Hello Reddit!

I’m Teuvo Heikkilä, the CEO and founder of the company Conexbird Oy. We are technology startup with groundbreaking innovations based in Finland. (www.conexbird.com)

Tl;dr: If some of you (I know you do) have seen HBO:s show Silicon Valley you know how it’s like around here. Our business is based on artificial intelligence assisted processes that can be embed into any container handling systems. This includes more fancy words like big data, algorithms, agile development and much more. It can save billions of dollars and help nature by being a lot more efficient than anything before.

Conexbird’s story:

Personally I’m a former Nokia R&D manager, which is quite common in Finland these days, and it’s also quite an important detail.

I came up with the idea for the company back in the days and I was sure this would make a great difference. I studied vibrations and logistics and I became more and more sure that it is possible to determine sea containers condition just by detecting how it vibrates.

One day, there was long story in a local newspaper where someone from larger logistics company clearly told that: “There’s no use for former Nokia engineers”. As a finn I’m, my first thought was “perkele” (Finnish word, google it). This couldn’t be true. But that gave me determination to start doing everything I could to make Conexbird happen. It gave me the “sisu” (another cliché finnish word).

Today, couple years later Conexbird has created and patented technology to detect containers’ and cargo condition by devices that can be integrated into any existing container handling device. This makes handling process’ many times efficient while needing no extra resources. The company has been helped by finnish universities and is granted by Finland’s government trough many organizations like Cleantech Finland.

Conexbird’s team is small (around 10 persons) where everyone is specialized in some area of the business. I have been extremely lucky to find the team I have, with no former experience about container logistics we have created something to revolutionize the industry. Customers at harbours have said: “in the last 40 years, no one has introduced us more ground breaking idea”.

The cargo industry we are about to change is enormous. There is numerous reasons and opportunities behind this. Globalization is happening faster and faster and more containers are being transported around the globe. Every year 180 million shipments are made and insurance tickets cost around 10 billion dollars. Our technology has an opportunity to reduce cargo losses, insurance bills and unnecessary work. Maybe even greater is how it helps nature. Countless useless shipments of empty containers can be prevented and the lift count of a single container can be cut to half.

Check our website at www.conexbird.com and don’t hesitate to contact if you want to join us and be part of the change! We are always open to new ideas.

I’ll be answering to questions as long as needed while working so there might be some breaks but, I’ll be back!

Now it’s Your time to ask me anything.

Proof: https://twitter.com/Conexbird , www.conexbird.com (news section)

EDIT: Now it's time to take some sleep. Thank you all so far, tomorrow morning I'll be answering for any questions that (I hope) you have asked :)

EDIT2: Back online, feel free to ask anything :)

Comments: 61 • Responses: 27  • Date: 

vbenes8 karma

with artificial intelligence.

Can you tell us more about what techniques/algorithms are you using? Is it able to "explore"&learn by itself?

What are your thoughts on general AI - i.e. AI that is able to act and adapt in any environment?

Conexbird0 karma

Our algorithms are extremely confidential and I'm sorry to can not talk more about those.

Something I can say is that we already have road map for self learning system which can operate by it's self. Hopefully this doesn't end up taking over our company. :)

Before Skynet's overtake we are planning to develop system that creates 3D-models from containers just from photos. We have already filed patent for this technology.

I'm sorry, I sometimes lose it a bit as a CEO.

Icon_Arcade6 karma

Hello. This sounds like a cool innovation. The website uses the word "product" AND "service," so I am left wondering if your company is marketing a product or a service or both. Is this a machine that attaches to existing cargo containers, or is it a special cargo container that you designed?

Conexbird3 karma

We integrate our technology to existing container handling devices and every device is connected to our Cloud service.

Our Cloud handles all the data from measurements and clients pay only for the data which tell's containers current condition.

As an example we can sell this information in real time to container's owner, container's handler and 3rd party which could be insurance companies for example.

d3sireToMoon3 karma

What does containers owner, handler and incurance companies benefit from this? Why would they pay for the data?

Conexbird2 karma

Container owner: Container's owner get's to know the containers exact condition and can use that information for container maintenance plan and schedule next route to destination with cheap maintenance.

Container's handler:

Operator: As partner, signs up to our service and gets free devices for the harbor cranes/container stackers. As partner, operator gets the container condition data from our service and then sells the data for the container owners. Operator gets direct profit from sold data.

