Companies with a remarkable mission, attract remarkable people. KODEA OÜ is home to some of the brightest minds out there. Make no mistake, this extraordinary group of inventors are on a mission. Together, they explore and test ways to make the construction industry more consumer-friendly and to reduce the waste associated with the processes. It is no coincidence that these exact people have come together. What You are about to read, are stories about how they made their way to KODEA.
At the helm of KODEA is Rainer Nõlvak. He is a man who has been involved in building and launching a car repair shop, a café, Estonia’s first internet service provider, the largest computer manufacturer in the Baltics, one of Estonia’s largest surgical clinics, a cancer treatment development company, and many other businesses. Whilst building a home in Hiiumaa, Rainer was very hands-on during the whole process from planning to building. This got him thinking about the possibility of building more efficiently and using less time and resources. That is essentially what inspires the whole KODEA team, and Rainer believes that together, they will achieve great things. “We have moved from a phase “can something be done about it” to actual solutions on how to do it. This challenge has been within the reach for only those who want to achieve something extraordinary.”
It was this same challenge that appealed to Rando, the civil engineer and the sales manager in the company. He has now been working at KODEA for three years. The whole team is characterized by multifunctionality, which is why the job titles only give a glimpse of what people do. Rando was invited to KODEA by several people and had a plan to politely decline the offer. Be as it may, not everything in life goes according to plan. Learning about the company’s vision, mission, and the value it was creating, Rando realized that these aligned with his values. Lo and behold, much to his surprise, the answer could not have been anything but Yes. Furthermore, he also wanted to be part of a technological project that would change the world.
Innar, the construction manager, also said Yes when he saw how much he was needed on the team. He was introduced to KODEA by Rando and has been working here for six months now. “Here´s a lot less stress and nervous tension compared to the traditional construction industry. The atmosphere is supportive and enjoyable, and there is a spirit of cooperation,” shares Innar.
Development Project Coordinator Maarja also came to KODEA at Rando’s invitation and has been here for a year and a half. Maarja, Rando and Innar are all from Viljandi and are former mates from TalTech and Viljandi Jakobson Gymnasium. She just happened to have a conversation with Rando right at the point when Maarja was feeling a lot of anguish working in the industry: “Honestly, I was fed up with construction and wanted to get out of it.” After speaking to Rando, Maarja realized that something different was being done in KODEA and there is still hope in changing the industry for the better: “It’s exciting here. We’re always wondering if and how something more can be done. It’s up to each one of us to decide on how much we are willing to contribute to making the world a better place. I am fully committed to what I do.”
– Taavi Timm, Production Manager
KODEA is not only a company of bright ideas but also has the drive to make them happen. Some of the team say that being here makes you realize that this is just what has been missing in your life. Rainer Purde, the production foreman, has been working at KODEA for five months and was introduced to the team by Henri Purde, his older brother. Rainer decided to join mainly because there was no longer any spark and positive energy left at his previous job. “Fresh impressions are definitely good,” he says, praising his decision to come to KODEA. The newest member, however, is warehouse manager Rainer Nõmm, who came to the company at the invitation of production manager Taavi and has now been working happily at KODEA for four months. Taavi himself, however, came to the company through KODEA’s captain Henri Purde, whom he met when they both worked at Norma. “Before KODEA, I was the production manager at Mamma. Although it was nice to tell my daughter that daddy is going to work to make pancakes, I like the real production, where metal, wood, and other building materials are used” Taavi laughingly admits. Like the rest of the team, Taavi is inspired by the company’s vision, innovation, a plan to change the world, and future prospects. “This company is anything but boring and routine. There’s a sparkle in everyone’s eyes and a drive to get things done,” Taavi shares his impressions of the collective from his eight months here.
