Hannu Turunen is the chairman of the board at Youredi. He has also been supporting Youredi’s journey in providing the global logistics industry with B2B integration solutions as an early investor. We had a chat with Hannu a while ago about his background, his years leading Stonesoft, how he sees the global logistics industry, and why he believes in Youredi.
Tell us about your background. In Finland, many may know Stonesoft, a firm that you co-founded and sold to McAfee in 2013.
I studied Software and Systems Engineering at Aalto University (previously Helsinki University of Technology). I was developing software myself before the first commercial personal computers came to the market. Initially, we had to get our computers built for us.
My engineering background started with process automation, and I was working at Finnish Sugar even before I graduated from Aalto. As for my master’s thesis, I developed control software for a new Ion-selective analyzer at Kone Instrument Division, and after that jumped back to Finnish Sugar. I learned a lot about process automation and how the technology itself works. Understanding process automation has been important throughout my career, as I can grasp how the technology is constantly developing.
After I had been working at Finnish Sugar for a couple of years and completed my MBA at Aalto, Oracle opened its business in Finland. At that time, Oracle had a team of 400 people globally, and I was hired as the first salesman in Finland for Oracle local three people team.
At that time, data management utilizing relational databases (later data warehouse) were the hype. At Oracle, we were revolutionizing how information technology worked, and I had the opportunity to learn a lot about B2B software. I hired a data warehouse expert, Ilkka Hiidenheimo to Oracle. He left Oracle, and I followed half a year later, to found a company of our own, and this was the time when Stonesoft was born.
In the beginning, we were developing extremely difficult and complex data warehouse solutions that we also needed to integrate into the existing business solutions and software in each customer case. At some point, we delivered a solution for Tekla that they used for their GIS (Geographical Information System). We applied this solution to build one of the first data cube models in the world. This is how I became familiar with data management.
Later, we hired a guy with a background in telecommunication and started consulting telecommunication companies on network security. Very soon we found out that there was a need in the market for a fully redundant firewall solution, so that in case the computer that the firewall was running on would break down, the firewall would still be there. We built the high availability firewall applying our StoneBeat high availability system to the first stateful inspection firewall product CheckPoint FireWall-1.
Before we even started to code the StoneBeat solution, we asked our customers whether they would need the solution we were about to develop and in no time, we had 4-5 sales orders. Once the product was ready, we already had additional sales orders from all over the world, and the company started to grow very rapidly.
In 1999, Stonesoft was listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange with secondary offering in 2001 with the perfect timing.
Besides just simply developing the high availability system, we added our own firewall and later intrusion detection to our product to observe and block outside attacks. While testing the features, we applied so called advanced evasion intrusion patterns. This gave us a competitive edge and helped Stonesoft to gain prestige on the market. In the end, McAfee, an Intel company, decided to acquire Stonesoft in 2013.
So, in short, my background is in process automation, data management as well as system integration, and internet security.
You have also invested in Youredi and you’ve been the Chairman of the Board for a little over 1,5 years.
Youredi was an exciting investment opportunity, as I’ve seen how organizations are building their business critical systems and how much they rely on data integration solutions when they need to connect their internal applications and how the need has been increasing for connecting with trading partners, subcontractors, or with customers. It’s interesting how the demand for more state-of-the-art integration solutions has been evolving.
I have a dual role in Youredi, as I’m a shareholder, as well as for the last 1,5 years I’ve been the Chairman of the Board of Directors. I wanted to join and help Youredi to grow, as I think that a cloud-based integration platform as a service (iPaaS) is inescapable in global B2B trade. I firmly believe that iPaaS is the tool that you need if you want to build any type of integration. I also believe in the strategy Youredi chose: customers do not want to have only a tool and build the solution themselves. They want that the iPaaS vendor to develop and maintain the solutions for them.
From the investor point of view, I always find it important that the team is entrepreneurial, they have the right background, and the right attitude and approach towards growing the company. I invest in teams aiming high and reaching their goals by hard work. In terms of companies and products, I only invest if the company has the prerequisites to be successful internationally.
Competing globally is always a challenge. You need to have credibility and trustworthiness. You need to understand how you can help your customers and build a long-term win-win business relationship. You should be able to show the world through your customer cases what you can deliver, how long will it take, what will be the costs and how the cost of ownership will develop.
Youredi has a strong focus on the logistics industry. How do you see the industry from an integration point of view?
There are some companies in the logistics industry, especially in parcel delivery services that have been able to scale their business by streamlining all aspects of their operations, like FedEx, UPS or lately Amazon. However, most companies in logistics are not as advanced concerning end-to-end integration.
Logistics is extremely important for the global economy, just think about the number of airlines, ocean shipping lines, rail and road transportation firm and their shipping capacity. The logistics industry can still gain huge advantages of integration. Many are still using their legacy-specific systems that were once a competitive advantage. Today, a fully integrated supply chain with visibility to the stakeholders is your competitive advantage.
Amazon and other modern logistics companies alike are forcing older logistics firms to improve the way they operate. The logistics industry needs to become more efficient, as customers require certain service with certain price. This is why logistics providers – whether shipping lines, air cargo firms, road and rail logistics firms – need to develop their operations to be able to respond to the increasing efficiency requirement of their customers. They need to integrate their systems to be able to share the data and ensure that the customers get exactly the services they need for their operations.
I believe Youredi will have a significant role in helping companies to develop connectivity across their ecosystem.
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