It’s easy to say if you’ve seen one pitching competition, you’ve seen them all. But mark you calendars next week for the Polar Bear Pitch, this upcoming Wednesday the 25th where startups (and investors) are popping into an ice hole in the Oulu river to tell the world about their startup for as long as they can stand to be in the ice.
This is the event’s second year, and is building upon last year’s fun event and live stream. For the Nordic tech scene, it’s people you know freezing themselves for our entertainment, and for those outside our region it’s a good look at the companies coming out of here – there are startups from Norway, Sweden, Estonia, the Netherlands, and the UK lined up to hop into the water. No matter where you are, you can watch the event on their website, and we’ll be sure to have a streaming link on ArcticStartup as well.
It’s not all for the love of the show though – one feedback you hear from VC’s all the time at pitching competitions is that entrepreneurs need to cut down to the core of their pitch and get VCs and the crowd excited about your idea while they’re in spotlight – there doesn’t need to be the formulaic customers, revenue projections, “we have a great team” bullet points to hit.
Luckily the icy water in the frozen Oulu river is a good motivation to cut down to the fundamentals. And while there’s going to be a few entertaining breaks for music and other fun stuff (yes, in the ice hole), the Polar Pitch Fest team didn’t choose their startups out by who would look best in a swimsuit or who’s just looking for publicity. The competition is designed to be a good dealflow for investors around the world interested in startups from the frozen north.
“It’s not a bunch of gimmicks going into the ice hole. That’s the main thing people really ask us. Why do startups want to go there? You really have to think about what you have to say, get out the essentials, and capture as much as you can,” says event creator Mia Kemppaala.
Kristoffer Lawson, behind the top-secret project Solu, met his cofounder Javier Reyes at Polar Bear Pitch last year and has since founded a company together. Lawson paints his time in the ice hole in no small terms: “We didn’t realise it at the time, but the Polar Bear Pitch was the formation moment of our company, Solu. It was a gem of Finnish craziness that has now created ripples that quite possibly will spread out for all eternity.”
So again: Mark in your calendar this Wednesday, February 25th, at 14:00 EET that the livestream is on. Last year we had it broadcasting in our office, and if you’re paying attention to the Nordic tech scene you shouldn’t miss it.
Photos by: Henri Luoma Photography.