GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END HOWEVER THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT

They say that eventually all good things must come to an end. On April 7th we had the last gathering of our Turbiini Spring 2017 Pre-Startup Program. We called the event “Season Finale” because it felt like it was the last episode of an awesome HBO show. For the last three months we worked with teams from various backgrounds to help them turn their idea into startups. It was an interesting journey full of a range of emotions that comes with the territory whenever you are trying to build something great. On the final day there were five teams that answered the call to arms and were willing to step up to the plate and pitch their ideas to the public. They were in no particular order: Triumf, Safe Go, Muesli.life, Nikkes and Cleaning Observer. Much thanks to all the program participants and the speakers who helped make the Turbiini Spring 2017 Pre-Startup Program possible. Below is a brief breakdown of each team and their idea.

Triumf had focused on developing a game that improved the psychological assessment of children who were undergoing cancer treatment and help to alleviate some of the mental pain and discomfort by giving them a stimulating activity to focus on. Their platform collected patient data through a game environment and allowed parents of guardians to better understand the mental state of the child. Drawing on their vast academic experience in the field of psychology the team made significant strides and overcame obstacles in order to position themselves for future success.

Go Safe was a team that came into the program with their shoe laces already tied and were ready to hit the ground running in order to get far. In a short amount of time the team developed strong interest from both local and international partners. It is amazing how quickly the team managed to develop an investment ready idea. Go Safe utilized sensors to develop a solution which served as a digital guardian angel for anyone engaged in motor sports. The application sensed when a person fell down asked them if they were okay. If no response was given, the application would then automatically call the appropriate emergency contact. Any investors out there should keep a close eye on this team.

Muesli.life allowed people to make a customized muesli breakfast that is delivered to their door. The team challenged the old belief system that a healthy breakfast had to be boring. The story of Muesli.life gives hope for those of us who were looking to add a little diversity to our lives. Muesli.life made great progress because they had remained focused on their initial idea and stuck to their vision. By the end of the three month program the team managed to launch a website.  In case you were wondering they are open for business https://muesli.life/

Nikkes focused on delivering European clothing brands to customers a large market through an e-commerce platform. This dynamic duo combined Finnish expertise and Russian know-how to create a web platform where store vendors from Finland can sell their items directly to  Russian consumers. By beginning to interview customers Nikkes began to refine their idea and better understand the market. The team overcame obstacles and kept their focus in order to launch their website http://www.nikkes.ru/

Cleaning Observer was an IoT based idea that used sensors to collect data and notify cleaning staff when items such as toilet paper and soap were running out. The idea conceptualized utilizing the 5-day Design Sprint method made popular by Jake Knapp in his book. In a matter of few days we witnessed the rapid transformation of an idea into a conceptual prototype that was ready to be shown to customers. By interviewing several industry experts Cleaning Observer managed to arouse the interest of a local cleaning company. It may surprise you to hear that the Cleaning Observer was not the work of an entire team but a single motivated individual.

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Author: Misa Bakajic

Startup community excursion

Last week we had a chance to join the participants from the Turbiini Pre-Startup Program on two day city safari to explore the Helsinki startup eco-system. We hoped that the city would reveal the community that helped give birth to global brands such as: Rovio, Supercell and Slush. In the past few years there has been several organizations that have been contributing to the local startup scene, each with their own mix of value adding services. We wondered if maybe there was a common theme that was present in the Helsinki startup eco-system, one that could be identified as a secret recipe for startup success.

Our group visited a total of eight organizations over the period of two days. On the first day we would visit: Microsoft Flux, NewCo Helsinki, Maria 0-1 and Techcode. The second day we focused mostly on organizations which were based around the Otaniemi campus of Aalto University.  In Otaniemi we visited: Vertical Accelerator, Startup Sauna, Fab Lab and Aalto Startup Center. There was of course many more awesome places we could have visited, but in the end our list had to be kept short, and so the organizations were chosen based on their importance to the local startup scene and our ability to reach out to them.

The organisations we visited were a mix of privately and publicly funded organizations all of which offered some sort of co-working space, hosted events and provided startup education. While all the places offered some sort of long-term space rental contract to startup teams, in most cases the services for startups were free of charge. The type of benefits offered for startup teams differed from training programs to community events. Some places like Vertical Accelerator and Startup Sauna had an application process that handpicked teams to reach specific target goals. Other places like NewCo Helsinki and Microsoft Flux offered a more freestyle option for working. It was a nice to see there was a large amount of local support that was available.

