reality in April 2014 with the help of Finnish innovation fund TEKES. First, FinnCode began an international growth project targeting the Italian luxury product market. This target market was chosen because studies suggest that manufacturers of luxury products suffer significant financial losses due to piracy. Piracy could, however, be counteracted by a product authentication solution based on FinnCode software services and NFC technology. Another reason for choosing the Italian market specifically was the Finnish-Moroccan designer Aki Choklat, who recognized the exciting potential in FinnCode solutions and offered to help the internationalization project along by using his wide network of contacts and securing FinnCode important meetings with people of influence in the Italian luxury product market. We received extremely positive feedback from this first project and decided to pursue developing FinnCode product authentication solutions further. Development began in September 2014, funded by a product development loan granted by TEKES. During this product development phase, concepts for other NFC-based software services besides product authentication were being developed, as well. One example of these is a service for toy manufacturers, where digital content could be added to traditional soft toys. Soon, a great number of new concepts and ideas were in development. Before long, we realized that by combining elements of different concepts together in different combinations would lead to an even greater number of possible FinnCode software services. From this realization came the idea of a cloud service platform where the client company could choose the different modules they needed and combine them together into a service tailored exactly to their specific needs. We therefore decided to make a slight change to our original strategy and divert our efforts to developing a cloud service platform that would be the base on which we could build all kinds of different software services out of existing service modules. With this platform, FinnCode could also always build new service modules as the needs of our client companies change. The FinnCode Platform would be an ever-developing platform with a growing number of available service modules and possibilities for constructing new software services.
In 2015, FinnCode took part in the Kasvu-open contest, where we received the Team Finland Going Global Award 2015 and the Nordea Growth Award 2015. It is, of course, wonderful that our hard work and potential were recognized by people outside the company, but the greatest value these awards have for us is how they support FinnCode’s growth in the international market and how they help in funding this growth. During this time, FinnCode was also approached by investment company Venture Accelerator East Wings Ltd. In addition to funding for international growth, the partnership with East Wings gave FinnCode vital experience and know-how on how to operate during the different phases of growth.
Our product development project was completed in December 2015, and since the beginning of 2016, we at FinnCode have put more emphasis on sales both home and abroad. We are all hard at work building our network of business partners and retailers.