The article is written by Fluidit co-founder Kalervo Aho, “Kale”.
I met with Markus “Maku” Sunela, the future co-founder of Fluidit, in a bus coming back from the Tampere University of Technology in 2005. We both studied water engineering and were excited about computer sciences too. Maku had been producing code already from the time he was in elementary school, and I was very impressed with Maku’s water and software engineering skills. One day I asked him, “Why haven’t you started your own company?”— those words brewed in Maku’s mind for a long time. After 11 years of friendship, Maku called me and said:
“I think it is the time. Would you be interested in starting a company with me?”
Since we both are philanthropists, we wanted to start a company that contributes to healthier earth and safer societies. We also wanted to be a fair and inspiring workplace where we could have fun while saving the world. These ideas formed our mission as we officially launched Fluidit. Our bold company name combines the flow of fluids with the knowledge of ICT. We first focused on the water engineering consulting business to gain the critical capital to sustain the company. But in the background, we passionately developed our first software products.
As soon as we published our intention to form a company, Janne (our first Design Engineer) and Timo (our present CEO) were enthusiastic about being part of our promising endeavor. They both resigned their day jobs and jumped onboard to a bold voyage of start-up ship. Timo brought a deep understanding of the utility sector, and Janne expanded our data management and modeling expertise. Due to our wide professional networks in Finland, we had our first orders in place even before officially starting the business in January 2017.
I started as the CEO of Fluidit while Timo and Janne brought the food to the table with their steady flow of consulting work. In the meanwhile, Maku coded the first lines of the Fluidit hydraulic modeling software suite. It was clear from the beginning that we would develop separate software for water distribution, sewer, stormwater, and district heating networks. We received a vital seed fund and loan from Sitowise that helped us have a profitable first year in business. Our first software sales were made already in 2017 despite our products being still under development.
We are very thankful for all the early adopters of our software. You provided us with valuable insights and capital to continue our start-up journey.
Fluidit started to get momentum as our software suite was nearing completion and ready for global markets. Our first international customers were the multi-utility Veitur in Reykjavik, Iceland, and the water utility of Hue in Vietnam. Steady growth in the local Finnish market and the increasing international demand shifted Fluidit from the start-up phase to a scale-up business. The transition required new skills and re-organizing the company management. Timo took the helm as a CEO, and I focused on marketing and human resources. Fluidit has been growing steadily and profitably since the beginning, and we will continue to do so.
We aspire to continue having fun at work while doing meaningful work to solve the global issues resulting from climate change and urbanization. We support utilities, municipalities and engineering companies to do their best to operate in ever-changing and complex working environments.
We are on our customer’s side. We want to help them make the best possible decisions when they develop plans that will shape the future of cities and countries worldwide. We will be there, not only as a software provider but as a trusted partner. We enable decision-makers to steer communities to the best possible future where safe drinking water, sound stormwater, and sewer systems, and environmentally sustainable heating and cooling are commonplace and economically viable for everyone.
We want to let cities thrive!