Finnish startup company bets on Finnish blueberries

Although they are only 18 years old, Patrik Pyöriä and his three class mates already founded a successful company. “I’m Blue” is the name of the startup firm that produces blueberry soda.

The four school friends behind the company I’m Blue are  C.E.O. Ida Salo, Production Manager Patrik Pyöriä, C.F.O. Otto Korhonen, and Marketing Manager Helmi Nurkkala

The whole thing started back when Patrik was 16 in Finland. They had an entrepreneur class in school and Patrik and his three friends tried to put their heads together to come up with an idea that would be fruitful on the market.

“We thought about what trends right now. Health is a big thing – and what is more healthy than Finnish blueberries?”

In the beginning, production requirements were small and so the four students produced the soda themselves – all by hand. They were also the ones who came up with the recipe, and that was not an easy task:

“We had barely made juice before, but decided to simply try making soda and after multiple failures we got the first viable version of the soda.”

The project moved along and in 2016 the four students won the competition for young entrepreneurs in Finland, which was very motivating. Later, they represented Finland in the European competition that year and even though they did not win they wanted to continue. Business slowly started to take off, as the students perfected the recipe, and it was not long before they realized that they needed to scale up in production. In spring 2017, they founded the Ltd I’m Blue and started manufacturing at a Finnish brewery.

 

Looking for contacts in Singapore

I’m Blue has worked with Visit Finland since last year, and this year Patrik Pyöriä joined Visit Finland on a trip to Singapore where he represented his company at ITB Asia: the biggest travel trade conference in the region, which took place at the Marina Bay Sands on October 25-27.

The main goal was for the start-up company to get exposure and get contacts, both domestically and internationally. Patrik explained that they are very interested in the Asian market, and especially Singapore.

As part of the Suomi Finland 100 anniversary, the Finnish Embassy in Singapore held a Midnight Sun Party at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel on October 26. Here, Patrik got a taste of the corporate world at its finest and the guests got a taste of the new company’s blueberry soda, which everyone received in a goodie bag. The Suomi Finland 100 mark is on the soda’s label this year out, celebrating Finland’s 100 years independence.

 

I’m Blue does not have to stop at blueberries

Right now, the label on the blueberry soda has the Suomi Finland 100 mark on it. However, this will change by the beginning of 2018.

Right now, the soda is sold in more than thirty stores, restaurants, and cafés in Finland. The hopes are to be in even more stores domestically but also to expand to other markets, where South-East Asia is at the top of the list. However, that is not all, Patrik explains:

“Not only do we want to succeed in business, we wish to continue contributing to the society. We have been inspiring youngsters to take on entrepreneurship and to push their limits to exceed their comfort zone and that is also what we will continue doing in the future.”

Even though, the company name ‘I’m Blue’ suggests that the production of sodas will begin and end with blueberries, Patrik does not look at it that way:

“Since the beginning we have had the idea of expanding the product family. We have had multiple ideas of infusing uncommonly used berries into sodas, but these plans are still open. The name I’m Blue does not in fact exclude continuous expansion as there are many colors to rely on.”

Leave a Reply