Espoo, September 28th 2015. Circular Devices Ltd., the Finnish startup behind the PuzzlePhone modular devices, proudly announces today that the European Union has funded our the project to cover a significant part of our R&D journey.
This funding secures the product development, rewards Circular Devices achievements, and is a testament to the trust of the European supply chain, backing the PuzzlePhone development and production. This EU support involves the constitution of the Consortium for the sustainablySMART project Sustainable Smart Mobile Devices Lifecycles through Advanced Re-design, Reliability, and Re-use and Remanufacturing Technologies. This sustainablySMART project is part of the Horizon 2020 EU Research and Innovation programme.
Espoo, September 28th 2015. Circular Devices Ltd., the Finnish startup behind the PuzzlePhone modular devices, proudly announces today that the European Union has funded our the project to cover a significant part of our R&D journey. This funding secures the product development, rewards Circular Devices achievements, and is a testament to the trust of the European supply chain, backing the PuzzlePhone development and production. This EU support involves the constitution of the Consortium for the sustainablySMART project Sustainable Smart Mobile Devices Lifecycles through Advanced Re-design, Reliability, and Re-use and Remanufacturing Technologies. This sustainablySMART project is part of the Horizon 2020 EU Research and Innovation programme.
Circular Devices has been working since its participation in 4YFN/MWC 2015, to develop and enhance its internal business structure, securing funds to make operations as sustainable as possible, as well as to develop a high-quality partners network to ensure the long term success of the PuzzlePhone device, the PuzzlePhone Compatible Open Standard, and the reshoring of the design, engineering and manufacturing capacities back to Europe.
“The purpose of Circular Devices is not just the creation of an innovative and cool device,” says Alejandro Santacreu, CEO and Founder of Circular Devices. “The goal is having solid foundations and consolidated structure to overcome the challenges involved in our approach to the Circular Economy business concept.”
Circular Devices is pioneering a movement in European industry and markets towards a new understanding of supply chain, partners and business models, as well as moving to more open patents. “This new way to deal with the whole life cycle of electronics will reduce planned obsolescence to a sad memory of the past,” comments Santacreu. “The company has received big public support not just from the EU, but also from Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation. Tekes support is a key to start and development of the early stages of business models and engineering development.”
Circular Devices Oy was established in September 2014. Most startups do not get significant funding during their first 12 to 18 months. In PuzzlePhone’s first year of operations the company has been funded four times, twice by business angels and twice by Finland’s government. This combination of public and private funding has fueled the confidence and trust of investors in the company.
The company’s biggest challenge has been how to remain committed to its core-values, which include reshoring of manufacturing to Europe. “Funds have been allocated first and foremost to cover needed market research, business development, and to secure the supply chain and our go-to-market strategy,” says Santacreu. “During this time we have been disclosing information related to design and partners. Somebody even remarked about how open we are, but the truth is that 80 percent of the work has remained hidden.”
“There is a strong environmental logic behind the PuzzlePhone concept: Why should you replace your smartphone once the battery reaches its end-of-life or because the display is broken? As the core electronics parts of a smartphone come with a much larger environmental footprint it is important not to limit the lifetime through other components. Just replace, what fails. You can realize this in various ways, but PuzzlePhone’s modular approach seems to be the most user-friendly one”, explains Karsten Schischke, who is environmental expert at Fraunhofer IZM and coordinator of the sustainablySMART project.
The sustainablySMART consortium will research “Sustainable Smart Mobile Devices Lifecycles through Advanced Re-design, Reliability, and Re-use and Remanufacturing Technologies”. The project is part of Horizon 2020, the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.
Circular Devices is part of the Steering Committee for the project to increase the competitiveness of EU industry and reduce the environmental footprint. Part of the requirements is to ensure a sustainable product life cycle based on reuse and re-manufacturing methods and technologies. “The PuzzlePhone has fit inside those parameters since its first conception,” says Santacreu.
The sustainablySMART Consortium, which supports the research and development of PuzzlePhone and similar modular product concepts, has been granted with 7M €. The tasks and research corresponding to Circular Devices and its associated partners,yGrant4Com Oy, AT&S and Fraunhofer IZM., will use 1 M € of those funds.
The Circular Devices team wishes to express its gratitude to the outstanding partners in this EU sustainablySMART Horizon 2020 project: Fairphone b.v., Multimedia Computer System Ltd., Pro Automation GmbH, iFixit GmbH, ReUse-Computer e.V., Technische Universität Wien, Semicon Sp. z.o.o., Grant4Com, RFND TECHNOLOGIES AB, AT & S Austria Technologie & Systemtechnik AG, Speech Processing Solutions GmbH, PrimeTel PLC, Österreiche Gesellschaft für System- und Automatisierungstechnik and Blancco Oy Ltd., with special thanks to our coordinator, the Fraunhofer IZM.
Beyond the Horizon 2020 partners there is a long list of suppliers involved in our R&D plans, including Haltian Oy (the most successful Nokia spin-off to date) or Muottituote Oy (former supplier of Nokia phones). “The Oulu city people deserve a special thanks for opening their wonderful and integrated hardware ecosystem to support our dreams, which very soon will become reality,” adds Santacreu.
The PuzzlePhone Compatible Open Standard evolves towards a more comprehensive and wide palette of options. The PuzzlePhone Compatible Open Standard has evolved to a standardized connecting environment that provide a solid and convenient way to interconnect brains based in different SOC architectures for better, quicker and easier integration of third-party developments.
“Since the presentation of PuzzlePhone at 4YFN/MWC 2015, there have been quite a few challenges and changes in the market that we at Circular Devices have resolved with remarkable success,” says Santacreu. “We faced a major shift in the competitive environment, and we realized that demand justifies stretching the PuzzlePhone Compatible Open Standard at this initial stage for even easier integration. The evolution of the PuzzlePhone Compatible Open Standard will accelerate our R&D roadmap and open the field for more players to join the Open Standard.”
The PuzzlePhone Compatible Open Standard will lower the entry barrier for companies, small and big, to develop and manufacture mobile devices and modules. The PuzzlePhone Open Standard will also offer easier access for individual makers for further product and use enhancement and hacking.
To support the development of the PuzzlePhone Compatible Open Standard, Circular Devices Ltd., has collaboration agreements with many leading companies like Grant4Com, AT&S, Fraunhofer, IZM, GlobalSat and OgilvyOne Barcelona.
OgilvyOne Barcelona is a Circular Devices Ltd. partner in brand development. This collaboration is part of the Ogilvy Upcelerator initiative to help emerging companies accelerate and validate their products and services.
About Circular Devices Ltd. / PuzzlePhoneCircular Devices Ltd. is the Finnish company developing PuzzlePhone, the first modular smartphone that is easily reparable and upgradeable based on the PuzzlePhone Compatible Open Standard.PuzzlePhone maximizes the product life cycle and minimizes the creation of e-waste by developing modular and easily upgradeable hardware for its mobile devices.PuzzlePhone Compatible Open Standard is a European initiative combining the best and the most advanced design and engineering, from South to North and from East to West.We don’t dream of the future; we build it.This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 680640.