Posted by & filed under Accelerator, Banking, Fintech, Innovation, Technology.

Digital technologies have transformed the way we do… everything. And it continues to transform it, every day. We often read about new technology that looks like science fiction… but we’ve exploited only a fraction of the technologies available today.

On October 3rd and 4th I was lucky to take part in OTP Group’s Digital Meetup in Kecskemét. Participants included key people from OTP Group, from its 9 different countries. It also included partners that OTP Bank is working with – such as myself from Nestholma.

I got to see very interesting points of view on digitalization. Banking is going to change a lot in the upcoming years. And not only in the obvious ways. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Accelerator, Fintech, Nordea, Technology.

Feelingstream was part of our first Nordea accelerator last year. They are currently working on 4 paid pilots, and are also well in their way of conquering the banking industry. They continued working with Nordea after the accelerator program, and now that collaboration has taken a big step forward: Feelingstream and Nordea have just signed a big deal. Soon they’ll start a live pilot together. Click to tweet about it!

Nordea Group CEO Casper von Koskull with Terje Ennomäe innovating the future of bankingBig companies get a massive amount of messages every hour. It is hard if not even impossible to figure out which of them need immediate attention and which of them can be dealt with a bit later. That means lots of lost potential and angry customers; things that companies just cannot afford anymore. New competitors pop up every day, and having the best customer experience is more important now than ever. It is a huge problem for companies, but maybe not for long.

Feelingstream has created a machine that understands the actual content of text, and then uses that knowledge to organize inquiries from urgent to less urgent. This means critical issues can be found and dealt with much faster. And that of course, means much better customer service and no lost sales potential. For employees, it doesn’t mean any extra work as Feelinsgstream’s solution is invisible in the companies’ systems.

Feelingstream sees great potential in the banking industry. That’s why working with Nordea has been agreat experience for them. Fitting the startup way of doing thing into the highly regulated banking industry hasn’t always been a breeze, but they say it has been all worth it. They have not only gotten an invaluable reference from Nordea, but also the knowledge of what is required to succeed in the industry.

“Having Nordea as a reference is an incredible advantage considering our target markets. We have also gotten market access and been able to work with real data and situations, which is the most important thing for startups!” says Terje Ennomäe, the co-founder of Feelingstream.

Feelingstream has a lot of cool things ahead of them, and we can’t wait to see what kind of superstars they will become!

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

Nestholma joins EIT ICT Labs Trusted Cloud High Impact Initiative to help the SME’s to make a bigger business impact and to support the ecosystem collaboration.

Trusted Cloud HII Acceleration Days in Munich

British Telecom, Telecom Italia, 3D Repo and U-Hopper working together.

EIT ICT Labs Trusted Cloud High Impact Initiative (HII) Acceleration Days gathered six SME’s and three large corporations together in Munich to strengthen the collaboration in building secure European cloud solutions. The event was arranged by Nestholma Venture Accelerator from Finland and Digital Catapult from UK. The aim was to get the small and large companies (British Telecom, Telecom Italia, F-Secure) across Europe to learn from each other and accelerate building the partnerships and customer-driven businesses.

The foundation of the Trusted Cloud Acceleration Days was based on Nestholma’s accelerator model which is based on the idea of helping startups or SME’s and large corporation to efficiently work and build businesses together.

“Privacy and trust are fundamental issues for every business and affect the lives of every consumer daily. We are excited to be able work with the EIT ICT Labs and the companies across Europe to speed-up the development of European Trusted Cloud services with Nestholma’s unique accelerator model” say Nestholma’s CEO Topi Järvinen.

The program included tens of structured one-on-one meetings, Trusted Cloud technology sessions as well as insights and help on building customer-driven secure cloud solutions. Both the SME’s and large corporations felt the Acceleration Days gave them a good foundation for collaboration in the Trusted Cloud High Impact Initiative. Geoff Andersson from one of the SME’s, PixelPin says that

“As a company committed to users privacy and protecting personal data it was great to get so much support from the Acceleration Days in Munich. Operating in the cloud brings many business benefits and getting it right is a must, so we see working with EIT ICT Labs as a vital step forward for us.”

