The future of writing is already here: Port 6 and Flowrite

Good research ideas turn into a great business in Aalto's incubators; students find unconventional pathways towards trailblazing entrepreneurship. This time, we're bidding goodbye to touch screens and quintessentially boring work emails with Port 6 and Flowrite. Both mind-boggling startups are founded by a diverse bunch of Aalto alumni.


Goodbye to the touch screen: Port 6 is closing the gap between human-machine interaction

Muscle memory is an amazing phenomenon – almost like having a sixth sense. Jamin Hu, one of the founders of Port 6, is a classically trained pianist who used to practice his instrument by tapping the table like a piano, practicing his songs from memory. 

He began to do the same with writing. This led him to realize how our hands could control our devices intuitively and effortlessly – most of us know our QWERTYs by heart, anyway. 

Port 6 diminishes the gap between human-machine interaction by virtualizing discreet movements of the hand and bringing tactility to extended reality interfacing. They are creating AI-driven biometrics that read, analyze, and predict the signals of the hand from the wrist. The technology could seamlessly integrate with a smart watch.

Jamin took the budding project to Aalto AI society, where he met his co-founders, Lauri and Emil, Applied Physics students. 

Since then, an interdisciplinary bunch has formed around the venture. The team consists of a mix of engineers, designers, academics and business students: a true Aalto mix-and-match. 

"We took part in Kiuas Start accelerator program in the fall of 2019," Ohto Pentikäinen, CEO of Port 6, recalls. 

"It was the first time we explored the more commercial side of our technological innovation. At Kiuas, we had to think about some quite traditional questions, such as our target groups. Frankly, we weren’t quite able to answer those questions yet back then, as our eyes were fixed several years ahead into the future. Port 6 is built for a much longer-term technological disruption."

“Thus, we focus on purely technical achievements at the moment and are not prioritizing commercial efforts, at least for the next year.”

This doesn't scare off the investors who play – and understand – the long game. Port 6 recently secured a six-investor-strong seed round of one million. The round was based on Port 6's initial technological advancements and the potential impact of the technology.

"We are a new kind of case for many of our investors, as well. Our key metrics aren't the traditional metrics with which emerging startups are created, such as the number of customers or our revenue." 

The Port 6 team has just moved to Helsinki, where they are starting to build a laboratory with the potential to be Europe's leading laboratory for human-computer interaction. 

"All the equipment and support needed for prototype work is there – it is invaluable to us. We want to bring in the world's leading scientists with whom we will build the leading interaction laboratory in Europe,” Ohto states. 

"The aim is to build an understanding of a future where human-computer interaction has evolved from the world of touch screens. The future of mobile computing will be three-dimensional and all around us, in synergy with real life."

"No touch screens, no keyboards, no two-dimensional interaction – it isn't enough for the three-dimensional world. We want to build the technologies to guide this world. Future is in the gesture."

Read more about Port 6 here. 


Farewell to writer's block: Flowrite revolutionizes the way we write on the web 

Another day, another quintessential work email. You already know what you want to say, but getting there is an uphill battle. Have you ever dreamt of that inner monologue of yours just magically transforming into something ready for pressing Send? 

Aaro Isosaari had noted the increase of written day-to-day communication during the pandemic. He believed the feeling of daily writing task angst to be somewhat universal amongst the laptop workforce. As the pandemic transformed us all into a bunch of pajama-wearing house elves, the amount of written communication was at a new height. What could be done to ease the tedious burden?

Regardless of his young age, Aaro, 23, was already an Aalto startup ecosystem veteran with experience from startups, entrepreneurship. 

Aaro became an Aalto startup ecosystem local swiftly right after joining the university as a Industrial Engineering and Management student. He soon took the lead of Kiuas, one of the leading startup accelerators in Finland, founded by the Aaltoes crew. Serving as the first CEO of the accelerator, he also took part in establishing Starting Up, a low-barrier online course on the startup entrepreneurship 101 created jointly with Kiuas, and Aalto University.

"Aalto's entrepreneurial circles serve as a great launchpad for entrepreneurship," Aaro says. 

It was the university's entrepreneurial community that helped to forge his current path: Kiuas was where he met his future co-founder, Karolus Sariola, a few years ago. 

"Karolus took part in the Kiuas summer program with his previous idea. We spent a lot of time at the Startup Sauna, and finally, this past summer, we decided that it could be the right time for our project."

Many of us already spent most of our days writing emails and communicating on many different platforms, even before the pandemic hit. Besides a bunch of grammar-checking tools, we are still very much on our own when it comes to well-turned phrases.

Two founders and a pandemic later, meet Flowrite. An AI-powered tool letting you convert your ramblings into full-length emails, messages, social media posts and other well-polished text bites. 

Flowrite is also the first European startup that got funding for a product that utilizes OpenAI:s new language model API, GPT-3.

"There were no similar tools around," Aaro says. 

"GPT-3 was launched last summer. We quickly saw tremendous opportunity to build on top of its technology to develop a tool for daily written communication. We got the access and swiftly realized that our vision of an integrative tool for everyday writing tasks was feasible."

"Being able to communicate smoothly and with ease is now more important than ever. We had great timing with Flowrite," Aaro says.

More than ten thousand have signed up for early access, and the product is being launched to the first users as we speak. The team is steadily recruiting, and the pre-seed round already included some of Europe's top investors. 

The future of writing is just about to get started, and even amid the pandemic, it looks everything but bleak – think of all those meetings that will turn into actually great emails. 

Read more about Flowrite here

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