Many former Nokia employees start businesses of their own
Severance packages and Nokia skills help startups
Telloy is a company that would not have existed without Nokia.
Set up early this year by three former Nokia employees, it is one of the businesses that rose from the rubble left behind by job cuts at the Finnish mobile telephone company.
Two of the founders had used the benefits of their Nokia severance package, and the company’s Bridge programme, which encourages entrepreneurship to start up the company.
“The most significant boost was definitely the finance that we got from Nokia”, says Tellyo’s managing director Kimmo Koivisto, who left Nokia of his own accord a few years ago.
Tellyo has developed an application which turns a mobile telephone into a new kind of television remote control, and makes watching television a more communal experience.
A very similar story is that of Mobile Brain Bank, whose managing director Petra Söderling worked with Nokia for 12 years, developing the Symbian operating system. She lost her job last year.
This proved to be an opportunity Söderling had wanted, as she had been dreaming of starting up a company of her own for years. Now she got the boost that she needed.
“As the amount of work that I was doing had decreased, Nokia let me work on this in my spare time. I would not have been able to set up this company without Nokia’s support.”
Mobile Brain Bank links up companies that need mobile developers and those who are skilled in the field. It has a network of 2,500 experts, most of whom are former Nokia people. Many of its customers are from outside Finland, primarily the United States and Britain.
“There is a big need here for mobile developers, Söderling says by telephone from New York.
Both Koivisto and Söderling had honed their business ideas for a few years.
So far, the majority of former Nokia employees who have set up businesses are immigrants who came to Finland to work for Nokia, says Ville Simola, who heads the Startup Sauna programme in Otaniemi in Espoo.
“There are not so very many companies with a Nokia background. I would like to see many more in the future.”
Simola believes that many start-ups stand to gain from skills acquired at Nokia. “There is a shortage of knowledgeable people especially in the technology field.”
Koivisto and Söderling are sorry that Nokia is cutting so many jobs.
“The concern for what will happen to the company is great. I have seen so closely how the job cuts affect people”, Koivisto says.
Few of Petra Söderling’s former colleagues work at Nokia any more. “The firm where I worked no longer exists”, Söderling says.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Nokia eliminating up to 10,000 jobs in cost-cutting move (14.6.2012)
Nokia encouraging older employees to leave (22.12.2008)