Let’s be honest here. Not all the startups need to go to an accelerator. For teams with a clear product market fit, an army of paying customers and right connections, it’s probably better to skip the acceleration period and just do your thing.
Nevertheless, that’s not the case for all the startups. Most of the teams, especially the early-stage ones, have to figure out things. What we sometimes see at Startup Sauna, founders lack the focus and are trying to do too many things while most often they should put all the effort into getting the money from the customers rather than from investors.
“Where’s the money?”, our former head coach, Riku Asikainen, kept insisting, referring to the customers.
Back in the early days, our region was slowly developing into what it is now – a vibrant ecosystem with Europe’s largest startup players such as Slush, Aaltoes, Startuplifers and Junction. Back then our game was a fairly easy one, there weren’t any competitors in our region. Nowadays, the scene has matured and there are plenty of accelerators to choose from. Before diving into an accelerator hunt, take time and investigate accelerators and their offerings.
To help you with your job we’ve listed 10 reasons why you and your team should apply to Startup Sauna.
1. Business insights. Get business specific coaching and constant feedback on your ideas such as business model, pricing, go-to-market strategy. You will get tons of practical advice which you can test during the program.
2. A-list coaches. Investors, serial entrepreneurs, industry experts. These guys have been around the block for a quite a while. Some of them have sold unicorn at the time when unicorns didn’t even have a proper term, rest of them have failed, learned, succeeded, failed again, succeeded. For them life is a long term journey of learning and that’s why they coach at Startup Sauna. The connections you make at Startup Sauna are invaluable.
3. Test yourself. Startup Sauna is a perfect place to widen your horizon and challenge your thinking. Our program is really intense but it’ll save you months or according our fall ’17 alumnus “years of effort”.
4. You’re in a good company. Hangout with the world class Sauna teams. These people are most often masters at their own specific verticals and this is a best place to absorb all the knowledge there is.
5. Unique ecosystem. Our 1,500 square meter co-working space is a birthplace of Slush, Europe's number one startup event, Aaltoes, Europe’s largest community for university entrepreneurship and Junction, Europe’s largest hackathon. Startup Sauna program is a unique chance to immerse oneself into the finest ecosystem in Europe. Each company accepted to our accelerator gets fast track to Slush.
6. Success rate. Our alumni have raised $111M external funding after the program. Our alumni grew their revenue in 2014-2015 by 340%. We are proud alma mater of companies such as Yousician, Infogr.am, Walkbase and all the future rockstars.
7. Length of the program. 7 weeks are long enough for you to get all the information needed, and short enough that it won’t disturb your work cycle.
8. We don’t mess up your cap table. We do not take equity. Period. We also offer free accommodation for two founders during the 7 weeks in Helsinki.
9. London and Berlin VC trips. At the end of each batch, we take our best teams to get to know Europe’s hottest VCs. In January 2017 we visited VCs like Profounders, Index, Mosaic Ventures, Sweet Capital, Salesforce Ventures, BlueYard, Cherry VC, Point Nine Capital, Project A Ventures.
10. Team building. Seldom you’ll have a chance to work this hard side by side with your team. Best place to test group dynamics and grow as a team.
Convinced? Brilliant. How to apply you may ask. We either come to you or you come to us.
This spring we organise local event in the Nordics, Eastern Europe, Russia, Middle East and Asia. If you can’t make it to a local event, please send us an open application.
Other cities will be announced soon!