Finnish investors to boost ZIPic's growth

22.8.2005

ZIPic Oy starts the manufacturing of miniature size electronic modules in Tampere, Finland. The production clean room and highly automated production line will be completed by the end of 2005. Cost of this investment is about one million euros.

ZIPic Oy (founded in 2004), has undergone ownership arrangements, where Funds managed by Venture Capital companies Sentica Partners Oy, Holtron Ventures Ltd. and Finnish Industry Investment Ltd. together with Mr. Reijo Paajanen, the CEO of Minutor Oy, became shareholders of ZIPic Oy. The founders of the company Raimo Mäkelä, Klaus Turhanen and Sampo Aallos with Tero and Noora Ristolainen will keep their ownership in the company. ZIPic's resources will be further strengthened by investments from Tekes (National Technology Agency of Finland), Finnvera (Finnish state-owned financing company for Finnish businesses) and T&E Centre (Finnish Employment and Economic Development Centre). The value of the total financing package is nearly three million euros.

Mr. Raimo Mäkelä has been appointed as the Managing Director (CEO) of ZIPic Oy. Mr. Klaus Turhanen is the Director of Technology (VP) and Mr. Sampo Aallos Director of Production (VP).


Turning research knowledge into commercial products

ZIPic's main products are miniature electronic modules. The products use the System in Package (SIP) module technology developed in Tampere University of Technology. With this technology electronic modules can be greatly reduced in size and weight, but still improve their reliability. The ZIPic technology enable several layers of thin interposers to be stacked onto each other to build the module. The module itself is a functional system and also the easily usable component. The complex system can be built from building blocks, and features added or reduced depending of the number of modules used. Due to the new technique, the surface area of the typical module can be kept under a quarter of a square centimeter and the height around one millimeter. The key features of this technology are fast design cycles, easy testing and good cost-effectiveness.

ZIPic's first products are crystal oscillators. Test series have already been manufactured. The products use oscillator IC's developed by Micro Analog Systems Oy. The application areas include various Data Communications Equipments such as Broadband Modems, Cellular Base Stations and Wireless Network Products and devices, such as Cellular Phones. The company will have own products, but will also develop and manufacture applications specific modules for OEM customers. The capacity of the first production line is about ten million modules annually.

ZIPic invests strongly in growth both in production and design aiming to Worldwide Markets, especially the United States and Asia. Large Component Manufacturers can incorporate ZIPic's products as parts of their own products.

According to Managing Director Raimo Mäkelä, Electronic Modules manufactured in Finland are very competitive thanks to the cutting-edge technology and highly automated production line. The development of the production process has been an important part of the product innovation, which is protected with several International Patents.

According to Mr. Mäkelä, the start-up loan acquired from Tekes for the founding of the company enabled the development and manufacturing of prototypes. The new Investment Package ensures the speedy start in Production and Product Marketing activities.

- We preferred domestic investors to back us up. With this arrangement we hope that the company's expertise will remain in Finland, says Mr. Mäkelä.


Model example of new industries

- ZIPic has successfully turned a University Innovation into a Commercial Product. The product and technology expertise are unique. Very few enterprises have a Completed Product and a good Network in to the International Markets at this stage. The entrepreneurs have long expertise in Microelectronics: in Research, Commercializing Innovations and International Marketing and Sales. This kind of combination is exactly what investors are now looking for, claim Investment Director Lasse Grönlund from Sentica Partners and Managing Director Sami Lampinen from Holtron Ventures.

- ZIPic's Electronic Module is a fine example of a product that can be manufactured competitively in Finland, thanks to the high technology expertise and automated production. The common and strong investments from different investors ensure that the company has a steady start in the International Markets, estimates Director Reijo Paajanen.

- ZIPic represents new industries, the productive operations of high expertise that Finland now needs as Labor-intensive Production shifts to countries with lower employments costs. The company goes well together with our strategy for creating new growth companies in Finland, says Director Henri Grundstén from Finnish Industry Investment Ltd. According to Mr. Grundstén, it is important that the company is financed by several strong investors who represent both private and public capital.


Sentica Partners Oy is the leading private venture capital management company and development partner for SMEs in Finland. The company was formed as Sentio Invest Oy and Teknia Invest Oy merged in 2004. Sentica has offices in Kuopio, Tampere, Lahti, Joensuu, Mikkeli and Vantaa. Sentica manages 83 million euro investments through 13 different funds. The company has investments in over 100 companies. www.sentica.fi

Holtron Ventures Oy is a Finnish venture capital management company concentrating on early-phase investments within the ICT sector. Holtron Ventures takes active part in developing their target companies. The company was founded in 1999 and now manages three different investment funds.

Finnish Industry Investment Ltd. is a government-owned investment company administered by the Finnish Ministry of Trade and Industry. The company promotes the productization and commercialization of new innovations by investing in Finnish seed and growth stage enterprises. The direct funding enables major investments in corporate development, corporate restructuring and the launch of new significant industrial projects. In June 30th 2005, the current investments and investment commitments were 279 million euros. www.industryinvestment.com


Further information:

Managing Director Raimo Mäkelä, ZIPIC OY
Tel. +358 400 670 697, E-mail: raimo.makela@zipic.fi

Investment Director Lasse Grönlund, SENTICA PARTNERS OY
Tel. +358 40 559 6102, E-mail: lasse.gronlund@sentica.fi
www.sentica.fi

Managing Director Sami Lampinen, HOLTRON VENTURES OY
Tel. +358 40 520 5295, E-mail: sami.lampinen@holtronventures.com

Director Henri Grundstén, FINNISH INDUSTRY INVESTMENT LTD.
Tel. +358 50 431 0840, E-mail: henri.grundsten@teollisuussijoitus.fi
www.industryinvestment.com