Nokia Foundation awards the founders of Habbo virtual world

(PresseBox) ( Bochum, )
Nokia Foundation has granted its 2008 award to Aapo Kyrölä and Sampo Karjalainen, the founders of Sulake Corporation Inc., which is best known for its Habbo virtual world and online community. The EUR 10 000 award was presented at the foundation's scholarship awards ceremony on November 18, 2008, an event at which the foundation also celebrated its 14th anniversary.

"Aapo Kyrölä and Sampo Karjalainen have been chosen for this award because of their contributions to collaborative media and social networking. The Habbo virtual world is loved by teenagers all over the world as an easy way to meet new people and keep in touch with friends. The design of the virtual characters is unique, and the constantly evolving features of the collaborative game have driven innovation in an area where competition is tough," said Henry Tirri, Head of Nokia Research Center.

Since Sulake was founded in May 2000, over 100 million users have registered with the Habbo service. The Habbo virtual world and online community attracts close to 10 million unique visitors each month. Sulake has offices in 18 countries across five continents and employs over 300 people.

"Research is what allows a company to not only survive economic turmoil, but actually thrive once the market has stabilized again. R&D can be considered an insurance policy, whose premiums are paid during good economic times, hedging against uncertainties in the marketplace. Those companies that are able to focus their efforts and continue to create new, innovative products will be best positioned as the situation improves," Jorma Ollila, Chairman of Nokia's Board of Directors, noted in his address at the Foundation's ceremony.

This year, the Nokia Foundation awarded 76 scholarships totaling EUR 399 000. 74 of the scholarships targeted the support of fast-progressing post-graduate studies leading to doctorates in information and data communications technology, and two were for visiting professors.

Previous recipients of the Nokia Foundation's annual award were Lauri Kuokkanen (1995), Pekka Tarjanne (1996), Linus Torvalds (1997), Arto Salomaa (1998), Kullervo Nieminen (1999), Osmo A. Wiio (2000), Ilkka Haikala (2001), Veikko Rintamäki (2002), George Metakides (2003), Heikki Lyytinen (2004), Moncef Gabbouj (2005), Mårten Mickos (2006), and Pekka Abrahamsson (2007).

The Nokia Foundation was formed in 1995 and supports the scientific development of information and telecommunications technologies and promotes education of the sector in Finland.
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