Posted by & filed under Customers, General, Product development, Startups, Technology.

We crowdsource innovations, product development, R&D and customer interactions. We are not replacing anything, we just provide the wisdom of thousands of people at the cost of fraction of a internal development team.

We follow the Lean Startup methodology, but from our strategic partners perspective it looks more like design thinking. We have copied some of the best practices from Google, Stanford and the ideas of analytics-driven and customer-focused product development. We go way beyond just posting the separate ideas on yellow stickers on the wall. Together with startups, we provide our partner companies ready and validated concepts to choose from. Post-it notes are excellent combined with some research and validations, but in most cases it really takes companies nowhere today. Average successful startup has 4-7 pivots. Consumers’ behavior changes faster every day and teams should learn and adjust the product based on the learnings. Only very seldom can we nowadays have step-wise process, but several simultaneous processes affecting each other with fast changes.

We bring customer and developer insight from over 500 persons per project. Because it’s their own business, they have done a lot of research themselves. What company can afford to mobilize such a huge amount of people for innovating, product development, R&D and customer interactions? Certainly many big companies do it all the time, but the expense is 100 fold compared to an accelerator program.

One has to let loose a bit to succeed in the future. Nobody can control the consumers – predicting the future usually goes wrong. At least with faster implementation of learned behavior and needs, organizations could provide more competitive products. If you plan for years to come and focus on implementation, that’s a sure way to fail. If you react based on learnings from open collaboration with your business ecosystem, you still can fail or succeed. However, if you fail, the failure is minimal compared to old school operations.

By opening up company’s ecosystem, learning is faster, financial overhead and risks are lower, and the number of of new product ideas is far greater than before. And we are talking about validated ideas, because quantitative assessment is crucial for us. I have to say that I am a fan of  Mika Aaltonen’s work at Aalto-Strax.  One thing they point out is the idea of not defining what success will look like in the future. Every company should be prepared to keep the door open for unplanned successes. Working with fast-moving and creative startups is one of the best ways to stay on top of the change and take advantage of the new business opportunities.

I was lucky enough to get a co-founder with solid scientific background from research backed by the Finnish Academy. Topi has also developed 100+ products for the biggest companies as well as for startups. Together with him we are creating a product factory producing learning and new revenue streams to large corporations. This creates also a laboratory and a collaboration environment inside the large corporations for the startups. The end-goal is of course to create the next airbnbs, twitters and facebooks. A win-win-win factory.

Antti Kosunen (twitter.com/AnttiKosunen)

 

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media archives

Yle Media Startup Accelerator Themes, part 4: Social TV. In the coming weeks we’ll feature some of the themes at Yle Media Startup Accelerator Program and share some interesting things that have caught our attention. See also the list of the themes on the application page

Social TV has been in the making for a long time. It’s been declared the next big thing and dead many times already in the past 10 years. First, there was a lot of hope put on IP-based set-top boxes, then came the standalone apps, and now Twitter and Facebook are leading the way.

In the era of very nice smart TV’s by Samsung and others, there seems to be fairly good ways to implement social TV features on the TV itself. Also, IPTV services provided by telcos are expected to grow very fast which means that the traditional living room infrastructure is quickly being turned social tv-ready.

At the same time, the living room -centric linear TV is facing fierce competition from digital video services, but the fight is far from over. Close to half of US households subscribe to an online video service, such as Netflix. Still, the advertisers spend more than ever on TV ads while newspaper and radio ad spending have been declining for years.

Linear or not, the social media giants have made TV their priority or even the cornerstone of the business as Twitter has done. Twitter seems to be the early winner in this race, but, for ex., both Facebook and Tumblr have been very active in going after this market and also challenging Twitter’s dominance

These general social media services are certainly not the only possibilities share the TV experience with others as some standalone 2nd screen apps are still going strong. For example, the Story Sync app for Walking Dead has gathered sizable following of fans that want to share the live TV experience together.

In any case, the consumer interest, revenue opportunities, technology and market readiness has never been this good for social/2nd screen/interactive/pick-your-buzz-word TV experience. The market is still wide open for great new ideas.