One common motif that emerged from our two day adventure was the importance of community. Each of the places we met took great care to create the conditions where people could meet in a physical space and share ideas. Also the hosts of each organization regularly interacted with each other to discover the best practices for improving their space. It seemed like everyone understood that they were a part of a larger startup eco-system that functioned as a sum of many different parts. While each organization functions on its own, the knowledge sharing enables the entire eco-system to prosper. It seems that it takes an entire startup village to raise a unicorn.

Startup van
Startup van

Author: Misa Bakajic

CUSTOMER VALIDATION USING FACEBOOK ADS

For those who are not familiar with Timo Herttua he is a Helsinki based Growth Marketer who is the current CMO at Plan Brothers. Timo took time away from his busy schedule to come to Turbiini and teach our pre-startup teams a method for validating customers using Facebook Ads. This post outlined some of the theory we learned during the workshop as well as the actual process involved. If you are in the early stage of building your idea using Facebook Ads to validate customers is an inexpensive and fast method.

Timo demonstrated that by using Facebook Ads it was possible to utilize the powerful targeting capabilities of the Facebook platform to easily reach intended customers in our first step towards customer contact. The great thing was that once you learned to use the platform the actual implementation is pretty straightforward and can be easily repeated again. Also since the process is not very expensive; our teams were able to reach their intended audience working with an advertising budget of well under 20€. On the other hand the approach does not offer qualitative data and it does require some basic analytical skills. The technique described by Timo gave us a powerful customer engagement technique that could be added to our ever growing arsenal of startup related knowledge.

The process in more detail

In order to start using Facebook Ads to validate customers you must get Facebook Business, it is easy to set up and you can quickly get going. Then you need a concrete goal and objective so that you can build the type of advert that can be used to target customers. Bellow I have outlined the process of using Facebook Ads to validate customers.

Step 1: Create a Facebook business page.

Step 2: Create goals for your Facebook ads.

Step 3: Choose an objective for your campaign.

Step 4: Choose your target audience and ad spend.

Step 5: Choose how you want your ad to look.

Step 6: Place your order.

Most of the participants had concrete startup ideas they wished to test, but it was also possible to create fictional companies that offered products or service which were not yet ready for launch. Our goal and objective were to gauge public interest by analyzing how many people saw the advert and responded to the call of action, which was to enter an email in order to learn more about the product or service being offered.We also had to decide the audience type (demographic, interests etc.), all of which affected our reach size. For many teams making the actual add was the most challenging but also the most rewarding at the same time. It certainly was not easy to be spontaneously creative in a way that would satisfy the advertising goals of the group and make the rest of the team happy. However, after some time, most teams selected an appropriate picture from the stock photos available or uploaded one of their own. Next, came the accompanying text and the marketing message of the ad. The final objective was to select text that matched the photo and get people to click on the ad, and feel comfortable to sign up on the form provided.

We initially wanted to run the advertising until all the groups reached the spending limit of 20€, but due to popular demand from some of the teams we extended the time and ran the adverts for an extra half a day. The results varied from team to team depending on how well the advertisement was made and how niche the product advertised was. Generally speaking most people got something out of the exercise because the results spoke for themselves about the effectiveness of the campaign. In a way this was the first real test for all the groups about venturing into the unknown and trying to sell the product. We felt we accomplished a great deal without even setting foot out of the building.

 

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Author: Misa Bakajic

Turbiini Prestartup Program – Autumn 2016

Have you ever dreamt about starting a company?

Now is your chance to build a startup in various ways and fully commit to working it!

Turbiini Prestartup Program is aimed at individuals (searching for a team), entrepreneurs and students who are looking for an opportunity to make their ideas happen, turn them into a venture or get exposed to hands-on startup activities as a team member.

Throughout the intensive program in Autumn 2016, you will learn how to apply systematic methods to build a repeatable and scalable business. In addition you will grasp Evidence-Based Entrepreneurship approaches and principles.

FOR INDIVIDUALS AND ENTREPRENEURS:
As a participant, you can benefit in the following ways. Firstly, build up a new startup based on your idea and gather a team around it. Secondly, if you don’t want to take the full ownership, but you want to be part of a core team bringing your expertise into it, you can join an existing team, that already has a business idea.

FOR STUDENTS:
As a student, you can benefit in various ways. Firstly, you can earn credits from the Entrepreneurship or Elective course (10 ECT). Secondly, it is possible to write your thesis during the program when you base thesis on a Startup Project (15 ECT). Lastly, if other aforementioned options have been completed, you can get great work life experience while building a startup as a founder or team member (15 ECT / 3 months).

