Pinell of Norway reinvents the radio

They may seem obsolete, but the two brothers behind Pinell think the radio is becoming more important in our lives—and that theirs can satisfy the most demanding users

Photo: Pinell’s Explorer model comes in many colors.

Pinell’s Explorer model comes in many colors.

Rasmus Falck
Oslo, Norway

Five years ago the brothers Tom and Tore Vedvik started making their first DAB-radio. Through partners in the UK and Asia they secured the best technology and an efficient production process. The brothers simply believed that radios are becoming more important in our lives.

100 years ago the world woke to the wonders of the wireless sound magically delivered without wires, unlike the telegraph and telephone. In the early days Albert Einstein described it as “a wonderful tool of communication.” Today it may seem old-fashioned in the world of e-readers and smartphones, but radio has changed with the times. Radio has expanded from amplitude modulation to internet protocol and its form and function are changing. Today the internet radio with DAB and FM radio let you listen to your favorite radio stations from all over the world, right in the comfort of your own house and without the need of a PC.

In 2001 the brothers founded the trading company TT Micro AS, or Tom and Tore Micro among friends. Five years ago, with revenues at $5 million as importers, they decided to go into manufacturing. They wanted to make high quality audio products for the most demanding users imagined, designed and developed at the headquarters in Norway. They called it Pinell after the island on which one of the brothers spent his honeymoon.

The radio is designed for optimal use of the new DAB broadcast networks available in an increasing number of countries. The built-in battery provides well over 24 hours of playback. They expect you to fall asleep well before the radio does. Last year they sold $10 million worth of their own manufactured radios.

Financial Times was impressed by the design. Pinell seems inspired by the traditional radios that became absorbed into other devices such as computers and mobile phones, and have embedded their radio in the top of a speaker and with other unusual designs for its internet radio. The radio is distributed to England, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia.

TT Micro has 16 employees, $15 million in sales and one million in profits last year. They were awarded the RedDot award for good design, and were the DAB radio of the year and the “Christmas gift of the Year.”

To expand sales to new markets, this September they were in Berlin at IFA 2014, the world’s leading trade show for consumer and home electronics, with 1,500 exhibitors. So far they have managed to finance the growth by retained earnings. With the expected growth they might have to find additional sources of financing.

The future looks bright!

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 24, 2014, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

Avatar photo

Rasmus Falck

Rasmus Falck is a strong innovation and entrepreneurship advocate. The author of “What do the best do better” and “The board of directors as a resource in SME,” he received his masters degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently lives in Oslo.