Startup of the Day: Maire, Finland’s online demand analytics company

Maire, a predictive analytics software startup, was founded in 2023 by three siblings, CEO Otso Laakkonen, CDO Varpu Laakkonen, and CTO Terho Laakkonen. Maire develops an online demand analytics platform to provide its customers with predictive insights about their product offering. A month ago, the startup received €450,000 in a funding backed by Finland’s angel investors.

In the Startup of the Day column, Otso Laakkonen, Varpu Laakkonen, and Terho Laakkonen, the founding team of Maire, share the details about the startup’s idea, its product, and future plans.

The Startup of the Day column on AIN is dedicated to tech projects from all sectors that originate from the CEE countries. If you would like to introduce your project, please fill in the questionnaire.

Tell us about your startup. How does it work?

We turn online demands into an on-demand offering through predictive insights. By analyzing online search demand, we build a real-time, continuously updating view of the relevant demand forecast for up to 24 months ahead for large B2C customers.

How did you come up with the startup’s idea? What was the reason/motivation behind it?

Our grandparents from our dad’s side, Maire and Veikko, owned a shop and ran their own business in North Carelia back in the mid 20th century. We spent a lot of childhood summers running through the shop-turned-storage hallways. Maire was a kind and strong woman and without her, Veikko wouldn’t have been able to do what he did.

Our grandparents from our mother’s side, Maire and Lasse, were also entrepreneurs. Lasse was a silversmith, and together they ran a small shop in Töölö, Helsinki around the same time. Maire was gentle and supportive, and never played favourites.

Later, Otso has started several businesses from underwater logging to software automation consultancy. Terho has always had a side hustle or two while working for exciting startups. Varpu always dreamt of running her own design business and took that leap a few years back, and Touko has been working in prominent startups in various growth roles.

The three of us started to develop the product through our own unique perspecitves. One through customer acquisition, another through visual experience and the third from an engineering viewpoint.

How long did it take to reach the prototype or MVP? What did you encounter?

It took about a year to find our sweet spot. Initially, we started with marketing department but quickly realized that the market is crowded and the budgets are small.

Moreover, we understood that the data we can gather is more valuable than gold. It was quite staggering to notice that the marketing department was the only one utilizing this precious data.

From the very beginning, our own approach has been highly strategic, so it was a natural progression to refocus our efforts higher up in the value chain — where the budgets are larger and where our data can truly be utilized,

Marketing works with the existing offering, but Maire is utilized where the offering is decided. Now, we are selling to CEOs instead of SEO’s.

When exactly did you launch your product? Or when the launch is planned?

We are currently only taking in selected customers that are a strategic fit for us.

Tell us about the startup’s business model. How do you monetize your product?

Our SaaS model is structured such that the customer selects the number of categories they wish to track, and pricing is adjusted accordingly.

What are your target markets and consumers?

Our market has been global from the very beginning. Our customers are large B2C retailers and brands. We are experiencing the positive challenge of generating interest across various industries.

If the startup has already launched the product, what are the results: metrics, income, or any clear indicators that can be evaluated.

Our Q1 revenue surpassed our total revenue for 2023, and our revenue in May exceeded that of Q1. We anticipate reaching cash-flow positivity by the end of the year.

What about your team? How many people are working in the startup? If you’re looking for new employees, indicate whom exactly.

We are currently a team of five and looking to expand with the addition of predictive analytics expert, preferably those with PhD. We only hire based on real need, and at the moment, we are able to achieve everything we want with our current personnel.

Fun fact: We are a family business that needed a CDO and CTO when starting out, and amusingly, the best ones available turned out to be my siblings.

Have you already raised any investments? Provide us with more details on each funding round: the amount, investors, the purpose of the investment.

We raised an angel round of €450,000 to get ourselves off the ground. Investors include notable names such as Smartly’s founder Tuomo Riekki, Hoxhunt’s founder Karri Kurunmäki, and the former CEO of Dextra, Leena Niemistö

What’s next? Tell us about your future plans.

We are building what is as close as it gets to a crystal ball for large B2C companies, and in many respects, it already fulfills this vision. Everything we build or do is expected to be at the world’s best level, and we see no reason why we shouldn’t become the world’s number one prediction tool for B2C.