‘We are facilitating the new paradigm of the software designed car’. : A Q&A with Basemark CEO and founder Tero Sarkkinen
Tell us about yourself and why you founded Basemark
I’m Tero Sarkkinen, the founder and CEO of Basemark. I’ve been running software companies for over 20 years and the previous company I founded is called Rightware, which operates in the field of automotive user interface software.
I started Basemark in 2015 to respond to how the automotive industry was undergoing major transformations towards software-defined vehicles that are autonomous, electric, and connected. We have positioned Basemark as the automotive OEMs best friend. We develop and licence the operating systems that go into transforming OEMs from hardware manufacturers to software companies that power the future of automation. Our vision is that more than half of the cars produced in the world will be running on our operating system, Rocksolid Core.
Tell us about a company milestone for 2022 that you are hoping to reach
We are growing rapidly as a business. Our target markets are the European and North American automotive OEMs, since we are headquartered in Helsinki, with subsidiaries in Munich and Detroit. We are growing the personnel and operation in both of those areas this year since it will allow us to keep working closely with our pilot customers. We are actively recruiting top talent, especially on our engineering team sites.
This talent will all work towards achieving our corporate goal of acquiring at least two pilot customers this year, which will be worth hundreds of millions of business per deal eventually. We already have one, so we have set ourselves in good stead for the rest of the year.
Tell us how sustainability is core to the business and your mission
Road transportation at large represents close to 25% of global CO2 emissions. Our software enables and facilitates the new paradigm of the “software designed car” and we are accelerating the migration to autonomous and electric vehicles. In doing so, we are supporting the drastic reduction of CO2 emissions. We are also working on software related to a full electric powertrain, which will further contribute to powering the future of sustainable automation.
What is your greatest achievement over the last year?
We are constantly working to develop and innovate with our Rocksolid Core software and in August 2021 we launched an ambitious, full end-to-end operating system. That has been gaining a lot of traction with the OEMs. Subsequently, we entered into a multi-year partnership with BMW, creating the augmented reality navigation system functions for their latest models, including the electric iX range. These cutting-edge applications use vehicle sensor data and computer vision functionality to enable AR-enhanced information to be shown on the car’s Central Information Display, helping drivers with vehicle interaction and to be more aware of their surroundings.
How has ETF Partners’ support helped to shape the business?
ETF Partners were the first VC investment that we accepted as a company in Summer 2020. We received a lot of interest from different VCs and we chose ETF Partners owing to the expertise, passion and mission of their people. In particular, Remy de Tonnac, who is now on our board, has been able to make high level, immensely relevant introductions to customers, analysts, investors, and partners alike. The entire ETF Partners team has helped us level up to the exciting and expansive position we currently occupy. We truly value their support of our business, and we look forward to their continuing expertise in facilitating our mission to make the automotive industry sustainable for the future.