Students fintech startup team Stellarmus won the mentoring and investment package offered by the Startup Passion programme at the end of their three event series.

The winning team spoke to us about their fintech idea after a five-day training course on lean startup, customer development and storytelling, amongst other key topics:

“We are making a solution for banks, that will solve problems for their transaction business,” says a member of the Stellarmus team. “Now there are many payment solutions, like Paypal or Transferwise which are very cheap for people who are paying cross-border transactions, but we are making a solution for the banks themselves to make this cheaper.”

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Using the Stellar currency platform, they intend to build their product around the blockchain technology and then offer this solution to the banks.

The guys from this winning team said that the programme has helped them to understand the importance of the art of a good pitch, and that it shouldn’t be just one member of your team that is the designated ‘pitcher’, as things can come up that mean – as did with them – another has to step in:

“Everyone on your team should be able to pitch because you never know what will happen.”

The team had praise for the programme and the advice, saying that, “there were very good ideas and advice, including about how to pitch, breathing techniques and things that meant I performed better than if I didn’t know that.” They had praise for the mentors too and especially Viesturs Sosārs.

Sosārs, is a serial entrepreneur and business angel who co-founded Real Sound Lab – a globally known audio technology company and as was its CEO for 8 years. He is now co-founder of Ampple, an accessory providing high-quality sound for the iPad; he also teaches entrepreneurship at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga. He spoke with us about his contribution to the bootcamp event.

Viesturs Sosārs

“I’m coaching and mentoring teams, helping then with their business models, customer development and pitching. Startup Passion is special in relation to other fostering initiatives because it has a very interesting concept, that is to get together students from different cultural backgrounds – hard science suggests they are more efficient than teams build from one single background.”

In reflection over the recent event, he states that “the content was really very good, on topics that I was not delivering, so I could have a third party view of the quality – things like marketing, startup marketing in particular, also on fundraising and similar things. Moreover, the programme is structured in a way that allows teams to work on their own projects during the events, and that is really very good.”

He goes on to say that “Isolated ideas are neither good nor bad, it’s about execution, adjusting and pivoting it into something doable,” suggesting Startup Passion helps with that.

His parting advice for new startups and young students thinking of this route is this:

“Starting a startup business is hard work, it’s long hard work and you really have to have decent motivation and a proper mindset to engage on that journey. Sometimes it’s perceived that you have to come up with an idea, and everything else will fall into place but it’s not like that. It’s not only luck, you need  luck of course, but you can’t win the lottery without buying a ticket, and with startup, you have to buy as many tickets as possible, and keep buying them!”

The Startup Passion training and mentoring programme for students of Tallinn University, Riga’s SSE and Kymenlaakso polytechnical is backed by the EU and run by Finnish firm Cursor Oy.