Startup Weekend Helsinki GSB Edition 2015

    Friday, November 20 - 22, 2015

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
  8. Blog
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Startup Weekend Helsinki GSB Edition 2015

Friday, November 20 - 22, 2015

Friday, November 20 - 22, 2015
Event starts at 6:00 pm

Kaisaniemenkatu 13A
2nd floor
Helsinki, Uusimaa 00100

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What is Startup Weekend?

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event, where developers, designers, and other startup enthusiasts from non-technical fields come together to form teams, validate their ideas, build new products and launch startups. Teams go from an idea scrawled on a napkin to a working prototype and maybe even paying customers, all within a single weekend. This will be the 6th edition of Startup Weekend in Helsinki.

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1500 past events in 726 cities around the world with over 13k startups created with the help of over 123k entrepreneurs. 

How does it work?

Startup Weekend is an event designed to provide superior experimental education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs. Beginning with Friday night, participants get 60 seconds to pitch their ideas to the crowd and try to recruit the best talent in the room. Continuing through brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation, the Startup Weekend culminates in Sunday night demos and presentations, where teams present their minimum viable product (MVP) to a panel of expert judges, fellow participants and other guests. All teams hear talks by industry leaders and receive valuable feedback from local entrepreneurs and mentors. The weekend is centred around action, innovation, and education. 

To find out more about how Startup Weekend Helsinki works, what tools can help you succeed during the event and what the dynamics and practicalities are, attend our free pre-event Startup Weekend Helsinki Bootcamp (register here). 

What is special about this edition of Startup Weekend?

November marks the highlights of entrepreneurship not only in Finland (with SLUSH gathering thousands of attendees) but all over the world too. Startup Weekend Helsinki is part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2015, a world-wide movement that brings together thousands of people in numerous locations around the world to experience entrepreneurship. 

Moreover, this time Startup Weekend Helsinki is officially taking place within Global Startup Battle 2015! The winning team of Startup Weekend Helsinki will compete with teams from other Startup Weekends on regional and international level! 

What do you get out of it? 

- You will get a taste of what it's like in the startup world, and learn first hand about every step of building a startup (at the very least, it'll be a memorable weekend away from your usual daily routine). 

- You might find your perfect co-founder soulmate with whom you'll go on to launch a multi-million dollar startup, be it this weekend or down the road.

- We take care of you during the weekend and all you need to bring is your laptop:
  • Catered food - 7 meals total
  • Unlimited coffee
  • Startup Weekend Helsinki T-shirt
  • Fantastic working space
  • Discounts for some of the best startup tools
  • Access to some of the area's best startup mentors
Plus, if your team wins, you will get heaps of additional resources and mentorship to help you get your startup off the ground. There are also plenty of investors in the crowd, so if your pitches were something special, you might even get funding (it happens!).

How much do you have to pay?

Thanks to our amazing sponsors (do check them out below) you'll only have to pay 49€ for your ticket. Without the help of our sponsors this ticket would be around 99€. All participants get heaps of exclusive goodies including free domain names, web services and more. Not to mention free coaching and guidance from some of the best mentors around. All in all, it's probably the best 49€ you'll ever spend. Early Birds tickets for just 25€ will run out soon, so get one fast! ;) 

So join us, and get ready for the ride of your life. #SWHelsinki

If you want to keep updated with information about the next SWHelsinki be sure to like us on Facebook & follow us on Twitter!

Related Events

Setup for Success Before/After Startup Weekend


Friday November 20th

6:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in. Have some post-it, too!

6:10 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:00 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Victoria and the Organizing Team - Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:05 pm
Microsoft Bizspark intro
Toni will introduce us to Microsoft BizSpark Suomi and how it can help newly formed companies

7:15 pm
Tanja from Zervant will introduce us the wonder of their online tool

7:20 pm
SW Alumni case
Miika and Alex from Faraday

7:25 pm
Ice breaker
Victoria have some magic tricks for you :)

7:45 pm
Global Startup Battle Begins
Let's get familiar with it

7:55 pm
Pitches Start
Line up to pitch your basic idea in 1 minute

8:45 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches - use your 3 post-it

9:15 pm
Form Teams
Start building your team. Take an inventory of skills. Be honest and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. It's ok to change your mind.