Depot: Can do the same as operator, but they also get containers conditions faster and more accurately than by regular inspection workers. This saves lifts and the time containers are waiting for owners authorization to repair/use.

Insurance company: They have enormous data resource for their insurance claims and beside that this gives them chance to create a whole new insurance portfolio.

These are just a few examples, if you want more accurate answer on some part ask and I can write bit longer with accurate practical examples.

theszak5 karma

Could the technology/software be applied to taxicabs moving passengers around?

Conexbird5 karma

What exactly are you meaning? :)

everywhere_anyhow6 karma

We could vibrate the taxi passengers, measure that vibration, and see how it affects them!

Conexbird3 karma

What an excellent idea! ;)

theszak3 karma

Could the technology/software be adapted?... considering taxicabs as containers moving passengers.

Conexbird1 karma

If you see taxi cab as a car, definitely we could see is the cab OK or not, to certain a level of mechanical structure.

It's pretty absurd to think would the passengers be OK, but yes I think we could find out is there passengers on board etc. But I think there are easier ways for this.

If you have some idea and want to get more specific feel free to contact us trough our websites.

vriendhenk5 karma

What kind of acceleration are we talking about in these vibrations and how do you prevent/monitor fragile cargo from being damaged?

Conexbird2 karma

Container handling devices like cranes create much more G-force to the container than our devices. Our acceleration is just enough to generate oscillation to container. More precise information is confidential to our R&D team.

For cargo we create virtual fingerprint which indicates changes in containers content. This makes it possible to detect damage, movement or any other change in cargo. These changes can be detected even when contents weight keeps the same.

vriendhenk4 karma

So you would need this system on both/all ports that handle the container to have something to compare it to.

That sounds useful for the big ports that could easily afford systems like this but might be a problem for smaller ports loading smaller ships.

Any plans of having a system like this on the trucks that transport these containers to-and from the customer or perhaps integrate it into a weigh bridge?

Conexbird3 karma

For virtual fingerprint which is unique for every single shipment we do need to have our service at both ends. But common cargo damages and containers condition check does not need that. For these only one device is enough.

Client pays only for the results, so there is no financial risks involved for any customers. This makes it possible to any size of port or other container handler to start using our services.

We have already service (Conexbird Wings) which can be used to measure container even when it's on truck. This Wings can be used anywhere, so customers can select the best place for them to check the incoming containers.

Weight bridge integration is something we have plans for and it's waiting for pilot customer.

heppuu5 karma

As an investor I'm interested in how accurately your innovations have been patented? With this size market there is definitely people who want to benefit your ideas.

And the most important question: what is your company's value now, and what you believe it to be a year from now? And the reasons for it of course.

Conexbird3 karma

Patent for our core technology has been filed (patent pending) in Europa, USA and China.

We are currently seeking 1 million euros and negotiations start at 10 million company value.

In 2016 we are expecting to reach 20 million in sales. This would multiply company value to 50 million and beyond.

If we get the funding we are expecting, this is when the fast growing phase begins. In 2017 we are aiming all the way up to 200 million in sales.

Any interested persons should contact me right here or trough our website (www.conexbird.com).

Vonaviles4 karma

For what specific purpose are you currently seeking funding? (Extended R&D phase, additional prototype development, factory/assembly, sales and marketing, team growth, etc.)

Have you successfully brought any of your products or services to market, and if so, which ones?

Finally, which of your products/services do you intend to focus on for the immediate future (next year), and which do you think will be central to your future growth and success?

Conexbird3 karma

First of all sales and marketing which includes creating partnerships. Secondly assembly and maintenance partnering and third would be developing next product variance.

Our first service client works at Finland's largest port. We are currently on the service ramp up phase of the project before delivering our service. The delivered service will be Conexbird Wings.

In near future we are going for "OnFly" the service which will be integrated into existing cranes and container stackers to do the measurements while regularly lifting the containers. Currently we believe this is also the key to future growth and success. :)

Vonaviles4 karma

Interesting, thanks for the response.

I noticed on your website that one of your co-founders is also the Director of U.S. Sales. In regards to sales and marketing, are you actively pursuing potential partners in all major geographic regions, focusing on a select few, or weighing heavily on Finnish companies with plans to expand your efforts as you grow in the future?

