LED tube manufacturer targets global market expansion
Only a year after transferring LED tube production from China to a rfully automated production line in Kajaani, the company’s home town in Finland, Valtavalo has been accepted into the first phase of the Young Innovative Companies (YIC) programme offered by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation. The initial production capacity of the LED tube manufacturers will be around 500 000 LED tubes per year.
A EUR 250,000 grant comes as part of the YIC programme and will help top up a strategic capital investment of EUR 350,000 that Valtavalo received at the end of 2013 from carefully selected investors who had experience and knowledge in managing large-scale business operations and internationalization.
“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.”
Before applying for the YIC programme, Valtavalo prepared for international growth by participating in the Go Global project, which was supported by Finland’s 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.
Laatikainen said: "we are expecting to launch our first products by the end of 2014. We expect international sales to grow by 200% in 2014".
As part of Valtavalo global expansion plans the company has recruited Maria Uusitalo to be the Export Director with the task of quickly establishing European sales channels. Uusitalo brings experience in international sales from companies such as Nokia and Elektrobit.
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 is aiming for a 50% increase in turnover and bigger profits.
Laatikainen reckons that initially the rapidly growing LED lighting market was quite confused by the cheap prices offered by the Chinese, but he beleives the Chinese 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.”
Valtavalo’s G3 LED tubes are a result of company’s own product development.The tubes are manufactured in the company’s Finnish production plant using the latest automation technology. The G3 LED tube is designed for high-ceiling environments and achieves a luminous efficacy of 119.2 lm/W.
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