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