Teams 2021-2022

The Germinator pre-incubator programme started in autumn 2021 with the first batch of four teams selected from 15 applications.

The idea

We offer the only possible solution to produce crops such as cucumber, tomatoes and beans, in urban farms near the consumers.

There is a Growing consumer demand for sustainable and hyper-local food and food retailers are scrambling for these kind of products to meet this demand. There are great urban farming solutions to produces lettuces, herbs in urban farms. However, more nutritious tall plants, such as tomatoes and beans, cannot be farmed in urban farms currently, because they are just to tall to be fit in an urban setting.

We have innovated an automated growing device, that makes the plant grow in a horizontal direction. This new way of growing cuts the hight of a cultivation layer from 6 meters to less than one meter. What this means is that we can fit these plants in any building and we can produce up to five times more food per m2 with very little manual labor and we are able to so in an urban environment near the customers.

Expected value from the Germinator programme: Advice on business model planning, contacts and encouragement.

The core team

  • Titta Kotilainen, PhD. has more than a decade of experience in plant photobiology and controlled environment agriculture.
  • Panu Miettinen has overseen the business planning in two vertical farming-related commercialization projects in Aalto University and Luke and these projects have secured over 1,2m€ in funding in total.
  • Hanna Lindqvist, Senior specialist (impact, exploitation), has specific competence in research and commercialization funding, exploitation of research results and impact of projects from a broad point of view as well as innovation management.

The idea

Mäsli is a FoodTech solution, which produces A tasty fibre- and protein-rich grain based raw material from a by-product of the brewing industry called brewer’s spent grain (BSG).

Because 1/3 of food produced goes to waste, there are many new solutions needed to tackle the challenge of food waste, and we do it by upcycling BSG.

Our products are healthy both for people and the planet. The first product developed is granola, but we plan to make a wide variety of products in the future. The technology we use is based on fermentation technologies. The solution not only benefits the end consumers, but also breweries who currently don’t have a good outlet for their waste.

Expected value from the Germinator programme: Sparring from the mentors for a wide range of topics from finance to food safety plus doing product development in the laboratories of Viikki.

The team

Pauliina Piuhola – Co-founder, CEO

Master in Food Economics

International background

+4 years experience in food waste businesses

Lari Pihlanjärvi, Co-founder, CTO

Bachelor in Food Sciences

+10 years experience in running a business

Expertise in fermentation and product development


The idea

A novel FoodTech solution for natural ingredients recovery to be used in food industry, among others. Traditional solvent extraction (Maceration) is well adopted in food and cosmetics industry, however, the process is slow (from days to weeks) providing limited yield. The proposed solution is a mobile factory producing natural extracts from plant organics at lower costs and time compared to conventional extraction. The core of the technology is the Continuous process of ultrasound-assisted solvent extraction, which has been researched and developed at LUT University.

Expected value from the Germinator programme: Network spreading and strengthening, contacts to investors and to find a sales person to the team.

The team

PhD. Dmitry Gradov (CEO)

MSc. Jussi Tamminen (CTO)

Professor Tuomas Koiranen (Advisor)

OleoFlow (company formed as PerFat Technologies)

The idea

An unmoderated consumption of high caloric food products rich in fat and sugar has led us facing an accelerating pandemic – obesity of population.

How to improve consumers’ well-being without trying to limit the foods products that we just love to enjoy?

The answer is in re-engineering the basic ingredient of foods – fat. Combining food and material sciences we offer a solution to turn existing food products healthier by adding control over product’s nutritional and satietal profile, without jeopardizing their mouthfeel & taste.

In Oleo we have developed a broadly usable, sustainable, new type of lipid material which will enable to control our body weight and ignite a “fat transition” wave in the food industry.

Expected value from the Germinator programme: Easy access to large scale facilities, networking for food industry collaborators & investors, formal and proper training for pitching to attract investors, CEO candidate suggestions.  


The core team

We are a multidisciplinary team merging food & material sciences, nutrition, and physiology.

The core team is composed of:

  • Docent Fabio Valoppi, CTO-to-be
  • Professor Ari Salmi, CSO-to-be
  • M.Sc. Anton Nolvi, COO-to-be
  • Jyrki Lee-Korhonen, commercial lead