Editor’s note: This was an unsolicited post by Johanna Eiramo, one of our residents at the Minimum Viable Office, cross-posted from her blog. We need a fresh influx of new startups, so come join us!

Working at the MVO has a hidden advantage that is hard to sell. You’re here and opportunities materialize. Today, I can verify that this is very much the case.

I came to work, found a free desk, open my computer and in walks an old friend, Ismo Rantala of Nest New York fame. He was looking for Will Cardwell (in charge of strategic university partnerships for Aalto University) and Bruce Oreck (US Ambassador to Finland). I haven’t seen either of these two gentlemen in donkey’s years, so I follow Ismo to say Hi! On the way, I find out there’s a pitching session about to start at the Loft, with Will and Bruce doing the sparring. So I grab my computer and here is what I heard:

Tespack is introduced by Mario Aquilera. A backpack with attached solar panels, Tespack promises to charge your mobile devices with the energy it collects during daylight. There was an animated discussion whether or not the bag itself is a selling point, or the solar technology that it carries, enabling mobile gadgeting on the go even in remote areas. This question will remain to be answered by the Tespack team.

Lease Green, introduced by Juho Rönni, is building a process to identify energy efficiency bottlenecks in buildings and design the implementation of technologies that will solve that problem. Leaning heavily on being technology agnostic, the Lease Green method will find the best alternative for each building and oversee implementation of the work for a predetermined fixed term.

Markku Makkonen from Fourdeg discussed tackling the problem of varying indoor temperatures in buildings, which leads to rising heating costs. The software developed connects sensors in the rooms to thermometers attached to the radiators, making it possible to remotely control the temperature of entire buildings. The software will make it possible to, for instance, lower the heating temperatures for nighttime and weekends, lowering heating costs. With two pilots ongoing, the proof will be in the pudding soon.

YouLapse introduced music and photos to the session, showing an application that will make a collage of your chosen photos into a 3-4 minute explosion of images and giggles. Giggles provided by the watcher, mind you. The app is based on a freemium model, with charges for premium features and gaming elements to spur active usage and distribution among friends.

At this point it was a fun surprise see a low-tech product pitch by May Huang of Insjö. A bag-in-a-bag concept for ladies who like to change handbags, but want to always carry certain, set necessities. Keep them all in the Insjö bag, and as you change handbags and you’re sure to move all important content into the new handbag as well. You have to leave the house once with a new handbag but without your keys and you’ll know May is onto something.

Next onstage, Net Medi with their Kaiku SAAS model mobile platform that creates an online follow-up tool for doctors, nurses and patients, who can keep track of patient transmitted data such as form responses and pain levels. The service is being piloted by Docrates and the Hislanden clinic in Switzerland. Pilots will soon extend to the Helsinki and Tampere University Hospitals.

Tomas Novotny of 720 degrees reminded us of the wide variety of health problems that an unhealthy indoor environment can cause. Providing a wireless monitoring system for factors such as indoor air quality, light and noise levels and occupational health issues, the company is building a network of devices, displays and online analytics to bring down the number of health related problems that arise from the poor management of indoor environments.

The session was finalized with a doze of healthy food, served by Ambro’s Simo Suoheimo. Ambro is taking food to its bare core: all the nutrients you need in a bag, but admittedly with “a harsh taste,” says Simo. Organic, pulverized, meal-in-a-scoop. They’re thinking consumers who are health nuts, I’m thinking panic trail food for me. Either scenario is a possibility.

I think it’s safe to say that Bruce and Will gave the startups a run for their money with to-the-point questions, insightful suggestions and short one-on-one discussions after the session.

And there you have it. My dose of new information from the MVO before 12 noon on a Monday morning! Thanks to NewCoFactory‘s Jaana Pylvänen and Ana Belen for making the event happen and for letting me crash it!

About the author:
Johanna is a Helsinki based marcomms professional, fascinated with the startup scene. With in-house experience from companies of varied sizes (startups, non-profit organizations, multinational listed companies) and fields (tech, pulp&paper, pharma, inward investments), Johanna is now looking to learn more from founders and builders of interesting companies as a hired gun.

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