The Investor/Mentor Pitching afternoon was organised by Aalto Start-Up Center (ASUC) in collaboration with Nordea and FiBAN on Thursday 6 April. Held at Aalto University Open Innovation House in Otaniemi, the event gave growth entrepreneurs looking for an investor or mentor the chance to pitch their business ideas. Also present were Aalto University researchers who want to commercialise their research ideas by means of Tekes New Business from Research Ideas projects.
The event was hosted by Nick Vertigans from AJAN Consulting.
‘Attitude and effective communication play a key role. It’s a good idea to consider your goal, and why you’re here. It’s also worth considering what new things you can tell the people here about yourself and your business’, explained Vertigans as he advised the growth entrepreneurs and mentors attending the event.
The opening address was given by the ASUC Project Director Marika Paakkala. She said that the Start-Up Center currently has about 30 entrepreneurs and that starting this autumn all Aalto University’s entrepreneurship functions, including ASUC, will be housed in the A Grid centre for growth enterprises at Otakaari 5.
Valuable advice for growth entrepreneurs
Vesa Riihimäki, head of the growth company unit at Nordea, and Torsti Tenhunen, who chairs the board of the Finnish Business Angels Network FiBAN, also gave short speeches.
‘We have a team of 25 experts providing support to start-ups and growth companies right from the very start. Among other things, we use mentoring to strengthen the company’s ability to grow and take risks’, explained Riihimäki.
According to Riihimäki, a key part of Nordea’s service involves helping companies create important contacts and networks with the relevant capital investors, angel investors, incubators, start-up hubs and communities.
Torsti Tenhunen explained that business angels not only provide money but also help growth entrepreneurs by providing access to their networks, which play a key role in entrepreneurship.
According to Tenhunen, growth entrepreneurs should only recruit new employees for existing needs, not for the future. When recruiting, there should be a clear vision of the new person’s intended role and the entrepreneur should get to know that person well before making the recruiting decision. Board members should not be involved in practical, everyday matters. Their task is to open doors to the right places and tell the entrepreneur when they think something is good or not.
After the speeches, it was time for the teams to pitch their business ideas. Representatives of the following Aalto projects or growth entrepreneurs gave three-minute presentations: ADIC project, Circular Devices Oy, Collective Crunch Oy, Consight Oy, Floud Oy, Gurufield Oy, Innoduel - Haituva Innovations Oy, LAC Camera Systems Oy, SpaCyPhy project, and ZenTreasury Oy. Following the presentations, the growth entrepreneurs had the opportunity to speak face-to-face with potential future mentors and investors.
‘Our next event is the Aalto Start-Up Center Spring Festival, which is being held on 23 May as part of the Aalto Festivals. Please join us then at Open Innovation House. ASUC welcomes more innovative teams, as well as mentors and investors,’ explained ASUC Coordinator Kaisa Ahonen. The afternoon ended with a salad buffet and refreshments.
Project Director, ASUC
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