After-löyly from Startup Sauna

Six weeks of Sauna is now over. The last couple of weeks was spent on getting ready for our Grand Demo Day – the biggest Demo Day in Europe. Over 500 people arrived at Nosturi on Thursday December 15th to witness pitches of the best Fall 2011 startups.

The day started nicely with a press breakfast at the Garage, followed by 101 meetings with VC’s from the region. We met with five VC teams: Sunstone Capital, BV Capital, MTVP, Ambien Sound investment (Skype founders’s fund), and again with Open Ocean Capital (if you remember, he was the one who saw Mobile Brain Bank as a 10 MEUR business “easily”).

In the afternoon we went to set up demos in Nosturi. The Mobile Brain Bank booth and team looked very professional with roll-ups, stickers, t-shirts and hoodies. Even if the business model has been in forming during the past 6 weeks, our look and feel remains the same simple, black and white “M” that Pasi Lehtinen created it.

Evening was kicked-off with a lively into by the Wingman and El Capitan, followed by an interesting fireside chat with Jyri Engeström and Om Malik.

The Mobile Brain Bank team had rehearsed our pitch over and over, fitting our story of 2000+ mobile developers, problem and solution, market opportunity and the team in just three minutes. We even had practiced a little act where Sari plays a skiing instructor who cannot take customer calls when in slopes, and Ville, the enthusiastic Mobile Brain Bank sales rep rescues her business by delivering an app.

My warm congratulations to teams Qminder, Zonear and Maxygen for winning the much wanted title “Startup Sauna winners”. Plus a big thanks to the other teams Appscale, Besanhe, Collapick,,, InBelly, LinkedViews, Lokus Digital, Osklad, Wavesum, and Yodiz. It was great fun to work with such a diverse but professional group of people.

I’m writing this piece at the Venture Garage. It feels a bit sad to realize that our Russian, Baltic and Polish teams are now gone home, and I hope to see you again in the next get-together.

But, life goes on. Minister of Finance Jutta Urpilainen and the presidential candidate Paavo Lipponen are standing in front of me, taking in information on startups and young entrepreneurship in Finland and its neighboring countries. It’s been a privilege to be part of the Aalto Venture Garage and Startup Sauna. We are making history.

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