Blog / 16.03.2018

A night of Vikings in the area of Photonics

Dr Mark Ollila, MBA, Board Professional, Executive Coach, Angel Investor

In late January I had the opportunity to attend Photonics West in San Francisco (over 23,000 attendees and 5000 presentations!). The area of photonics – as you can guess, is the branch of technology concerned with the properties and transmission of photons, for example in fiber optics. In Finland there are over 200 companies working in the area of Photonics, with over 50% of the companies having less than 10m euros in revenue and less than 15 employees. Nevertheless the industry is growing rapidly with market growing 20% annually, revenue 27% annually and employee numbers approximately 18% annually. From a Finnish perspective the companies export mainly to Europe (48%) and internally in Finland (44%). As can be seen from the numbers, exporting out of Europe into the US is a great opportunity, hence the strong attendance at Photonics West this year.


Attendance was a blend of Swedish and Finnish companies (though it did feel that the Finns overwhelmed the event). There were local US companies also in attendance, some in the M&A and investment field obviously having a look at what the Nordics could offer. Representing Finland were a range of companies such as Gasera, Nanocopm, Promiceler, VTT, Oplatek, Brighterwave, Senop, Ampliconx, Dispelix, Emberion, Specim, Spectral Engines, KimmyPhotonics, Nextrom, Optofidelity, NomiCam, ReflexKron, and several universities such as Tampere University of Technology and University of Eastern Finland. A strong presence all with pretty much the same goal – how to take Finnish expertise and make it big in the US.


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