Helsinki based Startup Sauna accelerator gathered together for the 11th time some of the most promising startups from Nordics, Eastern Europe, Russia and United States. According to the head coach of Startup Sauna, Riku Asikainen, this spring’s batch of companies was stronger than ever before.


The alumni of spring 2015 Startup Sauna

This spring’s Startup Sauna program finished last week as 14 teams pitched their ideas to a full house at Demo Day in Otaniemi, Espoo. The head coach of the accelerator program Riku Asikainen was proud of the latest batch joining the alumni of 145 companies that have raised in total over $37 million in funding after graduating.

“It’s incredible that over 1000 foreign startups want to come to Helsinki to find funding, sources for growth and to gather knowledge. This shows how attractive location Helsinki is for startups all over the world and how tough the competition is.”

Fourteen companies that participated at this spring’s Startup Sauna included software innovations as well as market place solutions, and Asikainen believes that these companies have the potential to finish several funding rounds in the near future. Asikainen emphasizes that this spring’s batch of companies was stronger than ever, and the level of the program has raised already from last fall significantly.

“Our goals for this group were set extremely high, because all the companies were already further with their operations than last year’s batch. We had a lot of motivated and experienced people, who were fully engaged to work hard for five weeks,” says Asikainen.

As all the graduated teams will get to participate in this year’s Slush, six of the teams will travel to Silicon Valley for a learning trip after midsummer. The teams that were chosen to the trip are Instagram market place inSelly, sales lead service Leadfeeder, world hunger tacklers of Entocube, app review and engagement service Insightsforce, privacy oriented cloud-mobile database CryptonorDB and contextualization and personalization service bitREC.

During the 5 day visit, the startups will be meeting VC’s, angel investors, local influencers, customers and potential partners alongside accelerators and Finnish companies operating in the region.

Focusing on quality

The next Startup Sauna accelerator will start in October, and Asikainen tells that the size of the next batch will stay the same as the main focus of the program is on quality. The coaching team will go through some changes for autumn while Asikainen hints that he is stepping down from the head coach position.

“There’s a lot of interest towards the program also from coaching perspective, which describes how highly appreciated Startup Sauna is. We got this spring for instance Matti Alahuhta, the former CEO of Kone, sharing his experience and knowledge with the teams,” says Asikainen – without revealing the new head coach yet.