10:00 pm
Done for the day!
You can continue in the nearby bar, or may stay and work as late as the venue will allow.

Saturday November 21st

9:00 am
Arrive, continental breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:30 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

1:30 pm
SW Alumni Case
Shahram and Brennan from Froodly

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm
Dinner Proper
Ever heard about comfort food?

7:30 pm
Pitching 101
Facilitated by Victoria, these 10 minutes will remind you how to make your presentation standing out

7:40 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday November 22nd

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Sunday Mahatma Inspiration
Be prepared to be blown away by the talkative power of Aape Pohjavirta. When he's not busy addressing Nobel Prizes Laureate, Aape enjoys participating at Startup Weekend

10:10 am
Coaches arrive. Get ready with your questions

12:30 pm

1:00 pm
Team Checkups
Final opportunity to ASK Questions to our coaches

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation. SW organizing team will be performing the tech-check for your slides

4:30 pm
Final Presentations
5 minutes pitch, and 3 minutes Q&A

6:45 pm

7:30 pm
Final Wrap-up

7:35 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm
See you soon
Get ready for our signature final community picture :)


Aape Pohjavirta

Aape Pohjavirta is a windsurfer who was pushed into the world of digital media (because of his young age) in the late 80’s. Aape is the founder of Funzi. He is also a Member of the Board of the Finnish Mobile Association.Aape began his career as a trainer and has recently returned to this same topic by inventing a way to deliver learning to all, thus helping the world to become a better place. He has worked as a salesperson, evangelist, channel developer, team leader, inventor, innovator, venture capitalist, and polarizer in international companies and projects. Aape is also an internationally acclaimed speaker.

Tanja Lindner

Tanja is enthusiastic about creative marketing and writing. As a self-taught online marketer, she's been spreading the word about Finnish startup Zervant in the online world, focusing on the German-speaking countries. Tanja started working at Zervant back in 2012. 3 years on, and armed with nothing but a keyboard and a flair for content crafting, she's managed to start and grow a blog with a monthly following of over 50,000 readers. Her favorite thing about working in a startup? Creative freedom and loads of space for fresh ideas.

Event Judges

Jaana Pylvänen
Innovation Director at Kora

Jaana's current role is an Innovation Director and head of Regus Kora operations in Finland, she is passionate about building enablers for growth companies to grow. Kora is working in university campus areas in order to bring together technology universities, corporates and startups. With global partners like EBAN we help companies to grow and research be more private funded in the future. She has Master of Econ. and had long career in Nokia Networks as recognized innovation driver and execution focused and independent global project leader in all the continents. Jaana also has an experience in running design oriented business for 5 years as an entrepreneur with 10 employees and 80 sales persons, with 900 kEUR sales on 2009 and passion for digital marketing.

Will Cardwell
Partner, Courage Ventures

Currently, I am a lecturer on entrepreneurship and venture capital topics at Aalto University Executive Education, and Aalto School of Science (the Aalto Ventures Program). In addition, through Courage Ventures and NS Sports Management I serve as a mentor in several accelerators, and do some angel investing as well.

Formerly, I was in charge of coordinating Aalto University's strategic university partnerships, as well as being involved in teams that work with corporate partnerships. In 2010 I co-founded and ran the Aalto Center for Entrepreneurship (ACE), Aalto's tech transfer and spinout arm. Aalto is one of Finland's leading universities, and is the result of the 2010 merger of the Helsinki School of Economics, Helsinki University of Technology, and Helsinki University of Arts and Design.

Before that, I ran Finland's largest Technology Incubator, Technopolis Ventures, with over 200 customers large and small around Finland as well as St, Petersburg and Estonia. I have spent over 15 years in the Finnish high-tech environment, as CEO of a startup (Valimo Wireless, sold to Gemalto in 2010, 3 years) venture capitalist (Eqvitec Partners, Conor Venture Partners, 7 years), investment banker (Robertson Stephens, 2 years), and researcher and lecturer (Aalto School of Economics, and Aalto University of Technology, 3 years).

