Sami Niemi

Innovator and entrepreneur

I love technology, and the magic it enables. Tech is often too complex, and can always be simplified still letting the user do more. I like to think beyond the current established ways to do things – there is always a way to do things very different and very much better.

I’m really obsessed in creating a sense of purpose for my teams, as that establishes the set of beliefs and values they can use in their work, and they become less dependent on detailed guidance.

Early on my great passion was to explore the capabilities of computers to express things visually; initially by coding demos in machine language on Commodore 64, finally leading to founding of Scalado (2000), which grew to become a leading Mobile Imaging SW company with more than 1 Billion licenses sold worldwide to essentially the entire mobile telecom industry, including both OEMs licensing SW to their devices for innovative imaging capabilities, and HW vendors licensing IPR to ensure advantages in sales toward the same OEMs.

I spent huge amounts of time travelling in Asia and US to meet customers and partners to better understand how to improve our products, IPR, and most importantly connecting and engaging with the top executives of our industry making them adopt our vision as their own – naturally moving us to the core of their product making.

Scalado was successfully acquired by Nokia in 2012, and Nokia handset business was subsequently acquired by Microsoft, where I served globally as the Director of Photography in Windows group, until 2016. My former teams both in Sweden and Finland are still responsible for a significant part of the Windows photography experience although rest of handset business is shut down(!).

I’ve been involved with Spintop from early days: initially as an investor in fund I and II, and as senior advisor and member of the investment committee in fund II since 2016, where I’ve worked with a number of portfolio companies often with product and organizational matters.

I’ve been quite active in the startup scene often in roles as an investor, advisor or a board member. I’m also a co-investor in The Ground, one of the most creative startup work spaces in Malmö. As I’m passionate about technology, I’ve also taken the opportunity to spend significant time getting deep into the new trends such as AR/VR, deep Learning, block chain, and crypto – I was lucky to be an early investor in both Bitcoin and Etherium.

As an entrepreneur, I believe that there is no such thing as good luck in long term success, it’s all about active creation of opportunities, understanding which ones are real and worth pursuing, and consistent long term execution toward your vision with a great and empowered team living and breathing the vision.