Canatu wins The CTO of the Year 2019 award

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.

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. 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”

CEO of Canatu, Juha 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”

CTO of Canatu, Ilkka Varjos

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.


Mari Makkonen Canatu VP Marketing and Communications
Mari Makkonen
VP, Marketing & Communications +358 504 422 343

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About Canatu

Canatu is a carbon nanomaterial developer creating the most advanced carbon nanotubes for industry-transforming products. The Canatu carbon nanotube (CNT) technology has been created with a unique process that ensures the required versatility and reliability for highly engineered solutions. Canatu partners with forerunner companies, together transforming products for better tomorrows with nano carbon. The company’s focus is in the automotive and semiconductor industries with the portfolio’s core spanning from ADAS heaters to 3D touch sensors and to EUV membranes. The experts at Canatu think big and create impacts on the tiniest scale – nano solutions for massive impact. Canatu’s headquarters are in Finland with sales offices also in the US, Japan and Taiwan.


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.