Meet the Team

Panu Paljakka


Lived his childhood in Brussels, studied physics, found startups and entrepreneurship through Aalto Entrepreneurship Society and Slush in 2013. Panu makes sure the team gets the most out of themselves, while wearing a big fat smile.

Kasper Suomalainen

Captain & COO

Kasper takes his first sailing classes this year to make the accelerator run in a smooth, crispy, Sauna-heated fashion. He’s in charge of the program content whilst captaining 70 coaches to make the 5-week stint as intensive for the startups as possible.

Karolina Miller


Sauna’s First Lady, will be taking over marketing and comms and has a firm intention to boost Sauna’s brand to the highest possible, sublime, level. Karolina holds a degree in Media and Communication and prefers seeing things in a neat, written form.

Riku Asikainen

Head Coach

Seasoned entrepreneur with strong emphasize on growth investments on SMEs.He has been founder, director and investor in more than thirty ventures.

Moaffak Ahmed

Head Coach

Serial entrepreneur and hands-on early stage investor with over 20 years of marketing and business development experience in Europe, North America and Asia.

Ilkka Kivimäki


Will make startups go through blood, sweat, tears and extreme heat. Ilkka is a serial entrepreneur and an angel investor. His passion is to build companies that make a difference.

Antti Niini

Space Emperor

The shell of a biker and the core of a teddy bear. Antti a.k.a. the Space Lord smoothly takes care of everything related to the Startup Sauna co-working space.

Jaakko Hynynen

Senior Advisor

Keeps the accelerator on course at full steam. Has a background in Web Development and rocking the dancefloor. Likes to cook and play badminton.


Startup Sauna co-working space is the meeting point for aspiring entrepreneurs in Northern Europe. The 1.500 square meter industry hall is open for everybody to work in – no membership or previous ties to Startup Sauna are required.
Our physical address is Betonimiehenkuja 3D, 02150, Espoo, located at the Aalto University campus in Otaniemi – approximately a 10-minute drive from Helsinki centre. Startup Sauna space can easily be accessed with buses number 102, 103, 194, 195 from Kamppi. A cab ride from the city centre will cost you approximately 15€.

Startup Sauna Foundation

Startup Sauna Foundation was founded in September 2012 with a wide national support. It was put up by fifty-seven individual serial entrepreneurs and investors from the community. The reason behind the foundation is to create a more longer-term entity to support its 20-year mission of building a functioning startup ecosystem in the region.

The foundation focuses on developing the core activities such as:

  • Startup Sauna accelerator program – a five-week program for the most promising startups from Nordics, Eastern Europe and Russia.
  • Slush conference – one of Europe’s leading startup and investor conferences, organized every November
  • Startup Life internship program – sending the best students and graduates to different startup hubs to intern at the best startups in the world.

In addition, the foundation provides small grants to individuals and groups boosting the surrounding startup ecosystem by their actions. For more information, please contact Voitto Kangas.

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