Are there any challenges you anticipate facing that are unique to a specific geographic sector, and if so, what are they?

Finally, I have to say that your innovation was initially lost on me, but after considering the size of some of the freight ships I've seen in Europe and how many containers must travel across the world on a daily basis, I've come to recognize the vast potential value of the opportunity you are pursuing. Very interesting and innovative.

Conexbird2 karma

Technology maturation, usability testing, developing etc. Happens here in Scandinavia, but second target is to go to northern Europa's enormous ports. After that to USA, Asia and so on.

Sea containers and handling systems are globally the same. The differences come up in business logic, sales, maintenance and so on. We are planing to get partners for these different segments on different geographical locations.

Some numbers to help the math: Every year ~150 million sea container shipments are made. This needs around 1 billion lifts of the containers.

SmartAlice5 karma

Hello, you're very perceptive and creative. Would it be possible to do an article about you? I've been writing a series of articles on creativity in leadership and posting on Linked In. Your story is exactly what I'm looking for to tie into the articles of how leaders come up with new ideas to create innovative products. I'm going to PM you (sent a message in the private link) with the link to my articles. Please let me know, I really appreciate this. Best regards,

Conexbird4 karma

Thank you again for this great opportunity. It's awesome how Reddit connects people like this.

I answered to your email directly.

We'll be in touch. :)

Riitasointi15 karma

You talk about this being a very eco friendly invention/technology. How exactly is that?

Conexbird4 karma

Our partners have told us that: “More than 50% of all harbor incoming empty containers are too expensive to repair and sometimes we have to recall too damaged container back to the container hub”. These broken containers travel around the harbour waiting for authorization to be repaired or to be recalled back to container hub.

Our service makes it possible to container owners to send their containers straight to the right destination where repairing the container is desirable (Price, demand for empty containers, good quality). This prevents unnecessary transports of empty containers around the world.

Beside that at harbors our system can decrease lift count of single container from 1 to four lifts, because containers can be moved straight into the right bin or back to where it came from.

TL;DR: Less pointless transports of empty containers and decreased amount of lift's at harbors.

briin794 karma

how can someone like me buy shares or invest in this company? i dont have an extra million laying around this week unfortunately.

Vonaviles4 karma

They are seeking €1,000,000 for a base valuation of €10,000,000. This means that they are offering investors a 10% stake in their company in exchange for €1,000,000, however this is open to negotiations based on the amount that an investor or group of investors may want to counter with and the ownership percentage of equity that they will seek in return.

This is a relatively low target, so they will likely engage institutional investors who can gather the capital required according to the terms they agree to with relative ease. Having a sole investor, whether it be an institution or a high net-worth individual, is preferable in early-stage capital raises because it streamlines the investment process. If they pursue this strategy, they is no direct way for you to invest in their company. You can of course invest indirectly by owning or buying shares in the institution that eventually invests in this company, assuming they are publicly traded, but these negotiations are generally confidential so you would have no knowledge of which institution ends up investing until the deal is closed.

Alternatively, they can seek to raise their target capital through a crowdfunding platform. In this case, they would negotiate the terms and minimum investment amount per investor with the crowdfunding enabler. If you decide to do so, you would be able to invest as long as you had the minimum required amount to do so once the crowdfunding goes live.

Finally, they can try to raise funding by approaching an investment bank and issuing public shares. In this case, they would go through an IPO and their shares would be available for purchase and sale through whichever stock market they are issued on. To invest, you would simply buy whatever number of shares you'd like at the current market price.

Conexbird2 karma

Thank you for making so clear post about this.

We have had talks about crowdfunding, but since we are firstly looking for investor who's already involved in container logistic business. This would give us upper hand on many difficulties.

bigperson724 karma

What's your favourite breakfast cereal?

Conexbird4 karma

My son eats all the cereals so I really can't have any. :)

awsfanboy3 karma

Liking this field, looking to get into it. AWS machine learning? What is your take on it?

Conexbird1 karma

Today we do not use 3rd party AIs, so I really can't say anything about any of them.

In future we will be open to co-operate with AI companies for win-win setups where we offer our know-how.

awsfanboy2 karma

Ok. Seen the site! Amazing work and impressive concepts, thanks for the inspiration to dig deep into AI and machine learning.

Conexbird1 karma

Really glad to be an inspiration!

