In this series we get to know the team members behind Startup Weekend Tampere and their experiences in previous Startup Weekends they have attended. This is Elisa’s story about attending Startup Weekend in Turku in the fall of 2017.
Hello there! Interested in startups and entrepreneurship? Startup Weekend is a perfect opportunity to experience what it is all about in just 54 hours!
My first Startup Weekend experience took me all the way to Turku. I have dreamed of starting my own company for a couple of years but I still had not found the perfect idea. Or had the necessary push element it seems!
I had my idea on the same day that I pitched it in Turku. I had been following the discussion about whether sexual harassment is a problem also in Finland and the engineering half of me started to ponder:
“A lot of talk, but how to solve this with data?”
A little hint, concentrate on the problem you want to solve and don’t love your original concept too much. It will surely change!
On Friday I pitched the idea of gathering data of sexual harassment based on location from anyone with an app. During the weekend this idea developed further into a reporting system which could make it easier for employees to report about incidents which have made them feel uncomfortable.
The development during the weekend was fast-paced with the coaching of the amazing mentors and 3 validation rounds at the local Shopping mall. With an app prototyping tool named Hotgloo we even built a really simple interface for our app in order to test it out.
On Sunday we were sitting nervous in our seats waiting for our turn to pitch. Just when I was finalizing our slides I got the news. Kauppalehti, a Finnish business magazine, had just published an article where two experts had just said that we need anonymous reporting tools to tackle sexual harassment in Finland. Talk about perfect timing!
Everything had fallen perfectly in place and we won the Startup Weekend, receiving 4 months of office space in Turku and Polar Bear Pitching tickets as a prize! However, the most important prizes from the weekend were the people that you meet. People who are like-minded, creative and supportive.
In case you have ever thought about either starting your company or working in a startup, mark 2-4.3.2018 in your calendar and buy a ticket to the first ever Startup Weekend Tampere! I will welcome you there with our amazing team of organizers from Y-kampus, Tampere ES and Tribe Tampere.
Send us a message on Facebook to Startup Weekend Tampere if you have any questions or doubts whatsoever!
Elisa is part of the team organizing Startup Weekend Tampere in March 2018.
In this series we get to know the team members behind Startup Weekend Tampere and their experiences in previous Startup Weekends they have attended.
Who are you?
I am Aino. I graduated last year from the University of Tampere and have now been working at Tampere University of Technology entrepreneurship and innovation services, Y-kampus, for almost a year.
Among Startup Weekend participants I would probably fall into the category of designers as I do graphic design and photography in my free time. I could also fall into the “other” category since I studied law and business. Anyway this event is not all about these categories, but mixing different skills and backgrounds together so that’s what they are mostly for.
What is your role in organizing Startup Weekend Tampere?
My responsibility in creating this event is mostly marketing and marketing materials. Peace.
Have you attended a Startup Weekend before? When and where?
I attended Startup Weekend in Oulu about a one year ago. I participated just for fun, I had nothing to do that weekend so I bought the ticket after reading some stuff about the event and then went to learn something new and meet new people. “Creating a startup in 54 hours. Eat, sleep, create, repeat. No talk, all action.” Sold!
What was your experience like in Startup Weekend?
The event was just great. We formed a team and worked our project called “Rack”. It was a mobile application to trade your unboxed clothing and we actually came in second if I remember correctly. We even went out to ask people what they think about this idea and our MVP. I learned so much in one weekend about building a business.
Have you continued working with the project that you worked on in Startup Weekend and/or the people you met there after the event? How?
We have been in touch and some of us have had meetings after. Anyway continuing the project was the intention because we were very excited about our idea but it was challenging with everyone living in different cities.
What do you think was the biggest benefit you got from attending Startup Weekend? What did you enjoy the most?
I enjoyed the teamwork and doing the best we could in short amount of time. I really enjoyed working hard with my team and also getting to know other teams and people. After all I went to Oulu and I knew literally no-one from there in the beginning.
