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Startup Sauna is going on tour this spring as well with their warmups. Warmups are short events that take usually a day, where local entrepreneurs in the cities they visit get to pitch to the Startup Sauna coaches and organisers for a chance to get accepted into the program. The winner of each warmup will receive €1500 as prize money to cover travel and accommodation for the program in Finland. The six week program is taking place in April and May this spring. Based on the quality of the applications, the program will select 10 to 15 companies to participate. Each company will further develop their product or service during the 6-week intesive and present it at the end of the program at the demo day.

During the coming one and a half months, Startup Sauna will visit 11 different places from Shangai to Warsaw as well as Moscow to Kuopio. Below is the schedule as of today:

Shanghai – 22.2.2012
Warsaw – 25.2.2012
Riga – TBA
Kaunas – 8.3.2012
St. Petersburg – 12.3.2012
Moscow – 14.3.2012
Krasnodar – 16.03.2012
Oulu – 20.3.2012
Helsinki – 22.3.2012
Tampere – 29.03.2012
Kuopio – 31.3.2012

In addition to simply touring these cities, the program is also partnering with certain organisations in the startup ecosystem. Some of the companies they’ve come out with include FIBAN (Finnish Business Angel Network), FVCA and Zendesk. I’ve also heard that they are working on partnerships with certain larger companies in Finland to create easier go-to-market opportunities for startups in the program.

Startup Sauna is a key part of stimulating the very early stage startup ecosystem in Finland and surrounding countries. This year it will still be quite free to roam as it wishes, but most likely recently created competition (see our coverage for example on the Startup Wise Guys) in the future will push it even further.

In the end – it’s the entreprenuers attending Startup Sauna and similar programs that win.

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