Startups in the Turku region | A walk and talk with Arjun from Comptek Solutions



Arjun Mandal came across an exciting nanotechnology company called Comptek Solutions on LinkedIn back in 2017 when the company had just been founded. It didn’t take long until he moved to Turku for work – all the way from India! We asked about Arjun’s experiences of working and living in the Turku region for the past four years. How has he found his new home and work life so far?

  • About the company: Comptek Solutions has invented and developed a game-changing nanoengineering process that improves the performance and energy efficiency of semiconductor devices.
  • Founded: 2017
  • Team: 13 full-time employees + summer workers
  • Location of the office: Itäharju, Turku
  • Latest achievement: We have been selected for funding from the Accelerator Programme by The European Innovation Council.
  • Random fact: Currently, five members of our small team hold a doctoral degree – quite a remarkable number for a start-up!
MBE (Molecular Beam Epitaxy) researcher Arjun Mandal has previously lived around the world in countries such as India, South Korea and USA. © Ninna Valencia / CYF Digital

On a snowy winter day, Arjun is bundled up well for the cold when meeting him in the old industrial area of Aura River. This neighborhood is very familiar to Arjun as he used to live on the other side of the river in the cozy neighborhood of Martti. He often visited here to enjoy the marine surroundings and the delicacies of restaurant Göran. 

Today, the old red brick industrial buildings and the riverbank have been turned into a cultural hot spot where museums, educational institutions and attractions flourish. What a great place to start a life in Turku!

Why did you choose Forum Marinum for our meeting spot?

“I like this place. It represents one of the oldest industries in Turku, the shipbuilding industry. The semiconductor industry, on the other hand, is very new to Turku. Comptek is actually the only company working purely with semiconductor materials in town.”

“Forum Marinum is one of the oldest industrial areas in Turku, while Comptek is a forerunner in the industry very new to the region.”

The place truly inspires Arjun. He says that the big old ship [Suomen Joutsen] gives him hope as the ship has gone through many storms, but it still stands. It is symbolic for staying strong and calm even in very bad weather, harsh conditions, and tough times.

“A big ship can symbolize a big dream as well. When we were kids, we sent these small paper boats into the river. Suddenly, someday you’ll see that a big ship has come to your door. That is like a big dream coming true.”

Forum Marinum with magnificent ships is a maritime museum located in the old industrial area. Turku Castle, harbor and other exciting attractions are nearby. © Ninna Valencia / CYF Digital

Working in Itäharju, Turku

Comptek Solutions was founded as a spin-off from the University of Turku. The inventor and the co-inventors of the technology are based in the Turku region, so it was natural to set up their office in the city. The location in Itäharju suits the company’s current needs for a lab space with very specific technical requirements. It is also easily accessible by public transport and close to Turku downtown.

We have good public transportation to Itäharju. Buses are always at hand and Kupittaa railway station is very close by. Whatever we need for work, we’ve got it.”

What does the Turku region offer for startups and international talents?

“Turku is great for startups! Firstly, the University of Turku ensures a big pool of (international) talents, which is very useful for our science-based business. Also, Turku is a suitably small city where services for startups are easily accessible, and various business networks are always open for collaborations and partnerships.”

“Turku is great for startups!“

Comptek Solutions has participated in quite a few programs organized by or together with Turku Science Park Ltd. They also received a grant from Turku Regional Center for Economic Development (ELY-keskus), which allowed them to make crucial hires at that time. Involvement with Enterprise Europe Network through Turku Science Park was very helpful in terms of partner collaborations. Also the local startup community – SparkUp – has been an excellent platform for expanding their business network.

Despite its size, Turku is also quite an international place, so it’s pretty easy for foreigners to integrate and make use of different services and infrastructures.

“Turku is a growing city. So if you want to make an impact, do it now. Take the opportunity – it’s the right time.“

“I have seen Turku growing a lot. Here, close to the marina a lot of construction is going on. The population is increasing and I see more and more people from abroad. Also the businesses are flourishing. For example, the semiconductor industry is developing fast, and I believe it will attract even more people to Turku and increase the number of companies in our field. If you want to make an impact, do it now. Take the opportunity, it’s the right time.”

It is inspiring to work with a great team. © Comptek Solutions

What kind of work does Comptek Solutions do?

Comptek Solutions have invented and developed a game-changing nanoengineering process that improves the performance and energy efficiency of semiconductor devices beyond previously known limits. The company solves a fundamental problem that drastically limits the performance of compound semiconductors – oxidation.

“We have grown a lot in 4 years. And one of the best things is that we have a great team.”

“When I joined the company, it was only 1 year old and we started as a very small team. The company has grown a lot since then. Both business and technology wise, the development has been tremendous. And one of the best things is that we have a great team.”

Comptek Solution’s break-thru quantum technology, KontroxTM, significantly improves the performance of compound semiconductor-based devices (such as lasers, microLEDs, transistors, and more) and makes their manufacturing process more cost-efficient and sustainable.

“In my field there are a lot of job opportunities in Europe. The epitaxy processes that I specialize in are crucial in the semiconductor industry. I first contacted Comptek because their novel technology sparked my interest due to its uniqueness and potential. And now years after I am really excited to be working on its further development.”

What does an international expert think about his current home city?         

“I like my life here in Turku as an individual and a professional. I quite enjoy the city and my lifestyle here.