Good luck and have fun! :)

nikomo3 karma

Did you ever visit the Nokia compound in Salo? I went to the school next to the place, on the other side of the road.

I looked at the place when I headed home, figured it'd be cool to work there at some point. Then the place got Microsoft'd.

Conexbird1 karma

I have been there, but it was not my main working place. I worked at R&D in other parts of Finland.

Arsky3 karma

Hello Teuvo! Speaking of technology, where do you see yourself in 10 years and how will technology improve from what it is now?

Conexbird1 karma

I'm sitting on the board of a global company. The company will be multi-cultural, innovative and leading in it's own segment. Company will invest into startups and university studies and help on the road of creating something new.

I still have my propel-hat in the closet and I will be creating something new in my mind.

Today everybody speaks about internet of things. If we stay on that track our technology will be connected into everything. Ships, cranes and everything are communicating by themselves.

In 10 years we have proved that our vision works and we really makes a difference for logistics and nature. We have made a revolution.

kakoni3 karma

Hi Teuvo! Saw your pitch in Slush 2014. Atleast to me you guys were the most interesting company there.

Anyway, how did slush end up for you? Did you manage to meet interesting investors? Did those lead into anything?

Conexbird1 karma


That's absolutely great to hear!

We did meat very interesting investors and even some messages from future partners. And some of those have already lead into real deals.

RaspberryMarc3 karma

Do you have any plans for applicability with deep learning? Or do you think that you will eventually enter the field, but not for some time?

Conexbird1 karma

We do have technical round map to achieve this. We don't think it's that far so we really are moving forward to it.

its_metrognome1 karma

Can AI be hacked and programmed to harm? What are your thoughts on Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking being concerned about the danger involved with AI?

Conexbird1 karma

That's a real concern, but I really don't see that happening in the near future.

It would be a good start to prevent any future damages by limiting AI from high risk use i.e military etc.

I'd really like to hear more opinions about this.

TacticalDildoInbound1 karma

Who's your favorite Silicon Valley character?

Conexbird2 karma

This is the toughest one so far. They all are so awesome.

But if I have to make a chose it would be.. Jared.

ukralibre1 karma

Is it already used in production?

Conexbird1 karma

We are in the middle of our first delivery project with large Finnish customer.

vasili1111 karma

What happened to Nokia?

Conexbird1 karma

I left Nokia many years before Microsoft or the downhill of Nokia's phone sales. So therefore I really can't give any "insider" information.

qulli0 karma

If some of you (I know you do) have seen HBO:s show Silicon Valley you know how it’s like around here.

Not really! You are not in Silicon Valley, you are in Jyvaskyla!

I don't really understand why you are doing an AMA here? Do you really think that we are running container businesses or that we are some sort of business angels?

At least, according to your own page, you are 4 highly successful individuals with decades of experience! But despite of all this success, you are telling us you don't have 1 million euros to invest in your own company. So what it is? You don't have the money or you don't have will to invest into the business?

You said elsewhere that you expect to reach 20 million in sales in 2016. We are only few months away from year 2016 when you start making big money. Why you just don't wait till you get cash flow instead of seeking 1 million right now? To me, it sounds like that each co-founder just wants to get paid 250K this year.

Conexbird1 karma

Jyväskylä might not be Silicon Valley, but our workshop is like any other in the Silicon Valley.

In our case the investment isn't all about the money. We are looking for an investor with experience and contacts in container logistics. The invested money will be used to aggressive growth.

I personally think this is a success seeing all the discussion going on.

qulli-1 karma

I personally think this is a success seeing all the discussion going on.

Your bar is really low, isn't it :-)

We are looking for an investor with experience and contacts in container logistics. The invested money will be used to aggressive growth.

I was going to ask about this. 2 Finnish nerds. I get that part, but I don't get those 2 Americans. I mean what do they bring to your company? They have no shipping experience, no contacts, obviously no money and they both look so old that they might drop death at any moment.

How about competition? And don't tell me you don't have any. Big data is as old as you are and your business idea is straight from any big data 101 book.

Conexbird1 karma

Our core team has people from all ages, from Finland, USA and Germany. We really appreciate everyone and every single person is working hard towards our goals.

You are right about the competition. We have competitors and we have had to find and detect these competitors to achieve our first funding rounds. We also have plan how to deal with these and even how to do win-win setups.