It was windy on the upper deck of a ferry that was leaving Helsinki and would arrive in Hamburg, Germany around 30 hours later in November last year. We were about start our journey to Sensmet’s first trade show, Aquatech 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Only a few days earlier, as always, our team finalised our first commercial next-generation µDOES® Multi-metal Water Analyser – the product that we were going to launch and live demonstrate at Aquatech. We were full of proud about our first real product which is to change the water quality monitoring and water process optimisation in several industries. Ten days, a week long live demonstration, hundreds of visitors and a European road trip later it was safe to say that Aquatech investment was paying off. Amsterdam provided us with some great leads, tons of experience, and above all, faith that we were doing the right things. Like a director of a large multi-national company who visited our booth said, “It looks that your product is ready, so let´s get to work and bring it to the field”.
Our unique µDOES® technology and MaaS (Measurement-as-a-Service) business model generated vast interest and we closed our first MaaS contracts already in early 2020 with a large steel company. At the same time, we had negotiations going on with several other parties. Unfortunately, at the same time arrived the corona virus and nothing was like planned anymore. A real tragedy for the entire world and a truly uninvited quest for a startup that has just launched its first product. As always, or at least very often, startups struggle either with sales or production or with both, but this time COVID provided some extra challenge for us. The situation occasionally gave some grey hairs for our team but especially for R&D and production who were struggling with delays from subcontractors and component retailers. After all, we learned a lot. What’s sure for us now, it is not possible to study or forecast all the extraordinary situations that companies face. Thanks to our understanding of customers and a huge effort from our team we were able to successfully deliver two more installations during the spring. Considering the global situation, we considered this as a victory.
Fortunately, the corona situation started to improve a little bit in Finland and the sun started to shine as we approached midsummer. The summer turned out to be a precious period for Sensmet as we were able to start collaboration with two very significant mining industry companies. One of them was Vale S.A., the third largest mining company in the world. Vale is a forerunner in mining water management and digitalisation. Smart water management presents a powerful opportunity to enhance the productivity and improve environmental impact and we are honored to be able to assist in this transition. This November we were planning to make a real field demonstration in Brazil with Vale but we had to change our plans once again due to COVID. Instead of going to Brazil, we offered a live pilot campaign over the internet. A new, yet very successful experience once again for our company.
The only thing I can say is that what a year it has been after Aquatech 2019 and the launch of µDOES® product. It´s actually challenging to summarise the full 12-months in a short blog. One thing I can promise to you. Many things are going on our side and we have learnt from all these challenges that will make us stronger for the future. New product launch is on the way, yes we have been developing also this year, taking place in the spring. We add also more intelligence into our cloud to make AI data analysis even easier for the process operators. Therefore you´ll hear from us a lot soon.
Stay tuned and let’s transform the water industry. Together.
– Kalle Blomberg von der Geest, Sensmet CEO –