Yepzon is a growth company developing location technologies and safety services. Yepzon was foundedas Otto Linna – now Chairman of the board – was reviewing statistics on missing persons and was baffled by the staggering number of unsolved cases. Turns out that in the EU and US alone, more than one million children go missing each year, with more than 100,000 of them never to be found. And when it comes to missing pets or vehicles, the number is ten times greater. Hence, he gathered a team and founded Yepzon in 2013 to address the issue. In our interview with Otto, we dig into his entrepreneurial past in more detail.
1. Why did you become an entrepreneur?
Years of the life of a payroll CEO was very busy and entrepreneurial. However, there was no real upside available no matter how hard you worked because you didn't own a considerable stake in the company. So it was natural to establish a business of my own.
2. What are you like as an entrepreneur?
Very dedicated and determined. I demand a lot from my people but always allow my team to access the success too. I love what I do and want to show thatthere is a solution to every problem.
3. What makes the story of your personal career interesting?
I have always taken the challenge that someone has called impossible. The local radio business was supposed to be a desperate business in Finland, now Sun Radios, whose CEO I was in in 2004–2013, are in the highest credit rating. The textile business was supposed to be the sundown industry in Finland, but now we run childrenswear retailer Ballot and our own brand Blaa in my family. Both of the companies are profitable and growing in double digits.
Now we face a global market of consumer electronics as a Finnish start-up company. Many people still suffering from Nokia hangover say that those times are over for Finns. I say the hell they are, the game is only beginning!
4. What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
Bringing out Yepzon ONE from planning paper to store shelves in only nine months. That process was so stressful and educational that I will never forget it. All the parallel processes in addition to sales efforts that started already before the device was even drawn were just crazy. According to Tekes, the Finnish funding agency for innovation, it was the fastest consumer electronics development process from scratch to sales that they had seen. During the nine month period we also did two investment rounds. Every day there was someone calling, saying that we need to postpone. But still, we did it.
5. What is your biggest professional blunder?
A radio station without a format. I assumed that in a world where all stations are strictly formulated, one playing just whatever and having hosts choosing the songs and themes would stand out as a successful concept. Well, it didn’t. It was weird and niche. That experience made me really understand consumer behaviour and especially the difference between talk and action.
6. What is your dream for your company?
To see the Yepzon brand existing globally and to know that over a billion people are connecting their lives with us.
7. Who is your role model and why?
Steve Jobs, no doubt about that!
8. What motivates you?
I love seeing things really happening and people getting inspired from my ideas. Questioning all the conservative assumptions and surprising with impossible things becoming reality. Money is important but it’s a business tool as well as consequence of doing my best. Money represents time rather than assets for me.
9. Why crowdfunding and why with Invesdor?
I’m people oriented, and so is Invesdor. Yepzon already has more than a hundred people as owners. We welcome more dedicated people to join.
10. Why would you invest in your company? Give three reasons.
- An exciting ride and times ahead
- All owners can contribute to growing our business
- Attractive track record of growth in the company's valuation