A precise laser for fighting cancer from Tampere
– We have been on the brink of bankruptcy, says Modulight’s CEO Seppo Orsila.
This is hard to believe when you look at where the laser company from Hervanta, Tampere is today. The company has been profitable since 2014 and it has been one of the most profitable industrial companies in Finland for several years. Some 98 % of its annual turnover is formed by exports.
– Many consider Finland a backwoods area, especially in the US. They say we are “Western Siberia”. Still, I can't think of a big Silicon Valley tech company that hasn't been our customer in one way or another or demonstrated an interest in us.
Orsila is thankful for the company's good fortune, but not all of the success can be attributed to luck. Among the company’s trump cards Orsila lists expertise, a heterogeneous work group and a systematic approach to building the company.
Modulight is rooted in the Tampere University of Technology, TTY. The company was founded by former TTY researchers but the current crew is a diverse bunch. Orsila is glad that the age distribution of personnel is 18–60 and 40 % of employees are women. Educational backgrounds range from academic engineers to molecular biologists.
– In the long run an interdisciplinary team will defeat a highly specialised and homogeneous team in problem solving.
Orsila and his team made two choices that now appear to have been crucial for their success: they decided to focus on lasers required by cancer treatments and on the US market.The precise focus paid off and now many of the best cancer hospitals in Europe and the US use Modulight's lasers.
Many consider Finland a backwoods area, especially in the US. They say we are “Western Siberia”.
According to Orsila health technology alone is not enough to keep their laser factory running. Today Modulight also develops lasers for use in genetics, ophthalmology and the automotive and satellite industries.
Now Orsila has reached a stage where the company has been doing well for long enough that Orsila can lift his foot off the investment brake.
– We will soon be getting a top-tier electron microscope from Japan. We are also investing 23 million euros into expanding our production facility.
- CEO: Seppo Orsila
- Turnover: €11 million
- Business result: €3 million
- Ownership: 90 % owned by employees, 10 % by other private individuals
- Based in: Tampere
- Number of employees: 70
- Founded: 2000
- Customers: many cancer hospitals, Hewlett Packard, Olympus, Vaisala
This article is part of TEK's 125 year anniversary series, where we present Finnish companies that advance sustainability in their operations. Check out all of the articles.