The event metrics, winning teams, and a sincere thank you from us!
By Lien Cao & Bao Hoang
This is the 8th time that Startup Weekend Helsinki is organized, and the 10th time in Finland. This time, Startup Weekend Helsinki took a while to come back, and when we came back after 8 months, we brought along a special theme: Food and Agriculture! There are some metric facts you may want to know from us.
- Startup Weekend Helsinki VIII happened from 27th to 29th January 2017, attracted 57 attendees, 19 mentors, and 9 sponsors.
- It was organized and coordinated by 5 organizers, 2 volunteers, and 1 facilitator.
- There were 17 ideas pitched, with 11 teams formed.
Our teams did their work extremely well during the weekend, and among them, there were 4 stand-out teams which were recognized by the judges.
I. The best pitch: Tofu Queen
Tofu Queen is a small team of three, and interestingly enough: one of them doesn’t like tofu at all, or at least the type of tofu she had tried in Finland. Katja is her name, and she was the one who went to pitch for the team in the final presentation. “Why did you join a team about tofu when you don’t even like it?” Katja smiled, she liked the idea, and she wanted to try fresh tofu in Helsinki one day, so she decided to contribute to the team.
On Sunday, the pitch order list was kept as a secret from everybody, until the last minute before the presentations started. And surprisingly, Tofu Queen was the first name in the list! “We didn’t expect to be the first one at all.” – shared Viet Dung Nguyen – the idea owner. Despite feeling worried as the first team on stage, Katja stepped up and started a structured, straightforward presentation with a clear and loud voice. She had done a great job to point out all needed factors for the business idea, well kept within the time limit. Congratulations Tofu Queen! We hope you will continue to work on your startup idea after the event so we all can try the “fresh, soft and silky tofu” you promised in the presentation!
II. Runner-up 1: Caulizza
The first time you heard the name, you may be confused: “What is Caulizza? Why does it sound familiar, but yet so strange at the same time?”. Caulizza is the combination of “Cauliflower” and “Pizza”, which is a creative way to describe a pizza made with cauliflower instead of normal flour. Caulizza is a good option for people who are allergic to gluten, and who would love to enjoy pizza but want to skip the carbs. More than that, Caulizza is a convenient and tasty way to eat more vegetables. To prove its possibility, Caulizza team even made a sample of pizza base themselves and brought it to the presentation.
One concern for Caulizza came from the price of the product itself since normal pizza base made from flour is easily found everywhere with low prices, yet Caulizza’s pizza base made from cauliflower costs much higher. Moreover, being a vegetable makes cauliflower seasonally available, which raised up a question for its availability. In order to clear out these concerns, Caulizza went out to ask customers about how much they are willing to pay for the products, and the result was positive: the average price range is 8-10 euros per two pizza based. Potential customers considered Caulizza as a healthier substitute comparing to normal pizza, therefore they can pay much more for this product. About cauliflower availability, the team showed their confidence in finding the cauliflower supply all year round in warmer region of Europe with reasonable price.
Hopefully, in the near future, we shall have the chance to see Caulizza being sold firstly in Finland markets. Who knows, it can be the next trend of food in Finland after pulled-oats that everybody will talk about!
III. Runner-up 2: Forest Pig
Forest Pig idea owners are experienced farmers of a family who have long kept the agricultural tradition. They are passionate with a brilliant idea: an ecological and economical type of pork with a remarkable taste. Within the weekend, the Forest Pig team worked hard to create a pig breeding model which utilizes natural Finnish features. The pigs shall be raised for a longer time in a natural habitat, which helps to develop its meat texture and flavor.
Answering a concern from audiences about the effect to nature in their breeding model, team Forest Pig believes that with their experiences in farming, the model shall not damage the environment. With the market price around 18 euros per kg, their first target customer sector is restaurant industry. As a fact, high-end restaurants are willing to pay more money for a premium product with significant taste. After it, Forest Pig hopes to reach to other local markets.
Forest Pig’s expected product received a lot of love from the judges and audience, who all claimed to buy the products when released. Wish the team all the best in their business road to bring premium and ethical products to customers.
IV. Winner team: Kitchen Hotel!
You have been dreaming about your own catering services, but struggle to build a professional kitchen? What are you going to do when this limitation will just disappear, since you can rent a kitchen with reasonable prices to cover all your needs? Kitchen Hotel idea’s is building one large space where they can fit several kitchens, or in another words: a kitchen hotel. This shall help solve the problem with the lack of affordable kitchen space in cities and reduce the time and initial cost of establishing a catering restaurant (establishment cost approx. €85K and daily variable cost €300/day– according to research from the team). Nowadays, a new trend is emerging where a lot of restaurants do not have dining areas, which only do straight delivery from kitchen. So Kitchen Hotel targets customers which are catering businesses and new restaurant entrepreneurs but also current restaurants focused in take away and delivery food in Helsinki.
During the weekend, the team had troubles forming a solid and profitable business plan. However, with the help of several mentors and caterer businesses, they overcame it by totally flipping their rental strategy and opting for high utilization rate. They are aiming to establish one large kitchen facility with 6-10 kitchens in Helsinki city, and then expanding to more cities in Nordic area.
The team consists of Joonas Jämsä whose field is in property law services, Roope Karjalainen who has worked already several years in capacity optimization. Kasimir Kaitue, previously founder of a marketplace startup and experience in business development, innovations and future. With a balancing team. Kitchen Hotel is having a promising business future!
Thank you all for contributing to a successful Startup Weekend Helsinki Food! Wish you all the best with your startups and careers!