Do you have a great idea for social TV or 2nd screen apps? Remember to apply for the Yle Media Startup Accelerator by August 15th.

– Topi Järvinen (twitter.com/topij)

 

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media archives

Yle Media Startup Accelerator Themes, part 3: Media archives. In the coming weeks we’ll feature some of the themes at Yle Media Startup Accelerator Program and share some interesting things that have caught our attention. See also the list of the themes on the application page

Archives are not the hot topic in Mashable, The Verge, Inc. or any other topline publications, but maybe they should be. Archives around the world hold invaluable, but quickly deteriorating records of our past. Masses of media and content archived on paper, magnetic tapes, paper photos, highly flammable cellulose nitrate film or microfilm deteriorate every day and are lost forever. There are many interesting restoration techniques and tools for digitization, but nothing seems to be fast enough to counter the speed at which archives degenerate. For example, Library of Congress estimates that 75% of US silent films have been lost.

Things don’t get much easier when you have yottabytes of data. You need to process it to make it possible to combine it with metadata that allows categorization and searching for individual items from the sea of data. This could be things like scanning the data card that may have been attached to, for ex., the film reel or running a face detection algorithm to identify public figures. Or maybe you’d use the community to tag the content with names, places or other things that machines may not be good at.

Finally, the restored archival data can be used create new media experiences by bringing back the content in all its glory, like Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation, or tell history through interesting daily stories as Wall Street Journal has done

There are countless companies, media houses, like YLE or BBC, libraries, private collectors and others who are struggling to preserve their archives and use them for something new. They probably would be happy to pay considerable sums of money for better solutions in these areas.

Do you have a great idea for tools and technologies for media archives? Remember to apply for the Yle Media Startup Accelerator by August 15th.

– Topi Järvinen (twitter.com/topij)

 

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wearable tech

Yle Media Startup Accelerator Themes, part 2: Local media. In the coming weeks we’ll feature some of the themes at Yle Media Startup Accelerator Program and share some interesting things that have caught our attention. See also the list of the themes on the application page

Local newspapers seem to be shrinking or even dying everywhere. Still, the need for local information and content is probably as evident as it ever was. Facebook and other digital services have changed the landscape thoroughly, but there will be opportunities for many kinds of local media services.

When talking about local media, there’s been a lot of talk about big ideas, such as, citizen journalism, but in reality “local” seem to have been driven by check-ins and occasional reader submitted picture you see as part of a news story. Certainly, there are good examples of local media services that have successfully made the transition from paper to digital. Services, such as white/yellow pages or restaurant guides have become even more relevant and useful when they were brought to digital. When was the last time you checked a restaurant from a paper book? Or maybe you’ve already tried local, peer-to-peer marketplaces, such as Neighborgoods or Sharetribe?

Sure, many well-publicized attempts to create local and hyperlocal media services have so far been unsuccessful (e.g., Patch). Still, many believe that local and regional media has hope and many kinds of opportunities. Many of these services will be driven by advertising, but how and by whom will it be made practical even for the long-tail, ie. the small barber shop that want to advertise for the last minute opening.

Again, new technology may enable new opportunities also for the local media offering. For example, wearable tech will make the hyperlocal content more targeted and much easier to access.

Anyway, I have a feeling that no one has really cracked the local media honeypot, yet. Be it citizen journalism, local info, community news/sharing/etc., local advertising media, the field is still wide open for new innovations that the customers will love.

Do you have a great idea for a local media service? Remember to apply for the Yle Media Startup Accelerator by August 15th.

– Topi Järvinen (twitter.com/topij)

 

Posted by & filed under General, Startups, Technology.

wearable tech

Yle Media Startup Accelerator Themes, part 1: Wearable tech. In the coming weeks we’ll feature some of the themes at Yle Media Startup Accelerator Program and share some interesting things that have caught our attention. See also the list of the themes on the application page

Wearable technology has been one of the hot topics lately. Health related innovations have been the key driver in the discussion, but especially media services seem to hold a lot of promise for every day use. Already some media and technology companies are testing how they can offer new ways to consume content in new wearable devices. The early experiments with, for example, fitting an RSS feed to wearable devices, don’t offer much additional value offer basic mobile devices. Still, we can already see that wearable tech has the potential to become a very important media consumption and creation platform.

