IGL-Technologies Oy (IGL), a company that produces digital parking solutions, was born and grew at a campus. The proximity of the university has facilitated recruitment and helped in product development.

“The business idea came from the Tampere University of Technology when I looked out of the window during a lecture. I thought I should get the car warm, or it wouldn’t start in sub-zero temperatures. That’s how the idea was born,” says Alexander Ivaine, one of the founders of IGL.

In 2010, IGL developed the first product: eTolppa, the remote-controlled car heating post and electric car charging point. Five years later, the Tampere University of Technology (now the University of Tampere) needed to develop parking at the campus, and it ordered 300 eTolppa posts for the campus.

Three years later, the electric car boom started, and IGL’s business expanded rapidly, so the company needed appropriate premises.

Synergy benefits from the university

From the outset, IGL was looking for premises next to the Tampere University of Technology. The proximity of the university was considered valuable, both for recruitment and for academic joint projects. Over the years, IGL has been involved in various school projects, master’s thesis projects and lectures. In addition, the car park at the Hervanta campus has served as a natural laboratory for the company, where it has been able to test new product developments. Currently, some IGL employees are studying at the university. Short distances make it possible to work between lectures.

“I would also have liked to have a similar opportunity when I was studying at TTY. I was working then in Toijala in addition to my studies. Commuting took a few hours a day,” Ivaine says, laughing.

According to SYK’s Leasing Manager, Hanna Saario, the proximity of the university and companies creates mutual synergy benefits.

“University campuses are international research concentrations. When the university is so close to companies, this spearhead should be mutually utilised. It should also be noted that universities also need business partners,” Saario says.

Facility needs will increase as the business grows

In the early years, IGL’s first office was small, just like the company. As the operations expanded, the premises also grew. During its history, IGL has moved to larger premises four times. Moving within the campus has been easy and convenient.

“At the turn of the year, we moved to larger new premises yet again. We now occupy a whole wing on the top floor. The premises consist of two open spaces and six rooms. In addition, we have a laboratory for development and our own reception for customers. Resting space, sofa and a TV make the space comfortable,” Ivaine says.

A growing trend is companies seeking to relocate near universities

According to Saario, companies are increasingly seeking to relocate close to universities. The companies often open a branch at the campus for research and planning departments, for example. At the same time, chain companies benefit from SYK’s extensive area of operations, which enables the agile expansion of operations. In addition, facilities for day-care centres have been renovated at the campuses, which makes the campuses more versatile multi-user environments.

“We are pleased to be involved in developing the operations of companies by offering premises matching their needs. Our extensive area of operations covers 12 cities and 16 campuses, which helps us see things from a broad perspective. We are able to offer versatile options with universities,”Saario says.

SYK’s extensive area of operations has also helped IGL, whose digital parking solutions are also in use at most universities around Finland.

Targeting the conquest of Europe

IGL’s next goal is to expand to international markets. At the end of 2020, the operations extended to the Baltic countries, and Sweden will be next. High growth targets also mean new recruitment and intensive work sessions.

“Eighty per cent of the employees are at the workplace the whole time. When much of the day is spent at the workplace, the premises must be comfortable and change shape as operations expand. Matters with SYK work smoothly, and our needs are listened to. It’s good to start seeking growth from here,” Ivaine says.


© Suomen Yliopistokiinteistöt Oy 2020