Meet Vesa Perälä, the Founder of Claned Group. He was a senior executive at Nokia, Jabra and Coloplast for almost 15 years before becoming an entrepreneur in 2008. As the CEO of Web of Trust, Vesa grew the company to over 100 million users and closed deals with e.g. Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yandex and Mail.ru. Vesa has founded companies in five countries, has three exits under his belt and has raised over 25M€ in venture capital for his start-ups so far. He is a very experienced international business developer who is passionate about business models, scaling up, monesation mechanisms and strategic partnerships.
How are you as an entrepreneur?
I have been an entrepreneur since 2006 and consider myself a very experienced and networked business developer who is keen to create new and make an impact. I have founded companies in five countries, done business in over 100 and can close a deal anywhere. Creating new business models, establishing partnerships, finding best opportunities and getting things done makes me tick. I think I can surround myself with excellent people who are better than me in their own disciplines. I like doing business globally and could not imagine myself focusing on domestic market only.
Could you present your company?
CLANED (www.claned.com) is a fast growing Finnish education technology start-up. It applies in-house developed artificial intelligence and academically validated theories of education psychology revealing which factors impact individual learning. CLANED learns to understand how learners learn and optimises their study motivation and improves learning results. We started commercial operations app. 6 months ago with excellent results and are now working with some of the leading organisations in the world including Microsoft, Lenovo, Telefonica and United Nations to name a few.
What is the special value of your products/services?
CLANED is a unique machine learning product that learns how individual learners learn. We use this learning data to help everyone learn best in their own, personaliSed way.
Describe the main points and aims of your pitch?
CLANED has developed its product for three years and the technological risk is overcome. We have also proven that there is very strong demand for our solution and organisations are ready to pay for it. We are in a very interesting point of our journey and the luxury problem is how to scale up the business internationally as fast as possible. This is why we need additional investments. We lack resources to optimise sales and marketing in multiple countries, work 24/7 with our reselling partners and to ensure the technical architecture of the product can handle rapid growth. The CEO of our Indian reseller Lyncbiz summarised the status well: “Hats off to you and your technology. Lots of companies are showing keen interest. I have not seen so much interest at early stage before”.
The past, present and the future of the company
The past can be described by a few words: 100% focus on product and technology development. We have been developing the product since 2013 and got the first commercial version ready in December 2015. The present is all about shifting the focus to commercial operations and getting ready for rapid international growth. The timeframe for this phase is from January to August 2016. From autumn 2016 onwards it is all about growth, growth, growth. The global winners are the ones that execute the best and have the resources to do so. We have an excellent start and we are now ensuring together with Invesdor that we will have the resources to execute optimally. Our long term goal is to become the undisputed leader in personalized learning globally.
Why did you choose equity based crowdfunding?
We have used equity based crowdfunding since early 2013 and raised app. 3M€ so far. I think crowdfunding is an excellent addition to the toolbox of start-ups and for many it is also the best way to raise enough money for early stage operations. I don’t think CLANED could have raised so much money for the intense product development from any other source. In addition, I think crowdfunding and education are a really good match as individual investors often have keen interest in education especially in Finland where everyone knows the quality of our education system.
Why was this the right time to seek crowdfunding?
We are at an early growth stage and felt that we need a capital injection to boost the growth and be eligible and well-positioned for a larger Series A round later in 2016. Crowdfunding is the best option for this.
What were the biggest challenges in organising a crowdfunding campaign?
No challenges really. We know the scene well and received good instructions from Invesdor. The only question mark is the timing of our campaign as many European countries completely close for summer.
Why did you choose Invesdor?
Invesdor is the leader in online crowdfunding and we wanted to work with a partner, which is top notch in their own field.
Three reasons to invest in your company?
- Unique product and sustainable technological advantage based on a combination of artificial intelligence and education psychology theories
- Education is moving to digital and CLANED represents tomorrow’s solution today. We have fantastic references, proven capability to close deals and a huge sales pipeline.
- Very lucrative exit opportunities as the education technology market is red hot.