Anne also highlights the special nature of the collective, saying, “The way people’s brains work here is amazing to me. Everyone is here for a reason. I feel like I am needed. Every day I realize more and more how much potential we have in reducing construction waste and process errors. We can really improve people’s lives.” Anne, who is considered the mother of the whole collective, returned to live in Estonia, after seven years in Sweden and the Netherlands, precisely because of the “Inventors Village” as they jokingly call themselves. Having previously worked at Tesla, she felt that KODEA had an even greater opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment. “I came here because I realized we could make a difference on a global scale. It’s a place where you can put all your skills on the table. Experimentation is compulsory here. It’s the only way to come up with new solutions,” says Anne, explaining why she joined the company. It is also her mission to redesign the nature and functioning of organizations so that there is more trust, goodwill, motivation, and positive challenges.
Henri, the Captain of KODEA, found his way here more than three years ago, in search of new challenges. He is inspired by seemingly insurmountable challenges and the opportunity to change the world for the better. “Here you have every opportunity to make a difference. It’s like having a blank sheet of paper in front of you and being able to multifunction. Setting goals and reaching them is not an easy task, but without it, I wouldn’t be here today. Here, I can holistically tie together absolutely everything I have learned and experienced in my life so far. For me, taking action makes sense when you can make something better, and this is where we tackle real problems in order to find real solutions,” Henri explains.
“I share the values we have here in KODEA and during the 10 months I’ve been here, my belief in the mission has grown even stronger. I enjoy my work here. There’s really never a boring day. While some days might be shit, the majority of them are challenging, exciting, and fun,“ Raul admits with a healthy dose of humor attached. Many years ago Raul and Hannes, one of the founders of KODEA, briefly worked together at Hansapank. Raul remembers Hannes as an inspirational leader with the ability to build strong teams. Nine years ago, as Hannes founded Kodasema, the predecessor of KODEA, he contacted Raul. At that time the business model of Kodasema did not seem appealing to Raul. Years passed and ten months ago they reconnected. KODEA OÜ had already been established and this time Raul really liked what he saw. „I know Hannes, the way he does things is right. The work culture and people here are exceptional. This is a good, sound business.“
Peeter, the quality manager continues by saying: „There are no limits here. I can do anything. I believe that by working here, I can make a difference in the construction industry. My values are aligned with the company’s.“ Peeter has been working at KODEA for a little over a year and a half and has been in the quality management field for more than eleven years. He was initially approached by Indrek from Airforced Systems OÜ, KODEA´s sister company. Peeter and Indrek go way back, as they both studied at TalTech and sang in the academic choir together. Their shared history is the grounds for mutual respect and trust. Peeter has also worked with Henri before and when Henri explained what he is doing now, Peeter was intrigued. Joining the company was ultimately a no-brainer, knowing that both Henri and Indrek were already involved. Peeter values cradle-to-cradle design, which essentially is a holistic approach that seeks to create systems that are efficient and waste-free. KODEA is a company that puts a lot of thought into that, matching Peeter´s personal views and values. It is the mission that speaks to him the most.
„I want to work at a company that is willing to invest in my development. At KODEA, I can grow with the company. Everyone is open to learning and evolving here, the mindset is right. Of course, we make mistakes and it is perfectly okay to fail sometimes, as long as we learn something in the process,“ explains mechanical engineer Sven. He has been with the company for a little over a year. Initially, Sven heard about KODEA from his friend Joonatan from Spacedrip, KODEA´s other sister company. Joonatan had a student company a while ago and Sven helped him with the product development of an innovative bio composter. They made some dumb, beginner’s mistakes together, he laughingly admits but then adds that these mistakes brought them here. Unfortunately, the student company did not succeed, but the experience gained was priceless. At the first meeting with the people from KODEA, Sven understood that there were a lot of challenges and problems to be solved. “There still are, but these challenges are growth opportunities,” Sven explains. „The opportunity of making something from scratch is an opportunity I do not want to miss.“
– Sven Erik Kalberg, Mechanical Engineer
– Ülar Mark, Founder & Lead Architect