Prestartup Program is an accelerator platform of Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences organised by Turbiini Accelerator and it is meant to serve all students regardless of their university background and any entrepreneurial individual or teams. The program takes place in Vantaa Technopolis, Teknobulevardi 3-5, 01350.

IMPORTANT DATES

  • 11.9.2016 – Application closes
  • 19.9.2016 – Program starts

 

PROGRAM

  • 3 months
  • 10 teams
  • 8 training days
  • 10 1-on-1 meetings

 

TRAINING TOPICS

  • Problem-Solution Fit / Product-Market Fit
  • Customer Discovery
  • Service Design
  • NDA & IPR
  • Technology Development
  • International Strategy and Practical Implementation
  • Applying Funding
  • Pitching

 

APPLYING
Tell us some basics about yourself below and indicate whether you are a student, individual or entrepreneur looking to make your own idea happen, to join an existing team or build a new team. Finish the application in the following link: http://bit.ly/2bDBBhY

Let us know:
1) describe shortly your business idea
2) what kind of skill-set you can bring into table? What are your skills, knowledge, passion and/or past experiences.
or
3) what type of team members you are looking for: the current needs of the your business idea, case or project.

Please note that people will be chosen to the teams based on the team needs and the applicants’ attributes. A maximum of 10 teams will be built.

Lastly, be prepared to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) with the team that you want to work with.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Hannes Jesar / Turbiini Accelerator via email: hannes(at)turbiini.net.

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Introducing Turbiini’s advisors!

Our group of experts is vast. Next we will introduce you two professionals with interesting backgrounds. One of them wasn’t planning on working at the office at all, and the other one is in charge of multiple operations. Both of them know how to handle things on a big scale, and how to focus on details.

Heikki Santti is the experienced, multitalented professional advisor at Turbiini Accelerator. He has studied in Aalto University, and worked for the University of Helsinki and Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. Heikki ended up to work at Turbiini as he has been working for Metropolia’s Electria-unit. In addition to development projects at Electria, Heikki is actively searching for new company projects and selling Turbiini’s services.

Heikki says that the traditional customer meetings and an open communication are still the ways to do the trick: “The platforms, channels and tools are developing, but the core elements of marketing and selling still remain the same.” Heikki is putting a high value on the ability of learning new things. Due to his work for Turbiini, he is learning something new every day, and likes to operate with a team that consists of people from different backgrounds. Heikki considers that it is essential to understand to put the information into a good use, and spread it to all operating partners. Combining the experience and the new information is the key to achieve a communicative and effective working-environment. He is putting his own expertise into good use by helping companies to find their core skills. “The idea of the whole thing is to be a part of the team, finding the competitive advantage and the things that are differing one from another.

Heikki is encouraging everyone to develop their communication skills and to keep the conversation going. The most important thing is to listen: “We should listen in order to understand, not in order to find the one thing that the opposite is probably missing or doing wrong.” Asking questions is also important. “With good questions we are going forward, and the core of the selling process lies in well-placed questions”, Heikki says. He mentions, that the biggest trigger for his communication skills to develop, was the time he spent as a training manager.

One of the earliest career plans was to become a forester, living in a castle, owning dogs and drinking good scotch. After five years it is possible that Heikki is retired. However, he likes his job that much, that he wishes to be able to continue working in a same kind of an environment. Develop his skills, avoid becoming too routined, and most of all, learn something new every single day.

Hannes Jesar is the innovative startup-professional, the advisor of Turbiini Accelerator. His job includes, as a matter of fact, all sorts of imaginable things. Hannes graduated from Metropolia Business School in 2015, and has a vast working experience; he has been working for a family company, for LaskIT with accounting and finance and with startups for HUB13.

The open position was easy to find just by browsing open working placements. Hannes has been starting to develop Turbiini right from the start. The rest is history, as Hannes started to build the new startup accelerator, boosting the culture of experimentation.

Hannes is in charge of the big things as well as the tiny ones. He is being in touch with the customers, keeping the processes going and coaching the interns into the Turbiini’s world. During these eight months, Hannes has learnt how a big organization is handling the processes, and which things should be considered as planning the operations. He says that he has been getting to know to Vantaa a bit better; “As a matter of fact, there is much more to see than just Myyrmäki and Tikkurila.

Hannes considers, that understanding the big scale with its’ many different aspects is vital:  “Many people are looking for a simple answer to fit into a simple question. However, this isn’t always possible. Things are rarely black-and-white, and we must understand that there are many operating parts to think through.” Hannes thinks that when it comes to business life we should aim to develop, and think differently, challenge the old patterns and increase our ability to do quick changes to our plans.  “We must adapt to changing conditions. Decisions we are making today, may require re-evaluation already tomorrow.