Ekaterina Gianelli
Director at INVENTURE

Ekaterina is a Director at Inventure, a venture capital company in the Nordics & Baltics. Ekaterina focuses on early-stage investments, and works with the portfolio companies in digital sector, helping them define their value propositions and market their services. Prior to joining Inventure, Ekaterina has been holding various positions in innovative companies, including an e-commerce startup Kiosked and a service design consultancy Fjord. Her core experience is in service design, go-to-market, marketing and operational management.

Taru Haajanen
Product Portfolio Manager OP. Board Member at NFBAN

Taru works as product portfolio manager for OP and is one of the board members in Nordic Female Business Angels Network. She is a finance professional with versatile experience in banking and entrepreneurial mindset. 

Skills: Business development. Digital services development. Product development and Product management. Innovation. Coaching. Facilitator. Business analysis. Corporate analysis. Budget. Management accounting. Consumer finance. Project management. 

International skills: Excellent English. Good Swedish. Talking German. 
Lived in several countries - adaptive to changing circumstances and cultures.

Jan Ameri
Partner at Arctic Startup

Today Jan chairs Arctic15, a high-profile startup event held in Helsinki by ArcticStartup, and has been the main force of growing the event from 400 attendees to 1400 attendees in just 1,5 years. He does not stop there and has already created two new hot event brands, Reverse Pitching, where large corporations pitch to startups, and Startups In The Sun. Jan was also the main force to kick-off #HELYES meetup for Greater Helsinki Region startup ecosystem.

Entrepreneur-by-heart - and by actions since 1998. Being an expert in spotting new opportunities and creating new concepts, Jan has been partner or co-founder in six different companies in various industries. In the early 2000’s he was pioneering some of the very first WAP, SMS, and interactive TV based wireless games and fantasy sports games in the Nordic countries. Jan loves to watch Shark Tank and The Profit on his free time.

Coaches and Mentors

Mike Bradshaw

Mike can often be found coaching early stage start-ups and entrepreneurs in the fundamentals of pitching. The one true way to annoy Mike, is to read "bullet point" slides (as bullet point slides are a crime against Humanity). Mike's current day job is Evangelist at Solu. In his free time he is; a Coach at StartupSauna, a co-driver with the Travelling Salesman project, organiser of for the last five years and holder of a British passport.

Reidar Wasenius
a Director of the Founder Institute

Reidar Wasenius is  ​a Director ​of the Founder Institute  ( ​ -  the world's largest startup acceleration program  ​-  ​in  Helsinki. ​ ​ ​ He is also an entrepreneur. As  the Personal Brainer at BRIIM  ​Center  ( ​,​  the world's first Brain Fitness Center in Helsinki ​, h​e helps employees of client companies  ​do well and feel well with brain training. People develop  their  ​abilities  e.g. to focus, ​make  decision s  and ​ motivat e themselves​​Reidar  is a popular  ​public ​ speaker and he is  ​interviewed  as an expert ​ ​ on communications and personal development ​  ​ in  ​national  media  weekly .​ Reidar's past employers include Samsung, Nokia, TeliaSonera, Digital Equipment Corporation and T​ekes. His employers in the media industry include the Finnish National Broadcasting Company, a number of commercial radio stations and Arcada university of applied sciences, where he was the founder and first Director of the four-year B.A. program in Media and Communications. Reidar has studied Computer Technology at the Helsinki University of Technology (now: Aalto University) majoring in Interactive Digital Media and minoring in Mass Media and Journalism, which he studied at the University of Helsinki. Reidar is a regular guest in national media as an expert on personal development plus social media, mass communications and how digital technology affects our lives. His latest book, Personal Brainer, was published by WSOY in March 2016. You often hear Reidar's voice in your telephone and whenever you travel by train in Finland.