Some of the most interesting things seem to be happening around connected watches. For example, Google’s Android Wear together with Google Now shows how in the future just by looking at our wrist, we can easily glance contextual and hopefully always relevant information and content. Of course, there’s going to be intense competition by the technology giants in the hardware as well as in the software platforms, so there should be a lot of opportunities for innovative startups to take advantage of they can offer.

Another interesting media-related opportunity is how wearable tech will enable new ways to create content. New wearable devices, such as Google Glasses, let you record your activities with photos, videos and location data. Combined with physical measurements and other real-time information, there will be entirely new opportunities for doing news stories or just sharing personal experiences.

Do you have a great idea for combining wearable tech, media and content? Remember to apply for the Yle Media Startup Accelerator by August 15th.

– Topi Järvinen (twitter.com/topij)

 

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Katja Meriläinen

Who are you?

My name is Katja Meriläinen and I work as a project coordinator for Nestholma’s YLE Media Startup Accelerator program. My task is to take care of all the startups joining our program and make them love it.

Tell us more about the program!

YLE Media Startup Accelerator Program is a free intensive three-month (16th September to 11th December 2014) program in Helsinki. We are looking for startups from Finland and abroad that have an innovative media service or technology solution.

Ok, so what will I get as a startup?

Participating startups will get a unique opportunity to work with YLE’s media, content and technology experts and learn from them. I’ll personally make sure that you’ll get to know other startups as well as our mentors and have good time with them. Finally, you have a possibility to get funding from Nestholma, our investor network and from Tekes.

Who can apply and how?

All startups from Finland and abroad that have an innovative media service or technology solution can apply to our program. To have just an idea is enough, but make sure you have a capable team to apply with you. Go to bit.ly/mediastartup. Last day to apply is Friday 15th August.

Contact Katja: email: katja (at) nestholma.com | LinkedIn

 

Posted by & filed under Customers, General, Startups.

Topi Järvinen

Nestholma Mentors’ Voice, part 4: Topi Järvinen. In the coming weeks we’ll showcase mentors that will be active in the Yle Media Startup Accelerator Program. We’ve already featured Will Cardwell, Antti Kosunen and Pentti Mansukoski. Check back soon to see others.

Who are you?

I’m a product guy. I’ve done tens of products and services in many different types of companies (multinational telco, digital agency, startup). My strength is in combining technology and business understanding and passion for learning everyday about how to do thing better. I’ll focus quite a bit on helping the startups to make sure their product solves an important problem that the customers are willing to pay for.

Why the Yle Media Startup Accelerator is important?

Nestholma’s accelerator program with Yle and Elisa is a great way startups to learn from two important companies. They will have a unique opportunity to meet and connect with the experts and decision-makers that want to help the startups. They’ll also get daily help and tools for making their idea and product ready for international growth

What is one important thing for every startup to keep in mind?

Your goal should always be to something that someone is willing to pay for. Don’t be afraid to be wrong or adjust your thinking based on customer feedback. Very few people make money by being visionaries without listening the customers.

More about Topi in LinkedIn

 

Posted by & filed under Customers, Funding, General, Startups.

Pentti Mansukoski

Nestholma Mentors’ Voice, part 3: Pentti Mansukoski. In the coming weeks we’ll showcase mentors that will be active in the Yle Media Startup Accelerator Program. We’ve already featured Will Cardwell and Antti Kosunen Check back soon to see others.

Who are you?

Just two or three years back I was an investment banker with Nordea. I have a banking career of 28 years, including titles such as executive director and head of corporate finance, Nordic head of acquisition finance, head of large corporate customers in Finland, head of commercial banking at the New York branch etc. The last eight years with Nordea I was working dominantly as a financial advisor in M&A and equity transactions.