The activity leader, Markku Kutvonen from F-Secure was also pleased with the results.

“The event was short and intensive engagement journey for the SMEs joining the activity, with a lot of business focus delivered by Nestholma and Digital Catapult. I especially liked the matchmaking, where all the partners in our activity shared their contribution and results with the other partners in short one to one sessions. This both created a great atmosphere and awareness of each other’s role and induced innovation inside the group. Very co-operative and successful event, overall.”

Tursted Cloud Munich Acceleration Days

 

More information about the EIT ICT Labs Trusted Cloud High Impact Initiative (HII)

Posted by & filed under Funding, General, Press release, Startups, Technology.

Yrityskiihdyttämö Nestholmasta liikkeelle lähteneen Neonto Oy:n joukkorahoituskierros ylimerkittiin vikkelästi. Neonton joukkorahoituskierros on yrityskiihdyttämö Nestholman ja Invesdorin yhteistyön ensimmäisiä hedelmiä.

Mobiilisovellusten suunnittelutyökaluja tekevä Neonto Oy lähti hakemaan osakeannilla 25 000–50 000 euroa, mutta keräsikin noin kolmessa viikossa lähes 60 000 euroa. Anti jouduttiin sulkemaan etuajassa odotukset ylittäneen kysynnän vuoksi.

”Joukkorahoituskierroksella halusimme antaa tuotteen varhaisille käyttäjille mahdollisuuden tulla omistajiksi ja hyötyä tulevasta menestyksestä. Tämä onnistui nimenomaan Invesdorin osakepohjaisen rahoitusmallin ansiosta”, Neonto Oy:n toimitusjohtaja Pauli Ojala kiittelee. “Lisäksi nyt saavutettu tulos luo hyvän pohjan sille, että Neonto on haluttu sijoituskohde myös tulevissa rahoituskierroksissa. Olemme iloisesti yllättyneitä ja erittäin kiitollisia sijoittajilta saamastamme vastaanotosta.”

Yhtiön tuote, Neonto Studio, on suunnittelijoille tarkoitettu visuaalinen työkalu mobiilisovellusten luomiseen. Se mahdollistaa aidosti natiivien mobiilisovellusten luomisen ilman ohjelmointitaitoja.

Idea Neonto Oy:n joukkorahoituskierrokselle kumpusi Nestholman kiihdyttämöohjelmasta, jossa yritys on mukana. Invesdor on ohjelman virallinen joukkorahoituskumppani.

”Invesdorin palvelu rokkaa ja Nestholma tukee startupeja monipuolisesti. Tämä on kova yhdistelmä”, Nestholman perustajajäsen Antti Kosunen toteaa. ”Yhteistyö Invesdorin, Nestholman ja Neonton välillä toimi saumattomasti, mikä näkyy annin vakuuttavassa ylimerkinnässä. Nestholmalla on kykyä tarjota startupeille erinomaista tukea, ja näemme yhteistyön jatkuvan menestyksekkäänä”, Mäkelä komppaa.

Lisätietoja

Pauli Ojala
Toimitusjohtaja,
CTO Neonto Oy
[email protected]

Antti Kosunen
Perustajajäsen
Nestholma Oy
Puh.+358 400 850 200
[email protected]

Lasse Mäkelä
Toimitusjohtaja
Invesdor Oy
Puh. +358 40 753 3844
[email protected]

Nestholma lyhyesti
Nestholma on startup-kiihdyttämö, joka tarjoaa isoille yrityksille ja startupeille uudenlaisen tavan tehdä yhteistyötä. Tavoitteena on tarjota kiinnostaville startupeille mahdollisuus työskennellä, oppia ja partneroitua samalla alalla toimivan ison yrityksen kanssa. Isolle yritykselle Nestholman kolmen kuukauden kiihdyttämöohjelma tarjoaa uudenlaisen ja nopean tavan tehdä kehitys- ja innovaatiotoimintaa sekä löytää ja ohjata uusia partnereita. www.nestholma.com

Neonto lyhyesti
Neonton perustajina on joukko digitaalisten sisältöjen, mobiiliteknologian ja käyttökokemuksen suunnittelun ammattilaisia, joiden missiona on muuttaa tapaa jolla mobiilisovelluksia kehitetään. Neonton ideana on tarjota suunnittelijoille työkalu, jonka avulla he voivat itsenäisesti toteuttaa ideoitaan mobiililaitteille. Neonton tuote, Neonto Studio, julkaistaan alkuvuoden 2015 aikana.

