Helsinki & Lifestyle

City of Start-ups

IMG_4562The Start-up Sauna is an initiative by the Aalto university entrepreneurship society to help and promote start-ups in the region. Basically, if you have an awesome idea for a company, you can apply to the programme and receive high-class coaching, workspace and possibilities to pitch your concept to investors.

The office area is located in Otaniemi, Espoo, but right outside of Helsinki and easy to get to. The old warehouse has been remodeled in to a modern, open and multi-functional workspace which is actually open to everyone. The heart of the building is – who would’ve guessed – the huge sauna that actually features a whiteboard inside for heat-and-beer-induced brainstorm sessions on the spot. It works – people are eager to participate, the services provided are excellent and investors are given a unique opportunity to engage in networking with the protégés of Start-up sauna.

Most companies are working on technical concepts, such as apps or games. Not only but especially since Nokia was bought, many former employees took matters into their own hands and founded their own company which is part of the start-up boom in Finland. Many international teams have also found their way into Start-up Sauna, working on innovative and exciting ideas. Developments are technically of high standard but, from what I could tell the last time when I attended the Demo Days (an event where recent “graduates” of Start-up Sauna present themselves and their work to potential investors and everyone who is interested), lack a bit of marketing and communication knowledge.

Business before pleasure

Each event at Start-up Sauna eventually turns into a huge party. Sauna, “paljus” (little outdoor hot-tubs), amazing catering and beer do their deed in enabling networking on site. The Finnish work environment is really chilled in general, Sauna is common anyway, and flat hierarchies and friendly get-togethers like this are the best foundation for successful work relationships. People gather and enjoy Finnish summer at the edge of that little forest – what could be better? The events have been given the attribute “epic”, so it’s certainly worth dropping by. A corresponding major event is the famous and magnificent SLUSH which takes place November 18-19th.

Summer of Start-ups is an intense workshop that takes place now during the summer months, and the companies that made it in are presenting themselves and their ideas on Wednesday August 6th in the facilities in Espoo. Check out the event here.

Pictures from Demo Day June 4th – I apologize for the low quality

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