Why should you still travel to find startups?

August 2, 2017

Let’s face it, most accelerators are revisiting their business model and trying to find a cost-effective way to attract top notch startups to their programmes. One of the first things to go is often the travel budget. Which is understandable, especially if alternative methods of sourcing deal flow yields similar results.

However, numerous other benefits often go unnoticed. Here are 3 things that we get out of travelling for over a month in a row to meet prospective startups.

Firstly, we build a local network of VCs, startup hubs, and corporates. When we go to a city, say Budapest, we arrange an event with local startup ecosystem stakeholders. We get to know them on a personal level, we build trust, coach startups from their community, introduce them to our network in the Nordics and foster relationships with local companies and VCs.

This network is then used to give value back to the startups that we bring to our program in Helsinki, through pilots, VC intros or further advice, coaching or support at home once they come back from Finland.

Secondly, marketing. We might or might not be gods at targeting the right audiences with Facebook ads, Google, etc., but nothing beats impressed startups and stakeholders of the local startup ecosystem spreading the word through a tightly-knit community. Every year we get a large chunk of our applicants through word of mouth from startups that we did not even accept into our program.

Lastly, teambuilding. These road shows or tours are tough. We have a 4 person management team that goes on the road for over a month. Each of us have an average of 20 travel days and it obviously has an impact on our personal lives, which we might or might not have. However, there are very few things that brings a team together as well as going through similar demanding and draining milestones. VCs also prioritise teams in their decision-making, here’s a great post how they make their decisions. 

So... travels are great for us, and here’s what we are doing for fall 2017.

Hack Tour Europe

This time we’re doing this with a bit more of a bang! Our core region in Europe stays the same (Nordics, Baltics, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, Russia and a few spots in Asia), but this time we’re going on the road with two other Junction, Europe’s largest hackathon, and Slush, the legendary startup tech conference. These one-day events will include 3 things: a startup coaching event, workshops for developers, a workshop and party from Slush.

Looking for #100finnishstartups

Another twist to our fall tour was catalyzed by Finland turning 100 years this year. We are taking our oldie but goldie Sauna with us for 2 weeks on a trip around Finland. Travelling to 14 cities and hunting for #100finnishstartups.

The last leg of our local events is going to is start with our two favorite cities eastern Europe, Minks and Kyiv, and culminate with Slush Singapore and our 3 day event in Seoul, South Korea. Our Alumni from that region have shown incredible traction and the region is flourishing with kick-ass deep tech and blockchain startups.

See you on the road and ping us all on twitter if you want to meet up.

@startupsauna
@slushHQ
@Hackjunction