Taina Mikkola

Taina works as a Coach in Haaga-Helia StartUp School. StartUp School is a program that supports students who want to become entrepreneurs. Before joining StartUp School, Taina worked over 10 years in Finnish corporations, first in Nokia and then in Outokumpu. In early 2013 she started her own entrepreneurship journey and now she is a founder of TinyApp, a simple communication service designed specifically for families and daycare. Taina has master’s degree in adult education from University of Helsinki and she is also Certified Business Coach and Career Coach. ​

Liisa Paavilainen
Business Model, Lean Startup, Value Proposition Development & Customer Segmentation

Liisa coaches startup teams as a business advisor in NewCo Helsinki Accelerator. Liisa is passionate for new business, technology & venturing. She is experienced international business development and operations professional: start-ups & corporate venturing, product marketing, go-to-market, business management & finance. Formerly she has worked over 15 years in various international business development roles in Nokia, Reuters and Sonera. She holds M.Sc. in engineering from Helsinki University of Technology and currently studying in Aalto University Executive Education MBA program (Finance & Entrepreneurship).

Mohamed Eldishnawy (Dish)
Profitable Business Model & Lean Product Development

Mohamed Eldishnawy (or known more as "Dish") is an experienced entrepreneur with professional work experience varying from tech industry, to social and humanitarian fields. A natural networker, and a proud philanthropist. Currently he functions as a Business Advisor for leading Nordic media company “ArcticStartup”. He is a partner as well in recently launched accelerator program His first entrepreneurial business was when he was 12 years old, and since then, he never stopped.

Kimmo Kauhanen
Digital Consultant and senior project manager, Founder of Moodwonder, Product Owner, Agile and Lean Coach

Founder of Moodwonder and co-founder of Co-founder of Bribespot, digital consultant and lean startup practitioner, Kimmo has years of experience of leading startup teams and creating new digital products and services. Buzzwords: Lean startup, bootstrapping, UX, mobile first, strategy, outsourcing, customer development. Kimmo can help teams with lean thinking, idea purification, customer development methods, UX and strategy.

Marc Dillon
Entrepreneur at large

Marc is a passionate and charismatic individual with years of experience in software development and design. Having co-founded Jolla and worked for numerous software and tech companies, Marc knows more than everything about mobile tech and devices. 

Oki Tåg
Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Spinno Enterprise Center

Oki has 10+ years of start ups experience in various domains such as ICT, music, B2B and retail.
He will help you in the early stage of the startup weekend by giving you 'from the field' knowledge such as pitching, team building, fundings, marketings & sales and lean methodology.

Andrea Di Pietrantonio

Andrea is an Account Manager at Invesdor. Since the early days of the company, Andrea has supported a variety of companies in the preparation and execution of their fundraising round. He has a BSc in Business Administration from Bocconi University and a MSc in Economics and Management of Innovation and Technology. In addition, he has studied at Keio University in Tokyo and at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Helsinki GSB Edition 2015 team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.

Signature Sponsors

HUB13 generously provides Startup Weekend Helsinki with an excellent event space for hosting the event.

Visit Website




Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Helsinki is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Ekaterina
  • Mario
    Di Florio
  • Armand
  • Steve


Victoria Stoyanova
Community & Culture

Victoria helps startups and big companies build strong brands,
communities and culture. Her career began in advertising, where she worked at Buzzman (Paris), Your Majesty (New York) and Mother (London).

Hand-picked to head up startup community development in Europe, Victoria joined Techstars as Regional Manager. A journey that led her to the role of Director of Community and Culture at Second Home, and a steady diet of airport sightseeing and mentoring across Europe.

Victoria enjoys working at the intersection between industries, ideas and people. With expertise at the convergence of startup and big company culture, she has had the joy to work with exceptional people at places like
the BBC, EY and the Victoria & Albert museum.

In her free time, Victoria produces and facilitates talks, workshops and exhibitions. She also runs the London chapter of CreativeMornings, a monthly breakfast lecture series for the creative community taking place in 130+ cities globally.

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