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Hall of Fame

Per Ericsson enters Cleantech Scandinavia’s Hall of Fame!

Per has been a Venture Partner at ETF since inception. Based in Stockholm, he sources new investments in the Nordic region as well as helping ETFs existing portfolio companies grow. Before ETF, Per ran GE-s business across the Nordic region and the Baltic States. Per has also worked at Motorola Semiconductor Europe, where he held various senior positions in Sweden, UK, Germany, and Switzerland.

This Hall of Fame is a homage for all the years that Per has been successful in attracting international venture capital to the Nordic region, pushed many innovations forward by investments and guidance and for being our close member and friend at Cleantech Scandinavia.

Soon to be retired from his tenure at ETF Partners, we welcome Per Ericsson to the Hall of Fame of Cleantech Scandinavia and we share a bit of our recent chat with him, with some perspectives, advices and plans moving forward.

Having worked with many startups and investors, his main advice to start-ups is to find and work close with a potential customer to see what they need. “Simplicity is always best and having closeness to a customer is key to keep your product innovative yet simple”. For Investors, he says to “avoid big capex as everything takes much longer times and cost more”. Prepare an exit plan and establish who will be the off taker from the beginning.”

When asked about his perspective on big industry and the adoption of innovative solutions, Per believes that it is an area that startups still need to improve: “Big industries have always looked at more efficient ways of production but for small start-ups it will take time to get into companies production and get approved, sometimes it can take more than 5 years.  I have seen super technologies that do not fit in a cost-effective production line. A piece of advice at early stage is to talk to potential customers regarding what they need and not what you hope that they need.”

About these special times we are living in, he believes that the pandemic will slow down cleantech investments and business, maybe some will not survive, but in the longer term he thinks there can be an extra push to improve the environment and investors deciding to increase their portion of impact investment. Moreover, Per’s impression is that everyone is talking to increase the investments in impactful businesses, however, investors like pension funds must make sure that new technology can deliver same or better yield than today’s technology. “It’s up to the Cleantech segment that they can show improved profitability not just improved environment benefits “.

His plans for the upcoming retirement is to “enjoy for the first time in my life with an empty calendar” (good one, Per!) and to keep an eye in possible investment opportunities.

The official motivation is: “Per has meant a lot to the Nordic Cleantech sector for bringing ETF Partners, one of Europe’s most active Cleantech Venture Capital Fund, closer to the region and for supporting many Nordic entrepreneurs with valuable advice and contacts.”

As the previous nominees, Per Ericsson received a piece of art from renowned famous glass artist, Christian Svensson.

We would like to thank Per Ericsson for his immense contribution to the Cleantech sector and for being our partner and friend for all this year. We wish you great days of summer and a joyful life ahead!

Another exceptional Nordic cleantech promoter, Alexander Lidgren, joins the Cleantech Scandinavia Hall of Fame!

Alexander Bigge Lidgren, Managing Director at Cleantech Invest, was inducted into the Cleantech Scandinavia Hall of Fame at an award ceremony at the Cleantech Capital Day in Oslo. Alexander Bigge Lidgren is Partner and CEO of Cleantech Invest, a cleantech investor and accelerator listed in Sweden and Finland. Previously, he was managing the cleantech portfolio at the Swedish Energy Agency. He has an entrepreneurial background having co-founded Cleantech Scandinavia and Nordic Cleantech Open where he was also the managing director.

The official motivation is: “For his relentless work to promote and accelerate Nordic cleantech, for his inspiring capacity to explain the relation between sustainability and financial opportunities and for leading the way in opening up the opportunity for individual investors to invest in Nordic cleantech companies.” 

At the ceremony, Alexander Bigge Lidgren received a glass sculpture from the famous glass artist, Christian Svensson.

Read the press release here.

Professor Lars Samuelson – The first Swede inducted into the Cleantech Scandinavia Hall of Fame!

Lars Samuelson professor

Lars Samuelson professor

Professor Lars Samuelson, director of the Nanometer Structure Consortium, was inducted at an award ceremony at the Cleantech Venture Day in Malmö.

The hall of fame has three members since before, in 2009 it was given to Lassi Noponen (the Investor), in 2010 to Alf Bjørseth (the Entrepreneur) and n 2011 to Markku Koivistu (the Intrapreneur). Adding Lars (the Researcher) is a tribute to his achievements but also highlights the crucial importance of his and others’ business – driven researchers in cleantech growth.

Lars is one of the leading researchers in nano-science in the world. He is an innovative visionary that has not only created a world-class Nano-competence centre in Lund as a research platform for new materials, but also managed to realize his visions in creating game-changing cleantech companies like Glo and Sol Voltaics.

Glo develops and commercialises nanowire light emitting diodes (LEDs) for illumination markets in Sweden and internationally. The company has been successful in attracting international venture capital and established an engineering centre in Silicon Valley, but is still connected to the research environment in Lund.

