From innovations to products in just two years

1.2.2021

Betolar has done successful work paving its way to the gates of commercialization. An active board has played a key role in helping the company reach the necessary growth and to open doors to internationalization.

Betolar’s mission is to create an alternative to cement-based concrete. With Geoprime® solutions, concrete manufacturers can achieve up to 80 percent lower CO2 emissions in their production. Manufacturers can also reduce their use of virgin natural resources in their raw materials. 
 
In the summer of 2018, the company was still in a different phase. In the summer of 2018, the company had a number of innovative solutions in its hands that could radically reduce CO2 emissions in the construction industry. The question was, which applications areas to focus on, which markets to enter and what business model to build. 
 
A small group of top professionals had already gotten together to form the board. The members included the founder Juha Leppänen, Raif Nisametdin as a representative of the lead investor Ajanta, and Sitra's senior sustainability advisor Timo Mäkelä who has a strong background in environmental issues in the European Union. Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, who is known for his former career in Nokia, has also strongly supported the refinement of the strategy as an advisor of the board. Juha Pinomaa, who has a strong background in commercializing innovations and building international growth from Nokia and Suunto, joined the company as the Chairman in 2019.
 
In the beginning, the innovations had come into existence not only by strong know-how but also by extensive experimentation. Juha Leppänen has a background in industrial processes and innovation technology. 
“A couple of years earlier, Juha had started to develop concrete products. He had designed fantastic mold solutions to make the surface of concrete products look wood-patterned, ”says Pinomaa. “He began to test how concrete could be produced in an environmentally friendly way without cement. Through testing, he discovered the world of geopolymers.” 
  
Science and top researchers play a key role at Betolar. Juha Leppänen hired Mirja Piispanen, an experienced doctor of chemistry, to study geopolymers from a scientific perspective. 
“Mirja brought the company a strong understanding of material physics. She continued to develop formulation expertise with Juha, for countless of industrial side streams. There was a huge amount of application ideas for different applications.” 
The other key person on the research is the scientific director Maria Korppi. She has made strong international experience in experimental physics in both academic and industrial research. She develops Betolar’s materials research and technological applications. 
 
Many of these technological solutions which were few years ago exciting thoughts and plans are now true. 
  
Now Betolar is at its new turning point. The promising company just performed a financing round and as a result of that, there are three new professional investors already cooperating with Betolar; Taaleri, Voima Ventures and Valve Ventures.
The first step in Betolar's strategy is to license its new binder material solutions in Europe and Asia. 
"We are in the beginning of commercialization and we will launch sales in our key target markets. I will continue to pilot our Asian market entry project with my previous (Nokia) Asian experience", says Juha Pinomaa. 
  
At the same time, Betolar is preparing for the next phase of its growth strategy. As part of that, new low-carbon material solutions will be industrialized using the latest artificial intelligence and sensor technology. 
"In connection with the funding round, we also decided to strongly expand the board's expertise to prepare ourselves for the second phase of our strategy." 
Pinomaa will continue on the board but has handed over the role of chairman of the board to an artificial intelligence professional. 
“It’s great to hand over the Chairman role to Tero, who is going to support the company’s next development work for smart solutions. He is definitely the best person I know for this job. "