Canatu wins The CTO of the Year 2019 award

CTO of the Year 2019
CTOs of the Year 2019: Sauli Eloranta, Rolls-Royce Marine and Ilkka Varjos, Canatu.

Canatu’s Ilkka Varjos is the winner of “The CTO of the Year 2019” award in the category of small and medium sized companies. The award has been given since 2010 in two categories: large companies and SMEs.

See in Finnish.

The CTO of the Year award is given to a technology leader, who has through his work added significant value to the company’s performance and growth through technology, is an inspiring team builder and team leader, and is active in societal networking.

“Ilkka is one of the first employees at Canatu. His innovativeness and strong technological knowledge, despite his rather young age, have been in significant role in the development of the technologies at Canatu. Our R&D team, consisting of highly skilled professionals, has developed not only the product but also the manufacturing equipment and processes,” tells Canatu’s CEO Juha Kokkonen. “Ilkka has strong relationships to both research communities and material suppliers & converters. Due to this collaboration, we have been able to develop the nanocarbon products and commercialize them to mass production,” continues Kokkonen.

Carbon nanobuds were found in the Nanomaterials Group at the Aalto University in the beginning of the 21st century. The company Canatu was established based on this innovation and Canatu has brought the disruptive technology to markets in 2015, when the mass production of 3D-formable touch films and sensors started.

“I am very grateful of this valuable award as a technology leader. Without the hard work of our development team throughout the years, we would have not been able to take the journey from the University world to manufacturing and commercialization,” says Ilkka Varjos delighted.

Recently Canatu announced a licensing deal with the world’s 2nd largest automotive supplier, DENSO, to develop especially new type of heater products for autonomous cars. Canatu has debuted in automotive industry, but the company aims also to other branches – there are numerous application areas, where nanotechnology can be utilized. In order to utilize the nanotechnology widely in different industries, a partner network combining science, research and development is crucial.

“In the long term, we could build a knowledge cluster in Finland, so called “Nanocarbon valley”, where nanocarbons would be used as a platform technology to meet the needs of different industries,” envisions Varjos.

More information:

CTO, Ilkka Varjos:, +358 40 037 2785

VP, Marketing & Communications, Katja Mälkki:, +358 50 594 1776




The CTO of the Year is a joint undertaking between Business Finland, Technology Industries of Finland and Spinverse. The CTO of the Year Award is given to exceptional technology leaders. The winners are selected by the jury of Finnish technology influencers. The chairman of the jury is Jaakko Hirvola from Technology Industries of Finland. CTO-Forum is a society of Finnish technology leaders, and offers networking, discussion and idea sharing for innovation and technology leaders. The aim of the CTO-Forum is to increase the awareness and valuation of the work done in companies by technology leaders.

The CTO’s Company:

  • has a technology-enabled product and service portfolio that is innovative, globally competitive and either already well known or rapidly gaining terrain
  • has built a strong technology collaboration community
  • has a strong innovation process encouraging company-wide participation

Societal Impact:

The CTO contributes to working groups, societies and other bodies working for development of the society at large and his or her industry in general. In determining the societal impact, contribution relative to the size of the CTO’s company matters.