I made the career change to align better working hours with my personal interests and, I believe, my skills and talents. Currently I’m self employed, working through our family company Elfhill Oy. I am a professional photographer – my passion since age of 15. In addition, I work with selected start-ups as advisor/mentor and also as an investor. We also have tiny book publishing activities, an area we plan to develop in near term future. I also keep my previous profession active by advising few companies in financing issues and in general financial management.

In the past I have analyzed hundreds of different businesses, many of which I have worked with extensively, debating the strategies with top management teams or owners. This has given me a solid basis to evaluate business concepts and strategies – indeed I think I’m pretty good in picking up business concepts regardless of industry in question. Extensive managerial and leadership experience is useful when thinking what motivates people and why the do what they do. Adding to this my keen interest in visual communication, pictures, videos and everything related I feel Nestholma’s activity is a unique opportunity for me to utilize pretty much all skills I’ve accumulated so far..

Why the Yle Media Startup Accelerator is important?

I believe Yle Media Startup Accelerator is a great initiative for a host of reasons: we all are broadly aware of ongoing media changes but it will be more dramatic, faster and more unexpected than most of us can imagine. The Accelerator may allow Yle not just quickly follow the media market but also create completely new services. I think Yle has a very, very important role in the Finnish media industry. However, it is important that Yle is constantly looking for new ideas, services and ways to play its role even better, to the joy and benefit of all citizens. The Accelerator is a good method to bring in fresh ideas and initiatives in a cost effective, well managed way.

What is one important thing for every startup to keep in mind?

There are several pitfalls which start-ups face at some point. I have too often seen that the start-up team has fallen in love with their idea, or with the path they selected to use in commercializing the idea. The trap then is to start denying customer feedback or other clear signals saying they should change the course. So, if one important thing is chosen, I would underline the importance of listening to the market and prospective customers – and if one chooses to proceed against these signals, he or she should make sure it is done based on a solid, well-thought decision.

More about Pentti in LinkedIn

 

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Antti Kosunen

Nestholma Mentors’ Voice, part 2: Antti Kosunen. In the coming weeks we’ll showcase mentors that will be active in the Yle Media Startup Accelerator Program. Last week we already featured Will Cardwell. Check back soon to see others.

Who are you?

Serial entrepreneur. Founded several software companies e-learning/BI/internet. Done several exits and invested tens of tech companies through Butterfly Ventures and myself. I have strong background with patents, business model development and financing, but now I am seriously interested in lean startups.

Why the Yle Media Startup Accelerator is important?

Cooperation between large organisations and startups is today’s way to learn and scale. It’s a real win-win. Nestholma’s role is to create a bridge between them. And help start ups to validate their ideas and concepts.

What is one important thing for every startup to keep in mind?

Validate. Validate. Validate. And apply to Nestholma’s accelerator programs =)

 

More about Antti in LinkedIn

 

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Will Cardwell

Nestholma Mentors’ Voice, part 1: Will Cardwell. In the coming weeks we’ll showcase mentors that will be active in the Yle Media Startup Accelerator Program. The first mentor is Will Cardwell. Check back soon to see others.

Who are you?

I have been working either as an investor, entrepreneur or CEO in Finnish startup’s since 1996.  I have been lucky enough to work in one way or another with a number of great Finnish entrepreneurs like Jari Ovaskainen at iobox, Risto Siilasmaa of F-Secure, and Pekka Sivonen of Digia, among others. Also with plenty of cases that did not fly.  I am good at helping with customer and investor development, and in general implementing lean methodologies.

Why the Yle Media Startup Accelerator is important?

The media industry is under massive restructuring, offering opportunity and risk to companies big and small.   In order to capitalise, a new open mindset is necessary, and YLE’s Media Startup Accelerator is a great model for this.

What is one important thing for every startup to keep in mind?

Only strong understanding of how to create an extraordinary customer experience will enable startups and big companies alike to thrive.  Get out of the building!

 

More about Will in LinkedIn