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The Startup Sauna experience

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Starup Sauna spring batch 2014

Startup Sauna spring batch 2014

This spring, Sorin and I relocated in Helsinki, as RenderStreet got accepted into the Startup Sauna accelerator program. It was also the first time for us to visit Finland. So how did this double premiere go for RenderStreet? In two words: extreme.

The startup program was strongly focused on pitch training. The pitch is an essential tool in any entrepreneur’s book, and delivering it can have a great impact in how outsiders perceive a business’ potential. All aspects of the pitch were covered, starting from structure and content, layout and design, and ending with the on-stage presentation theory. If you are planning to join a future batch of the Startup Sauna program, prepare for a lot of work on perfecting the pitch.

Pitch rehearse

Marius and Sorin preparing for the Demo Day – with Caminandes on the keynote.

Of course, pitching alone can’t move a startup forward, so we had prepared for many meetings with tech professionals in Finland (which has an awesome entrepreneurial culture by the way). Besides attending weekly workshops, the program brought in talented entrepreneurs who mentored us one-on-one. There were also many visits and coaching sessions from local business people. This, and some more pitching.

The program ended with the Demo Day where all 17 teams got to pitch in front of a large audience of several hundred people: engineers, investors, tech entrepreneurs and students from the Aalto University campus. The event was followed by a party in the purest Finnish way: tons of free beer, mixed sauna sessions and hot tubs.

Meeting room at Startup Sauna

Just another Startup Sauna meeting room.

All in all, it was a great experience. Every single team from our batch was awesome – make sure you check them out on the Startup Sauna 2014 startups page. The program managed to turn a mixed group of people coming from 9 countries in Europe, Africa and Asia, into a group of friends, in only five weeks. I’ll be glad to join them in my upcoming trip to Silicon Valley, organized by the Startup Sauna team and their key people: Juuso, Juho, Inka and Riku.

In November we’ll return to Finland for the Slush 2014 conference. If you have the opportunity to attend, I strongly recommend you to come. It’s a top event for technology startups and I, for one, can’t wait to get back.

Marius and Sorin, together with Inka Mero, Startup Sauna Head Coach.

Marius and Sorin, together with Inka Mero, Startup Sauna Head Coach.

 

 

Marius

Passionate about technology and constantly working on making a difference, Marius is RenderStreet’s CEO.