Valossa interview with Mika Rautiainen, CEO

  1. What does Valossa do and what product/service do you sell?

Valossa is a video recognition and content services company. We are creating a new generation of software intelligence that can understand what is happening in videos and audio, and make sense of that data at the level which humans interpret it. So the point of our company is to enable this next era of computing-ware, and have them make sense of this human level of data and make applications on top of that. We are making sense of the world’s video media, and consumer analytics systems to add value to other industries as well.

  1. When did you start developing an interest for this industry and what motivated you to make a product or service for this industry?

I founded the company with the co-founders in 2015 at University, and we were foreseeing the emergence of the cognitive systems. We saw disruption in the science when it came to creating new software that could make sense of this type of perceptual data, and decided to make a difference. We had been researching this data since 2001, and decided to start testing this technology after I got my PHD in 2007. It eventually developed into the company as it is today in 2015.

  1. What was the search process for investors like?

The first process for us was to start connecting within our University. We had department contacts that were able to get us in touch with investors, and we managed to close our first round of investing with the support of a few local venture capital firms and angel investors in 2015. Since then, I have been very active in the capital markets attending lots of investor events locally. I was able to raise 1.8 million euros in the seed round, and also have applied for and received many grants which has helped a lot. In total I think we have raised nearly 3 million USD of capital for the company.

  1. How was the experience of being financed by a Venture Capital?

There are always upsides and downsides of this process. The benefit of course is getting capital and money in order to hire and develop resources for the product. However, the funds are typically structured to have different time scopes for return on investments, and different trajectories that they want to follow. This dynamic may or may not run parallel with the market maturities, so it is always a balance between these forces in play.

  1. What kind of support do they offer to you and your business?

Currently we receive investor support in terms of company buildup, business development, capital raising, and legal support.

  1. What advice would you give to someone who has a startup or a small company that is looking to grow their business financially?

Focus on understanding your target market. Experiment early with customers and try to avoid free work. When you gain customers, it is important to know that they will actually have monetary commitment to your work. This is especially important when dealing with large corporations, and is also a word of warning. Be careful when scouting opportunities from leads, and how it relates to your market approach. Reality is always different than what you might assume about the dynamics in the marketplace where you want to put your product or service.

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