In four weeks the most courageous startups are taking the centre stage in Oulu to pitch … from an ice hole.

Many startups in the Northern Europe are holding their breath looking at thermometer these days. With the cold winds the weather in Oulu has felt like below minus 30 degrees.

And in four weeks the most courageous startups are taking the centre stage there. To be honest, it’s not the stage – it’s the ice hole. Oulu is holding Polar Bear Pitching contest again on Feb 10-11.

The winner takes home 10,000 euro cash prize and get an offer to join Finnish accelerator Catapult.

Estonian Eero Ränik, co-founder of Heelosophy, which makes personalised insoles, took part in last year competition in Oulu. He said he really enjoyed networking opportunity, but some finalists looked rather worn out after a stint in the freezing water.

“I am not afraid of cold, at some point I invited girls to ice hole swimming for the first date. I restructured the pitch a bit to get the most important info definitely out, but eventually I did not feel the cold and I came out when I had nothing more to say, I could have gone on,” he said.

“It was definitely the weirdest place I have pitched, but at the same time it was a great event, the weirdness united the participants and the fantastic crowd.”

Applications, with video, are expected until Jan 22 and then 20 finalists can dive into their pitches – literally – in February.


Would you be up for pitching in the ice hole? Photos: Polar Bear Pitching

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