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Distence's CEO: "I don't consider myself an entrepreneur"

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Distence's CEO Kim Korhonen sat down with us and told us what drives him as a CEO. Read below and find Distence's pitch and investment page here.

1. Why did you become an entrepreneur?

Since 2015, Distence has done a major change from a project company to a product company. I was invited to run this change and grow the company. Today we are doing basically the same things as we did before as a project company, Industrial Internet of Things technology, but we have changed the way we operate drastically. We are ISO9001 certified and with our productized system offering, we can help our customers reap benefits from IIoT fast and affordably. 

Even before Distence I’ve always been building small businesses bigger in hardware-, software- and industrial sectors of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Especially Original Equipment Manufacturer type businesses. Perhaps due to my background, I don’t consider myself as an entrepreneur in the true meaning of the word. To be precise I think I have an entrepreneur heart with a corporate background. I consider myself more as one of the team. Orchestrating the team work with great motivation for results and growth.


2. What are you like as an entrepreneur?

I am very direct, open and passionate to drive results. SometimesI can get a bit impatient when waiting for our work to get the results we are looking for. I value and respect hands-on type of people who get things done.

In a small company one of the most important things is to keep focus and to get lot of things done when driving towards a target. I feel that I say more “No” than “Yes” to my team. But I do that only to keep the focus clear on our way towards our strategic goals.

The results our customers can receive with our technology gives me motivation. Improved service business, cost savings, decreased energy consumptions, improved business in many forms. It’s just great that we bring something good for others!


3. What makes the story of your personal career interesting?

As a typical humble Finnish man who has a hard time to even receive positive feedback, I find this as tricky question. I personally feel that my wide professional experience is one of my strengths and what differentiates me from others. Before my business unit leader roles, I had responsibilities in sales, product marketing and marketing areas. I’ve done everything from advertising to branding and from technical sales to closing deals / negotiating frame contracts with Tier 1 global players. I built strategies, ran teams (and P&L) towards the targets. All this in small, rapidly growing businesses.  

Because of this I am confident in all areas and roles in a company. This helps me to understand and co-operate with the relevant specialists either inside our company our outside with external partners or people at any level on the customer side. Long experience with industrial sector customers both nationally and globally, has taught me to understand their businesses and specifically their businesses' pain points.


4. What is your biggest professional accomplishment?

Before Distence I won two significant deals. I am extremely proud of these not only because they were revenue wise significant but also because I got to use some exceptional selling methods to win them.

At Distence, there is not just one deal or activity that makes me proud. The overall business and team I feel are a huge accomplishment. For example, one of our customers just ran a campaign to hire quickly 10+ people into their field service team. Distence is of course only one piece of their success but we still consider that it also is partly our accomplishment that their services business is growing. 


5. What was your biggest professional blunder?

Actually, I don’t think I am able to name just one which would be over the top. But there are several client cases, mainly lost ones, which bother me. These cases are where we would had been the right choice, but the customer didn't choose us. Cases where I just didn't have the possibility or didn't use enough effort to direct the customer to do the right decision. Like a case where a customer chose 5x more expensive solution just because they couldn’t believe our solution was truly industrial grade, high quality solution with such a low price. Or a customer who decided to waste 10x more money and time in developing their own solution instead of choosing our ready products.

6. What is your dream for your company?

Grow the company revenue, team size, and technology level and find a leadership position as a respected partner for digitalising industrial assets in demanding environments.


7. Who is your role model and why?

I love sports and that is some sort of a lifeline for me. I haven’t had a chance to do sports for some time now unfortunately. That's why I respect smart energetic people who can combine work, family and sports together. Our former prime minister, Alexander Stubb is one good example. Or Juha Pankakoski, the CTO of Konecranes. 


8. What motivates you?

Mostly results and being part of and leading a successful team. Also the capability to deliver success to our customers and other operational environment.


9. Why crowdfunding and why with Invesdor?

The Invesdor platform just provides an excellent way of collecting funds which is needed to accelerate our growth. We also look forward to having large number of committed investors who will share our message into their networks. Helping us to grow and realise our dream!


10. Why would you invest in your company?

  • Operating in a very rapidly growing Industrial IoT market, which is still in its early phase and its growth is now accelerating into speed
  • Unique technology and long experience in delivering solutions that help industrial customers build better businesses
  • References and proven technology: installations in more than 40 countries by global players

Read Distence's pitch here.


Tagged: entrepreneur interview, fanleague

Joel Kettunen

Written by Joel Kettunen