In the future Hannes wants to solve the big problems of our society. Well-being and environmental issues are the topics that he founds interesting and important. He is dreaming to be able to continue exactly the thing he is doing right now: building and developing new solutions.

Hannes Jesar & Heikki Santti. Kuva Mikko Taipale, Unionimedia
Hannes Jesar & Heikki Santti. Kuva Mikko Taipale, Unionimedia

Get to know Turbiini’s industrial designers!

Our business ladies are introduced, so now it is time to learn about our designers. They are working with the visuals, virtual reality technology and with many other things, as you might soon discover.

Marjut Riihimäki is studying her fourth, and Elina Pätsi her third year of industrial design in Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. Marjut has a degree from Pekka Halonen Academy, as she graduated in 2011. Elina has graduated from Varia, and has studied multiple different fields such as animations and cartoons after that.

Marjut ended up in Turbiini when she was looking a good topic to write her thesis about. As Tiina Vuorio from Turbiini suggested a chance to work with virtual reality, Marjut was more than ready to join the team. Elina is a professional when it comes to working for Turbiini: she worked as an intern at Turbiini last year, and was hired for the job after that.

Marjut is working closely with Turbiini’s Unity-coder Minja Silvennoinen and Turbiini’s 3D-artist Marie Kumpulainen. The team is aiming to gather expertise when it comes to using 3D materials in marketing. Elina is working with SmartLab, and producing different visual marketing materials for Turbiini, that are used, for example, in social media.

So what have our interns learnt so far? “I have gained so much knowledge about camera technology and video production. I have also discovered that companies are actually very interested in VR and it should be seen as a great marketing opportunity!” , Marjut says. “I’m super excited about the practical tasks and more than willing to learn more!” Elina says that she has learnt a lot of the use of new technologies and the opportunities they have to offer. “I have also learnt to analyze my own style of working and well, about the working-life itself.”

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Marjut Riihimäki

In the future Marjut wants to work with a team with a vast field of expertise. “Maybe something with graphic design as well? If I’m not able to become a well-paid trip advisor or something as cool as that!”  Elina says that “The job of my dreams is to be able to work in a place that has a positive atmosphere, and my skills and expertise would be in a good use. Something with visuals, but my options are wide open still.”  So in conclusion, after five years both Marjut and Elina are most likely putting their expertise into practice, with motivating and encouraging people.

And finally the question about the strengths. 

Marjut’s strength is the ability to consider the end user’s experience as planning different concepts. “I think that I’m also good with visuals. And correcting details when needed, no matter if they are pictures or words!”  Elina puts her strengths all together in one sentence: “I am the best me.”  

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Elina Pätsi

Get to know Turbiini’s interns!

A New Year, new goals, new people. After four months of official business, it is time to get you to know the people behind the operations. As we do things differently, we are going to start with our interns.

Turbiini’s co-working space is filled with students from different fields of expertise. Some of them are working on their thesis, some are doing their internships and some are doing both. Trainees are a part of the regular staff, and usually the internship time is from 10 to 20 weeks. We decided to get to know to our trainees a bit better, and find out about their background and future plans. As we are trying to make some business here, let’s start with our business women.

Sandra Lusmägi is studying her third and final year in Metropolia Business School. She is working with many different projects, project management and event production. Tuua Huuskola is studying marketing in Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. She is updating and coordinating Turbiini’s social media pages and writing blog posts, and trying to handle other projects on the side. Sandra and Tuua have been studying at the same campus, but they met the first time at Turbiini. Sandra ended up in here through her network, and Tuua started to put her thesis into practice.

The 20 weeks spent with the internship are supposed to give the students a good start with the working life of their own field. During the internship, it is vital to try, learn, get confused, try again and grow towards the professional way of working and get the hang of the right mindset.  Sandra says that she likes most the innovative startup-environment. There is a chance to learn something new every single day. Tuua says that that she gets motivated by the international environment and the big variety of the tasks.

How about the strengths?
Sandra is trusting on Albert Einstein with this one: “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.“
Tuua says that her biggest strength is the ability to laugh at herself, and not taking life too seriously.

However, the internship is not going to last forever. We wanted to know, where are our trainees after five years? Sandra is aiming to move to Asia, and starting to get her own business running. Tuua wants to work internationally, with things that matter and are connected with something inspiring.

Sandra&Tuua blogikuva
Sandra Lusmägi and Tuua Huuskola