Mention to anyone while traveling that you live in Philly, and it’s only a matter of time before you are asked about cheesesteaks, Rocky, Will Smith or something of the sort. While Philadelphia is a town of neighborhoods, each with their own local flavor, it’s worth noting and reminding folks that the first UNESCO World Heritage City in the U.S. has a lot to offer on the global stage.
After over 55 years of serving as the catalyst for connections and resources that would help hundreds of startups and ideas progress into thriving business, the Science Center amped up its Global Soft Landing program to help local companies find their foothold overseas and vice versa.
Enter VULCAM an early-stage tech company from Finland, now based out of ic@3401 and the first participant in the Science Center’s U.S. Market Expansion Fellowship.
In this inaugural year, the six-to-12 month fellowship has offered introductions to networks, access to investors, support with operations, market strategy, logistics and implementation; assistance hiring the right personnel - and more than could ever fit in a blog post.
“Discover the Invisible” is VULCAM’s slogan which is appropriate given their technology’s ability to allow mobile devices to fully capture movement from all angles. And so, much like the Science Center’s efforts around the perception of Philadelphia worldwide, its founder Asko Roine, is in the business of opening up previously hidden vantage points for the viewer.
Read on to find out what his company is up to, how linking up with the Science Center has made the difference in VULCAM’s big move, and what inspires him in his downtime.
What attracted you to Philadelphia specifically, as the global landing place for VULCAM?
As an outsider eyeing the U.S. marketplace I knew that good connections for travel, an inviting ecosystem that’s open to outsiders and potential investors, and a reasonably priced workforce would all be important. Philly has all of the above, along with a lower cost of living than many other big cities on either coast. There’s also tremendous potential to be found in the concentration of great universities that are located here in the form of possible partnerships, research and even highly-educated interns. Plus the time difference isn’t too bad! Compared to being out west, it’s easier to communicate with our team back in Europe.
Talk to us about what your startup does. What need is VULCAM trying to fulfill?
VULCAM has created and patented technology that allows you to capture time-synchronized video using multiple mobile devices in one easy go. It’s currently used for biomechanics movement in both sports performance and physical therapy education by essentially placing iPhones around a subject and controlling the recording from your iPad. It’s the easiest, fastest and most effective way to collect video data of any 3-dimensional movement and have it at your fingertips immediately so you can analyze all the desired viewpoints.
In which ways has the Science Center supported VULCAM?
The Science Center has helped us with connections that are so crucial for a newcomer, linking us to
bookkeepers, potential clients, investor networks and even advisors. Because of the Science Center’s vast internal knowledge, we are getting mentor support from so many different angles, whether it’s strategy or finance.
What milestones are you hoping to achieve in the next 12 months?
The reason VULCAM came to the U.S. really was to scale the business. Some of our milestones are hiring sales and marketing personnel and raising our first round here in the U.S. to really ramp up our growth. We’ve always targeted this market and now we are in a good place and with a strong partnership with the Science Center, to make it happen.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a startup when attempting to go abroad?
Whenever you are entering a foreign market there are challenges; finding the right people who can help you avoid potholes on the way from funding to bookkeeping, and more. Also, choosing the right place to enter the market and the right partners requires a lot of work, and is key to any success.
What has surprised you most about Philly since you’ve arrived, and when you’re not working, what do you like to do?
I have really been pleasantly surprised by this city and the more time I spend here, the more I like it! It has an edge to it and a versatile cultural scene. The startup scene here seems to be very lively as well and open to outsiders. I picked up jogging as a result of my frequent traveling and have enjoyed running as a way to explore all the different neighborhoods in Philly. The verdict is still out on the weather though!
Hey…you can’t have it all!
Learn more about our Global Soft Landing program