Founder and Lead Architect, Ülar explains: „We started at Kodasema what feels like a century ago. There was a similar approach to building as there is now. With Kodasema we made the smallest and nicest factory-built building. We were really happy with the result but we also wanted to make an even bigger change in the industry. The approach we wanted to use for building sustainable housing differed a bit and so we started a whole new company, KODEA OÜ.“ The more time goes by, the more Ülar likes the possibilities of what can be achieved. He believes that change is crucial for the construction industry. From the materials used, to ensuring the continued existence of humankind. “Our everyday lives, including how we live and work, have changed. This change needs to be applied to our living space as well. Growing together with the fast-paced world is essential and intellectually interesting. The people working at KODEA are not ordinary people. Their knowledge amazes me every day. We have a chance to do something big and not just for ourselves but mankind,“ he notes. Manan, a design engineer goes on to say: „Housing is something You can discuss with everybody. It is a universal topic. Everybody knows the problems but not everybody offers solutions to these problems.“
The reason Manan is at KODEA is tied to their mission. It is very close to his heart. Henri found Manan through their professor at TalTech, as he was looking for someone experienced in the design and engineering field. Manan did have nine years of experience as a mechanical engineer, so he was the first person the professor suggested. For the last six months Manan has been a part of the team and feels he is needed there: „It is important to feel valued and to contribute. I know I have an important role to play at KODEA.“
One of the people always asking questions is Priit. He is a man with many job titles, some of which are: strategy manager, business development, design strategy manager, world lifestyle manager… The list goes on, but one thing is clear, Priit is always seeking answers to a wide array of questions. „I have a problem with the construction business. They use up too many resources. Here, at KODEA, I have a chance to change that,“ he says. Priit and Ülar worked together at the Estonian Center of Architecture, so it seemed only logical to continue his journey in KODEA. „The people are also the reason I am here,“ Priit admits.
– Priit Juurmann, Design Strategy
„I fell in love with the people and so I joined the team,“ says Kaarel to further illustrate the importance of having a like-minded team. Being known for his solution-focused approach, Kaarel initially came on board to help Henri with business development and marketing. „Working here is a part of my lifestyle. I have always tried to help as many people as I can. If you have a problem and noone knows how to solve it, odds are, I can probably help find solutions“ Kaarel declares spiritedly. He is a so-called multi-talent, with more than ten years of experience in engineering, management, team building, training and development, graphic design, building a brand, capturing beautiful visuals e.g photos. Kaarel has been working on branding and marketing at KODEA for a few months now. He does his job very hands-on, focusing on quick solutions, chopping the problem down to smaller pieces, and essentially getting shit done, as he colorfully puts it. Kaarel is a firm believer that any decision is better than no decision. According to his team, he is building momentum at KODEA by speeding up the decision process.
„I´ve spent years trying to build information systems to understand the complexity of the architecture of today and the future in order to protect the environment and natural resources. This task involves a lot of parties in the industry, so it is complex. It is important to distinguish between breaking things down by accident and disrupting things intentionally- by design, to study and learn from it. I have found the ultimate challenge here.“ says Kaiko. Ülar and Kaiko have been acquainted for a long time, such is also the case with him and Priit. As Kaiko was looking for new challenges, Ülar called him and said: „I hear You are doing nothing. Let’s talk.“ And talk they did with the result of Kaiko joining the team as a digital product development strategist. By profession, he is an architect, who has been thinking about digitalization for twenty years. He openly admits to also having an issue with the lack of innovation in the construction industry, as do most of the people of KODEA. Kaiko states that the only way to create change is to be a part of the solution and not the problem. He is among the first people to have worked with builders on a 3D project that could not have been readable as traditional blueprints. All of this makes him an excellent addition to the KODEA team.
In KODEA, people can experiment, create processes and challenge the boundaries of innovation themselves. The people working mainly in the office have also had their fair share of elbow grease by putting on their overalls and joining in on building the prototypes. The whole team collectively appreciates innovation, a great and supportive team, and the opportunity to create change on a global scale.
We’re a bunch of nerds dreaming about a better world, who got tired of waiting for a change. So we decided to make it happen ourselves. If that sounds cool, you’ll probably fit right in. Check out the missing team members from here.
If you have some bonkers ambition/crazy skillset/a burning desire to reshape construction but didn’t find an open position, send your intro and CV to [email protected].