Towards international markets with new data technology

The booming data business of a Finnish media house was launched as a company of its own. The new company, Data Refinery Ltd., commercializes data in Finland and aims at international markets where it has seen a promising start in the Nordic countries.

A group of start-up workers having a meeting in lounge chairs, sun shining into the modern office.

Aller Media was the first media company in Finland to commercialize its data for external use as part of its business transformation from a print media company to a company that offers a wide range of content, marketing and data services.

Data business is at the core of the company’s strategy, and it has grown 350% in the accounting period ending this September compared to the previous accounting period.

After the promising growth since the beginning of the year, Aller decided to transform the data business into an independent company. The new start-up was named after Aller’s successful data service “Rikastamo” (Refinery) and is now called Data Refinery Ltd.

"Data belongs to everyone, and thanks to the data platform we have developed, data will now be accessible to everyone."

“Our data team has worked almost like a start-up inside our company from the very beginning. Now we have reached the point where we make it a real start-up and invest in its internationalization. Data belongs to everyone, and thanks to the data platform we have developed, data will now be accessible to everyone,” says Aller Finland’s CEO Pauli Aalto-Setälä.

Silhouettes of people walking on a street under a bridge in a big city, trees and tall glass buildings on the background.

Aller’s data business has recently gained major Finnish brands as customers, mainly to make their marketing more effective through data. Now, Data Refinery aims to attract corporate customers who want to commercialize their data for sales purposes, and who want to develop their existing business with data.

“We are very happy that persistent and extensive development work has now paid off,” says Sami Lahtinen, CEO of Data Refinery, who previously worked as the Director of the Data & Digital Solutions business unit at Aller Finland.

The data monetization platform includes a data visualizing tool, which has received Google funding, in order to make data more accessible to non-experts.

For commercializing data and using it to develop businesses, Data Refinery has developed a data monetization platform. The platform includes a data visualizing tool, which has received Google funding, in order to make data more accessible to non-experts. Using the tool enables you to monitor consumer profiles and their interests compiled from various data sources in real-time, highly useful in targeted marketing, for instance.

Data Refinery offers the same service in Finland and internationally: it helps companies such as media houses commercialize their own data. Two other Aller Group countries — Sweden and Denmark— have already kicked off data business with enthusiasm, inspired by Finland’s example. After a good start, Data Refinery will commercialize their data this autumn.

Data Refinery's two female VP's and male CEO in white Data Refinery hoodies that have the company's logo on them.
Data Refinery's VP Sini Kervinen, VP Laura Avonius and CEO Sami Lahtinen are excited to head towards international markets with their data expertise. Photograph: Pasi Murto.

In addition to the Nordic countries, Data Refinery seeks to gain a foothold in the United States markets in September. In the US, its potential clients include media that want to commercialize their own data. Data Refinery will be present at the Finland 100 Technology Seminar, organised by the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce in New York in September. The event showcases internationally interesting Finnish innovations that are looking to expand to the American market.

People find it interesting that a media house has succeeded in developing a technological product and commercializing its data.

“We have been well received at international events so far. People find it interesting that a media house has succeeded in developing a technological product and commercializing its data. What stands out in our story is the courage we have had in building this business, and that we know what to do with data. First we commercialized our own data with good results, and now we are providing this service to others,” says Data Refinery’s VP Laura Avonius, who is in charge of innovation and internationalization of the start-up.

Currently, Data Refinery employs 15 data experts, including 3 former key players in Aller Finland’s data business. In addition to Lahtinen and Avonius, Sini Kervinen now works for the start-up as a VP in charge of technology and service.

“What makes us stand out are the high-quality data sources from our and our data partners’ networks, as well as our technological expertise. This combination is supported by the most suited technology platforms to share this data with as many people and purposes as possible— including international fields,” Kervinen concludes.

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