Finnish LED tube manufacturer Valtavalo is aiming for the global market just one year after transferring their LED tube production from China to a fully automated production line in Kajaani, the company’s home town in Finland.
At the end of 2013,Valtavalo received a strategic capital investment of EUR 350,000 from carefully selected investors who had experience and knowledge in managing large-scale business operations and internationalization.
Valtavalo was also recently accepted into the first phase of the Young Innovative Companies (YIC) programme offered by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation. Among other things, the programme involves a EUR 250,000 grant.
The first step on the path to internationalization has already been made: having gained experience in international sales at companies such as Nokia and Elektrobit, Maria Uusitalo was recruited to be the Export Director and quickly embarked on her first assignment—the establishment of European sales channels.
Internationalization is a natural process
Being accepted into Tekes’ YIC programme means meeting extremely tight selection criteria,” says Markku Laatikainen, CEO and co-founder of Valtavalo. “For example, the requirements include that the company must be less than six years old and already have evidence of highly ambitious business operations.”
According to Laatikainen, the internationalization of Valtavalo has been a carefully considered and natural process resulting from the introduction of fully automated production in Kajaani in 2012.
Before applying for the YIC programme, Valtavalo prepared for internationalization by participating in the Go Global project, which was supported by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) and implemented by Finpro. In addition, Valtavalo took part in an internationalization preparation project supported by the ELY Centre and, most recently, in the YIC preparation project aiming for acceptance into the YIC programme.
In a group of top-quality Europeans
Founded in 2008, Valtavalo achieved a turnover of EUR 1.65 million – and a small profit – in the financial year ending in May 2013. During the current financial year, the company aims at a 50% increase in turnover and even bigger profits.
Laatikainen expects international sales to grow by 200% in 2014.
The rapidly growing LED lighting market was quite confused by the cheap prices offered by the Chinese, but according to Laatikainen, they no longer have the ability to tempt corporate and public sector customers.
With our G3 LED tube, we are finding our way into a group of ‘top-quality LED tube manufactures in Europe’, where we can offer highly competitive prices in comparison with those larger operators currently shifting focus to the LED market.”
Laatikainen reveals that Valtavalo is working on a record number of simultaneous product development projects.
In this context, we are expecting to launch our first products by the end of 2014.”
The next opportunity to see Valtavalo’s current product range is at the International Exhibition of Electricity, Telecommunications, Light and Audio Visual held in Jyväskylä, Finland, 5–7 February 2014.