Loudspring — Beyond ‘Cleantech’ and ‘Investment’

By Lassi Noponen

By Lassi Noponen

Following the release of Cleantech Invest’s (Loudspring) strategy update, Chairman of the Board Lassi Noponen comments on the announced identity and elaborates on the strategic outlook below.
As we have continued to grow, we will not allow our success to turn into complacency. We have only just started, and we understand the potential we have and are now shifting gears towards global status. Our strengthened position has allowed us to take a longer-term approach to our operations, and we are now able to ask ourselves — where do we want to be in 10 years?
We have taken the decision to avoid comfort and embrace change as we have done for over 10 years. The world needs businesses to be flexible and willing to challenge the status quo. Being nimble has already allowed us to capitalize on new opportunities, and remaining nimble will help us steer the firm in the right direction, whichever direction that may be.

A week ago, we announced the change of our company name to Loudspring and today we have announced significant changes to our strategy moving forward. This strategic shift is something I am really proud of, and is the culmination of years of insight and careful consideration about how we continue to provide value to shareholders as well as remaining ahead of the curve.
You can read our new strategy outlook here but the following is my own elaboration on what all this means.

What’s in a name? Everything.

As many traditional companies have branded themselves as cleantech, the term has diluted during the past decade. And it is true that many successful companies have focused more and more on efficiency and reducing negative environmental impact. Loudspring, however, has a clear goal of a big positive environmental impact — the more we succeed the more natural resources saved. We want to communicate this more clearly through our new identity.
We are not interested in us being a part of a ‘pack’. We are interested in remaining ahead of it.
Loudspring is a forward-looking company that will continue to support ‘clean technologies’ of course, but will not lean on the term ‘cleantech’ to prove it. Sharpening the point, when everything is cleantech, nothing really is.
‘Investing’ doesn’t optimally reflect what we do today either. Sure, we have invested in our companies and will continue to make investments in solutions that solve global challenges, but investing for quite some time has not been our core activity. Growing the portfolio companies is what we see ourselves as doing mostly, as well as making bold strategic moves like our California and other international expansion. Our involvement in the portfolio companies has steadily increased over the years and we intend to step up this trend as Loudspring.
The identity of Loudspring is based on the desired end result of our work, which is the improved wellbeing of the Earth’s ecosystems. Deploying new technologies is one, but not the only, tool for us to help achieve that result.

Why ‘Loudspring’?

Loudspring takes inspiration from Rachel Carson’s famous book ‘Silent Spring’. Carson wrote about the use of environmentally harmful pesticides such as DDT, raising the prospect of a ‘silent spring’ without the sound of birds in nature. It may seem far-fetched today, but back 50 years ago, our ecosystems were facing some very grave prospects due to pesticide and chemical use. Carson was a quiet revolutionary in many ways, and her book sounded the alarm. She can be credited with being one of the founders of the mainstream environmental movement. This type of game-changing effort appeals to us and Loudspring pays respect to her efforts.
A related vision is that of a ‘loud’ spring, where nature and biodiversity truly thrives. Healthy ecosystems that are brimming with life, overwhelming the senses, bringing joy and wellbeing to societies. The name matches our vision of maximizing our positive environmental impact and encourages and reminds us to use our own voices and actions to best achieve that vision. As you have seen recently with our own increased communications, we like to be bold and thrive when we are pushing the limits and changing the game. Loudspring is about being loud and proud about what we are doing, and even shouting from the top of a mountain when there is a need to challenge the, old status quo.

A Strategic Shift — Growth in value equals growth in impact.

As mentioned in our strategy update, the Nordics are the technological growth engine of the world, rivaled only by California. We believe this more than ever. We have been able to do our part in combating climate change and solving global challenges by growing and deploying Nordic solutions to the markets where they make the most impact. The results speak for themselves: since the Cleantech Invest IPO in 2014, the share has shown over 50% return per annum to investors.
Our ambition is to continue a high growth track and we are focused on getting results. We are continuously evaluating new ways to increase the main form of shareholder value creation, which is the continued value appreciation of our share. We are ambitious and optimistic about the opportunities ahead of us, but we are realistic about the challenges as well. Not every company we invested in as Cleantech Invest turned out as successful as others. This is the reality of the journey ahead — there will be ups and downs. We will openly communicate these ups and downs, and learn from them as we grow.
Loudspring is an impact company, focused on saving the Earth’s natural resources, with holdings varying from minority venture holdings to majority holdings forming the core of our operations in the future. Instead of seeking an exit for a portfolio company, we will also consider consolidating a specific company’s operations into our group, having a majority ownership or even a wholly-owned business. This is a big change from the investor/accelerator identity and approach we had as Cleantech Invest and it is the best way for us to play to our strengths while increasing shareholder value. We are out to create a thriving global enterprise, focused on environmental impact by saving natural resoures.
This change won’t happen overnight, but it is clear through our increased ownership in Nuuka recently that the ball is rolling. The consolidation of selected holdings will generate a myriad of opportunities for Loudspring, ranging from synergies in customer acquisition to efficient sourcing and talent acquisition. Essentially, our re-focused approach, policy and ownership structure will result in Loudspring becoming an industrial company that is more similar to a ‘Green’ high tech company with a venture arm, than a standard portfolio of companies. Loudspring will be a leading industrial actor in selected business areas, providing real environmental impact while maximizing value for shareholders.

Image courtesy of SpaceX.

Are we building rockets or colonizing Mars?

Space X doesn’t just build rockets. No, they are going to colonize Mars. Our aspiration is akin to Space X in that with Loudspring, we don’t want to grow companies that do this or that at the moment, we are going to change the way the world consumes and impacts nature.
Taking control of our own destiny will allow Loudspring to free itself from the valuation stigma of a company that does not directly influence its own future revenues, and we trust that the consolidation of certain portfolio companies will eventually allow the market to take a different approach to the valuation of us. We will be able to express our vision for the future, control our revenues and have that be reflected in our share price beyond the sum value of our parts.
Through setting bold targets, we can provide a stronger voice to our solutions who will be able to use this claim as their own while continuing to grow. Any progress is considered a step in the right direction.
I am proud to be part of a team that is out to disrupt laggard legacy industries. Nothing short of changing the world for the better and creating value for our shareholders is what we are here to do. We will be bold, vocal, and disrupt even ourselves in the process. The best way to predict the future is to create it.
We are Loudspring, and we intend on leaving our mark.
Contact information:
Lassi Noponen, Chairman of the board of Cleantech Invest Plc. Tel. 358 40 501 5127, lassi.noponen@cleantechinvest.com
Cleantech Invest in brief
Cleantech Invest is the largest cleantech accelerator in the Nordic region, boasting several fast growing and high impact companies that solve global challenges. The portfolio companies are active in energy- and resource efficiency as well as decentralized renewable energy and are based in Finland, Sweden and Germany. The company management consists of company builders and investors who have been active within the cleantech space for over a decade.The company is listed on First North Finland under the ticker CLEAN and on First North Stockholm under the ticker CLEANT A.
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