I survived the first week of Startup Sauna

I am sitting in a Finnair lounge waiting for my plane to get back home, to Oulu. The first thing I did was to read Helsingin Sanomat, Finnish daily, to see what has happened in the world during the last week. The first week of long days of intensive planning, networking, pitching and thinking of focus, are behind.

The startup scene is imagined to consist of cool co-working spaces, international hipsters cooking in open kitchens, drones, skateboards and people sitting in coaches with their MacBooks or playing guitar. Startup Sauna is everything mentioned above, and during the November you can find 40 hungry entrepreneurs working late while perfecting their pitches or business plans for the next session.

The theme of the first week in Startup Sauna was the focus. The session that crystallized the matter was Riku Asikainen’s (Startup Sauna’s former head coach) great lecture “One Mountain at a Time.” During the first week, we have been perfecting our message and clarifying our business, go-to-market strategy, messaging and customer focus with multiple rounds of workshops. We have been using tools like Business Model Canvas, different pitching techniques, and unique selling proposition models. It would take ages for me to go through all the sessions, but I must mention Mike Bradshaw’s tough pitching lessons (learn some yourself from his free courses at Eliademy) and very intimate session by Sauna alumnus, Peter Seenan (a great blog post on our session written by Peter).

Startup Sauna coaches have been priceless assets in one-on-one meetings. I can’t highlight enough the value we got from Startup Sauna alumni and coaches (special thanks to Pekka Koskinen, Otto Hilska, and Duane Atkins). They have made the journey already and are now pushing their help to us with solid pieces of advice!

This year Startup Sauna participants come from 6 countries. Working together in this very inspiring environment gives us a great opportunity to boost each other. Startup Sauna also has a real sauna, and since we got great early winter days during the first week, the surroundings were full of snow angels (done naked after good “löyly”). Before the sauna, we had a BBQ, a fantastic culinary feast, prepared by 3 Russian teams (they called themselves “Da Russian Mafia”).

Looking forward to the next week!

Tommi Tallgren, CEO at Softagram.

Meet the fall ’16 batch at Startup Sauna’s Demo Day at Slush on Nov 30th, 6:30pm – 8:00pm.