Also a big thing was that our team had so much different people also from different countries: one university researcher, students, one high school student and people working for different companies. We had so much to learn from each other.
Why do you want to bring Startup Weekend to Tampere?
Immediately after the event I thought this has to be brought to Tampere, because I had a really good and educational experience in Oulu (and also because even Turku has Startup Weekend now, but we don’t). Startup community is growing fast in Tampere so this is the best time to attend and meet amazing new people with different backgrounds!
For whom would you recommend attending Startup Weekend Tampere?
I recommend this event to anyone with an idea to test or anyone without an idea who wants to simply meet new people, learn many things, eat and use their weekend for creating something new.
I also recommend this specifically to designers who want to get more experience in creating fast mockups or designs in a very short amount of time or otherwise want to try working in a startup team for a while. Great way to present your work to people and also test your skills!
Aino is part of the team organizing Startup Weekend Tampere in March 2018.
Giving a pitch means telling about your company or idea in a short, captivating way that gets the potential investors interested in your thing. A good pitch includes explaining why your business is going to succeed. It’s also important to talk about the market size and how are you going to make the money. It’s all about making your business idea attractive for investors.
Other good aspects of a promising pitch is telling about the strengths of your team, and of course the numbers. What do you need, or, how much and what for?
Anastasia Shiverskikh – Finance and Sponsors
“I want to create a portable sun for the long Finnish winters.”
I am passionate about music and love seeing artists perform live.
The secret favorite song of mine is Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley, but don’t tell anyone.
The best about Oulu is that it has everything one would need for comfortable living. You get nature, opportunities for professional development, fun events to attend and nice places to go out.
I had a special experience related to Startup Weekend when I participated it about a year ago and the first day of the event was on my birthday.
Top secret business idea of mine is to create a portable sun for the long Finnish winters.
Launching the MVP is basically testing your hypothesis fast and cheap. The minimum viable product has just enough features to satisfy the early customers. You’ll get customer feedback fast and you’ll find out if the product is market fit. The feedback of the MVP tells you if the problem you’re solving is big enough and the solution you’re offering is good enough. And when we say viable, we mean saleable.
Elina Kaihua – Member of the Marketing Team
I’ve planned a robot that pours coffee into one’s mouth before the person is fully awake.
I love to do planning and create lists. I also love to go for a coffee and shopping. It’s a shame that I don’t love jogging because it really could enhance my life.
I secretly live like an average grandma. I love knitting and watching cake decoration clips on Instagram. I like to do scrapbooks and go to bed early.
I really love to sniff puppies. They have such a sweet scent.
The best thing in Oulu is to go to the market square in summer.
I’ve had lots of inspiring Startup Weekend experiences but it always sticks into mind when it’s time to go for the final pitch in front of the judges, and the most nervous ones manage to deliver the greatest pitches ever!
Top Secret business idea of mine is the morning robot. I’ve planned a robot that pours coffee into one’s mouth before the person is fully awake. And of course the robot cooks the coffee first. And takes the dog out in the morning. The robot also performs a professional neck massage when ordered.
Validation is the phase which too many new entrepreneurs will unfortunately skip. It separates the organized innovators from the just hopeful and enthusiastic ones. Validating your business idea basically means asking questions, considering your ideas, choosing the best and discussing about it with experts and potential customers.
Validation saves time and money. Usually the most useful question is whether the potential customer is willing and capable to pay for your service or product. Ideas are cheap. You must also ask yourself if you are willing and capable to produce the service or product. The goal of the validation process is to find out if the product is viable. And always you should remember to leave the building: go out and discuss your ideas.
Udgum Khadka – Marketing Team
My mindshift shifted from then.
I love travelling and meeting new people.
A secret favorite of mine is a Salmiakki cake. Salmiakki is a salty liquorice tasting candy which Finns love.
Favorite part about Oulu is the compact, amicable and supporting community.
