Finnish startups turn to police, again

A Finnish teenager launched with an immigrant this week an app to solve the queuing problem. Another immigrant says now he was part of creating the business and then he was quickly played out. The teenager says the law enforcement will take care of the case.

Remember Finnish Lunchgate? The story of Lunchie and ResQ Club? At the start of the year, a Finnish guy launched a food leftovers service after working on a similar project for a rival. There were also some threats, some ethical questions. Now the guy has a raised a good investment round and expanded the business well beyond Helsinki.

In the most ethical country of the world, we seem to be at it again – borrowed ideas or stolen business secrets are increasingly common in the startup space.


This week Wednesday Tim Borovkov sent us at ArcticStartup a press release about the launch of yet another queuing app Joinly.

It says he and an immigrant Joshua Akinsanya met just a week earlier, on July 27, saw a problem when queuing at an event in Startup Sauna and solved it in a week.

“Tim suggested we attend the ‘’BBQ by Nordea’’ event in Startup Sauna, we pack our bags and off we go. By the time we got to Startup Sauna there was a long queue, which we joined but the line was not moving also  there were lots of cutting in line,” they wrote in the release.

“We also wanted to join the gaming activities but didn’t want to lose our position in the queue. Joshua, who had a bad back due to a motorbike crash 5 years earlier, didn’t want to stand for so long. All this lead to the Eureka moment: “Everyone wants the BBQ but not the Q”.”

Joshua asked whether there was a solution to the problem, and Tim said they could build one.

“Immediately, we left the queue, went straight into the building, found a nice work space and started the lean canvas and product design – the rest is history. Seven days later, with 7 sleepless nights we have an MVP, a working product,” they said.

We, at ArcticStartup, decided to wait with covering –  too many teams have tried to solve the queuing problem and failed at it.


However, a nice story of a teenager and an immigrant made some headlines in Finnish media.

That triggered Michael Argaw to come out.

Argaw says the story Tim shared in the press release is by default wrong as there were three guys, including himself, who went from Flux to Sauna and queued for a long time for burgers.

“… three of us went on to ideate in a co-working room at Startup Sauna till late evening – features, USP, business model etc. Then after, we created a FB group and went on to work on the project,” Argaw said.

He continued to analyse the market and reached out to Tim on several occasions, but Tim said he was busy with another project.

Michael says on Aug 2 he realised that he was played out of this.

“Not signalling I’m aware of the betrayal I called and asked if they want to continue on this project. Playing business as usual, Tim said he is busy working on another project. After sidelining me, playing me out and working in the background, they claimed that they launched Joinly with a false story,” he said.

Of course, we asked Tim to comment such claims.

Not the bad guys

“We have documented evidence that Michael has been never a part of Joinly and never contributed anything,” he said.

“We will now let the law enforcement and legal system take actions. I and Joshua came up with an idea which Michael is now trying to claim and make us look “The Bad Guys” in this situation,” he said. “Take caution in whatever you decide to publish.”

So far the situation is on “he said, she said” level – we have not seen any evidence to prove either side is correct.

Tim has been working with Michael on Entrepreneurs in Finland platform where they are 2 of the 3 core members of the team – Tim as the Chief Youth Evangelist for entrepreneurship, Michael as the founder.

That explains Michael’s comment: “After sidelining me, playing me out and working in the background, they …  launched Joinly with a false story. Basically, this is very unacceptable and a sign of bad leadership!”

The jury is out over what’s the truth in the Joinly case, but one thing is clear – when you go beyond just idea you have to put on paper how you go forward — who are the founders, what are their roles. That way no-one can be played out, or they cannot claim they have been played out.

Editor’s note: Adds link to Kauppalehti story from which comment thread the discussion started.