Älä itke ruma lapsi, ota rusina. A Finnish idiom which translates into: don’t cry ugly child, have a raisin.
Do you want an honest opinion? Finland is the place to get it. Small talk might not be our strength, but in Finland, you will not need to worry about leaving Startup Sauna only to realize no one told you your product-market fit is appalling. We will tell you it’s no good the moment you enter the door.
We Finns are also known for not being too proud of their country. Overt modesty is another one. If we voice pride, then you can trust that there is plenty of reason. We are proud of Startup Sauna.
What else are we proud of in Finland?
The region to which we belong, the Nordics. Nine percent of global billion dollar exits came from the region in 2015 with the Nordic startup ecosystem called as the biggest unicorn factory in the world. The Finnish Business Angels Network is one of the largest and most active angel investor networks in Europe.
Finland is home to the biggest startup hub in the Nordics offering cheap office space and a priceless community. Finland has the largest and most active student-run entrepreneurship society preparing highly educated talent for startups, non-stop. Finland is home to Europe’s biggest hackathon, drawing the attention of thousands of talents all over the world every year. Finnish November hosts one of the best startup events in the world, bringing in talent and investment. And these are just the flagships.
Startup Sauna is at the heart of it all and gives you the entire network.
What else. The summer midnight sun is cool. Our nature is often said to be somewhat decent. Visit Finland is better at highlighting the other aspects of why it’s okay to spend time in this country. At Startup Sauna we focus on accelerating.
Speaking of acceleration, our Fall ‘17 batch is in da house! We run two of these programs a year, and often in between programs, we start questioning why we do what we do.
The truth is we crave for the feeling of fulfillment. Luckily, the moments of fulfillment comes in different shapes with this profession.
One of them came 3 hours after all the teams from Fall ‘17 batch had arrived at Startup Sauna for the first time. One of the startups came up and asked us to look a term sheet they signed since they had never raised funding or even spoken to investors past pleasantries.
Turns out, it was one of the worst deals we’ve ever seen, real extortion, and we worked through that day to find ways to get them out of it. It would’ve undoubtedly lead to a slow death of that startup.
They got out of it, and the feeling that followed was the one we were looking for in the time between the program – time spent gave this startup something of value. In this case, the “something of value” was more life.
That feeling is why this community is still kicking, and kicking hard. Every single person who coaches or helps startups is doing it to help that startup grow and learn so that they accumulate experience, learning, the capital. Then use this knowledge, learning, and capital in their new companies or to help others. Pay-it-forward is what we are about.
So why Finland? Because of Startup Sauna, you ugly child.