The one special experience related to Startup Weekend is obviously when I participated and won the first ever Startup Weekend Oulu. My mindset shifted from then.
Top secret business idea is a business letting a person experience opposite gender’s life for some days or even weeks!
The team Edukate, now known as Melutek from Startup Weekend Oulu’s February 2017 edition, is two-months later happy to announce that their product is being tested in four locations around Oulu. Their stylish noise-detection and instantaneous reporting device was born within 54 hours and since then the progress has been fast. Melutek got a boost as they won Kielo Growth’s hardware track prize from Startup Weekend Oulu which awarded them with coworking space and mentoring from the hardware experts at Kielo.
We sat down for a chat with the team to catch up.
Why did you decide to join Startup Weekend?
One of our teammates had heard about Startup Weekend from his friend and persuaded the rest of us to join. School was winding down and we knew we would now have some free time and we really wanted to start some new project. Startup Weekend seemed like a good way to kickstart something new. Before the event we were brainstorming for new ideas, and settled on an idea for measuring the sound level in a room.
What happened at Startup Weekend?
We got there, and were excited to meet new people and liked the atmosphere instantly. We didn’t really know what to expect, and we were really nervous about sharing our idea. Luckily Henkka was brave enough to pitch, and he went in front of the 70 people to share it. Even though there were like 30 ideas, our idea was voted on to continue. We got a few more team members to join our team and we got started.
We started brainstorming potential uses for it, and realized fast that we need to find a target audience and figure out if there is any demand for it. If we would have made just a general gadget, maybe no one would have needed it. Soon we realized that classrooms could really use a device like this.
We wanted to physically build the product, and so we divided our team roles well. 2 focused on the business and 3 on the product. One of the mentors even brought cables for us to attach to Arduino because otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten it done. The premises in the Fingersoft building were incredible since there was space to weld.
On Sunday night, 44 hours after starting the work, we were already pitching to investors and the audience. However, two hours before the pitch we were missing some crucial cables. Luckily Tuomas found two old mouses from the trash and we turned those into a potentiometer and the cable for the push button.
We knew that we needed to wow the jury, and so we had to fake how our product works. As it was the Startup Weekend right before Polar Bear Pitching, the whole SW had been using the bear roar to energize the group. In the middle of our pitch we asked for the group to roar, and wanted our noise detector to react to it. We were missing the microphone, so during the roar we faked and put the readings in ourselves 😀 Fake it till you make it, right? Now it works naturally of course.
What happened after Startup Weekend?
We won the Kielo prize from Ari Takanen, and thus we got coworking and mentoring from the Kielo Hardware Incubator. This was an amazing opportunity to be surrounded by so many great businesses who were also building new products, and were able to give us so much advice! Without them we wouldn’t even be where we are now. Also having one common location for us to meet up was important.
One guy we actually met at Kielo became excited about our idea and funded our prototypes so that we could do more testing and validation. We’ve really gotten to experience the startup life, sometimes working until 5 AM because of a deadline, and we love it!
Now we have summer jobs and need to focus on those. But it’s good that now our products are visible in five different locations around Oulu and are being tested. You can see it in Tellus, OP Lab, OAMK, Oulun nuorten työpaja, and in Touhula daycare center. We need the valuable information from testing to be able to further develop our product.
When we brought our noise detector to the daycare center, they loved it so much that they asked us to bring them another one since they had two groups and the other group was jealous. They had had a manual cardboard version trying to achieve the same thing and were super happy for a digital one, and asked what would the price for this be.
Any tips or advice for others who are considering if they should join Startup Weekend?
Just go! And really don’t worry about it being in English. Startup Weekend being in English was actually a really good way to learn it more since nobody cares how good your English is! Go there, meet new people and have fun while learning! SW is also the place to be even for building hardware projects. Also do go to SW as soon as possible, our only regret is that we didn’t go sooner.
In the Melutek team now:
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!