Sol Voltaics AB introduces a new type technology that can produce materials for solar cells that generates a higher efficiency with an attractive low cost for customers. Sol Voltaics will be in Malmö these days at Cleantech Venture Day to meet with international investors in search of capital to build a factory for large-scale production.

The official motivation is:For creating a world class research-based cleantech applications generator that has the eyes and ears of international finance. Lars Samuelson is an inspiration for showing how to turn research into business”.

As the previous nominees, Professor Samuelson received a piece of art from renowned Raku-artist Dan Leonette who resides in Gotland, Sweden.
Read the press-release »

Markku Koivisto is the next Hall of Fame nominee!

markku_koivisto_webMarkku Koivisto, Director of UPM ProFi was awarded Cleantech Scandinavia Hall of Fame nomination during the Cleantech Venture Day in Lahti, Finland, on November 4th. He joins two people that are already in the Hall of Fame, Lassi Noponen and Alf Bjørseth. They have both received this peace of art from raku-artist Dan Leonette who resides in Gotland, Sweden.

The theme of this year’s Cleantech Venture Day is “cleantech goes mainstream”. This will of course not happen by itself, but needs the help of driven individuals in big industrial companies who see business opportunities where others may see threats, or simply costs. We are very happy to give this award to someone who is one of these, often unsung heroes who initiate and change things in their respective companies.

Markku saw tonnes of clean plastic and paper being buried in landfills or burned. Since he hated the idea of buying an expensive raw material and throwing it away he instead turned this into a business area producing good looking and long lasting wood plastic composite, a valuable material very similar to hardwood.

During a tough time, when his company has cut personnel with 5,000 people, he has grown this unit from nothing into 60 people, two production sites, a rapidly increasing turnover and is looking at further rapid growth with sales now covering all of Europe and initial sales also happening in Asia. This business unit is now the fastest growing unit of a parent company UPM, one of the world’s leading forest products groups.

The official motivation is: For changing the way a big company does business by turning waste and CO2 emissions into a business opportunity. The rapid growth of the UPM ProFi business unit shows by example that a cleantech business area inside a company can achieve superior results even in hard times. Markku Koivisto, director of UPM ProFi Business Area has given the Nordic industry an inspiring success case of how a wastestream goes mainstream.
Read the press release »

Alf Bjørseth enters Cleantech Scandinavia’s Hall of Fame!

alfbjrseth_award_resAlf Bjørseth is the founder of Norwegian company REC, one of the world leaders in the solar industry. The company went from idea to a stock listing of 50 billion NOK in little over ten years providing the Nordic region with a clear-cut success story of cleantech growth along the way. Alf moved on to manage Scatec, a cleantech venture capital/incubator focusing on renewable energy and environmentally friendly materials that has new potential world leaders such as Norsun, who attracted the largest cleantech investment in the Nordics in 2009, OceanWind and Scatec Solar in its portfolio.

The official motivation is: “For showing that a Nordic cleantech company can become one of the world leaders in their field. The story of REC provides the Nordic cleantech sector with its biggest success story to date and inspires current cleantech entrepreneurs to believe in a high growth trajectory. By putting good money to even better work, Alf continues to provide a foundation for a whole range of success stories through venture funding and incubation in Scatec.”

Alf Bjørseth thereby joins Lassi Noponen, chairman and founder of WinWinD in the Hall of Fame.

The Scandinavian Cleantech Hall of Fame awards people that have inspired others in the Nordic cleantech industry, helping to accelerate Nordic cleantech development and growth. It is handed out by Cleantech Scandinavia at its events, it is not sponsored and has no other purpose than the above. A piece of raku art by a well known artist Dan Leonette, residing in Gotland, was handed to Alf Bjørseth during the Cleantech Capital Day in Oslo, Norway on June 3rd.

Read the press release »

The first entry to the Hall of Fame: Lassi Noponen!

lassi_noponenDuring the Cleantech Venture Day in Lahti we gave a special award (a pice of raku art by Dan Leonette) to Lassi Noponen from Finland. This was the first award of this kind and also marked the opening of a Scandinavian Cleantech Hall of Fame, where we will continue to award people like Lassi who have inspired others in the Nordic cleantech industry, helping to accelerate Nordic cleantech development and growth. Lassi was a true early mover in the Nordic cleantech industry. He started cleantech focus investment firm Proventia as early as 2000. WinWinD was the result of a spin-off in that time and Lassi was the chairman of WinWinD when the investment from Masdar Cleantech Fund went into the company.

The official motivation is: “For showing by example that big capital injections from international actors are possible in the Nordic cleantech sector. The investment by Masdar Cleantech Fund in WInWinD was a milestone for Nordic start-ups looking for investors in the commercialisation stage. It was the single largest cleantech investment by far in year 2008 and helped place the Nordic region on the international cleantech capital map.”