Invesdor lyhyesti
Invesdor on Pohjois-Euroopan johtavia osakepohjaisen joukkorahoituksen palveluja. Invesdor pyrkii vauhdittamaan Suomen talouskasvua parantamalla startup- ja kasvuyritysten mahdollisuuksia saada rahoitusta. Autamme pääomaa etsiviä yrityksiä ja kasvuyrityksistä kiinnostuneita yksityisiä sijoittajia löytämään toisensa verkossa. Pääoma tulee sijoittajilta eri puolilta maailmaa. Lisää tietoa yrityksestämme ja palveluistamme osoitteessa invesdor.com.

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)

 

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)

 

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

LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman was talking about startups when he said that “You jump off a cliff and you assemble an airplane on the way down.” There always seems to be too little time, people, money or something else for doing all the things that seem necessary. Even though that may be the fact of life for any startup entrepreneur, some of the hardship may be self-inflicted and unnecessary.

It’s probably true that you learn the most when you make mistakes. Also, startups shouldn’t fear making mistakes when trying new things and approaches. Having said that, I think it makes sense to try to avoid some of the most typical mistakes that provide very little value and concentrate on some new ones that create new learnings.

Below are some thoughts in no particular order on the kinds of things or even mistakes that I think startups should avoid. Some I’ve learned first hand the hard way and some I’ve seen to happen in the tens of startups that I’ve worked with.

Don’t start with a org chart

If you don’t have customers and revenue, but you have an organizational chart with VP’s or similar, you are most likely spending your time on the wrong things. There are some official roles that need to be there, such as a CEO, but even that should not be the same as a CEO in a big company (you know, mahogany chairs, corner office, secretary, etc.). Certainly, startups need to agree on roles (“Tom has the main responsibility for marketing, Pekka for tech” etc.) in order to get things done. Still, the founders need to spend their time learning together what the actual business will be about, not worrying about organizational boundaries and the chain of command.

Don’t  make a 12 month roadmap and stick with it

A lot of times success in big companies is measured in part by being on time and on budget and delivering the project roadmap. If you are in an established business and you can predict, for example, demand with high certainty, this makes a lot of sense. Eric Ries has a great definition for a startup: “human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty”. In other words, it’s good to make snapshots of what you think will happen, but always expect change and be prepared for it.

Don’t do too much before you really know what your customers want

Startup founders need to have a great deal of passion and confidence in their idea. Sometimes they may get carried away in this and believe that success is just around the corner only if they just add a few more features.  More often than not, you can’t make a bad product into a good one by adding more features or optimizations. For example, if you cannot attract customers for your iPhone mobile app, you are not likely to be any better off by adding the Android app. Or if customers are not interested in your product, adding new payment methods will not increase your sales. Make sure your customers love your core product and use the new features to accelerate the growth.

Don’t take your fancy spreadsheet exercise as a portrayal of reality

It’s always good to turn your idea into numbers, because it’s a great way to test the business logic behind it. The problem with these spreadsheet exercises is that too many times the founders see it as a proof of the business model and as a real forecast for the business. For big companies with a lots of data points and historical evidence, this may be a plausible conclusion, but for startups it is not. Just think about it: you make the assumption that customers love your product so much that they want to tell about to 10 friends, 50% of which will do the same, 20% of those will buy your paid product that costs $3.99. After some viral rounds you end up with a great business with millions in revenue. Logical? Yes. True? Impossible to know. Now, instead of rushing to investors with this plan, you should rush to your customers to validate your assumptions and logic. Do they have the problem you’re solving? Are they using or even paying for something else for the same purpose? Do they love your solutions? Would they they recommend it and to whom? Etc.

Don’t try to build several businesses simultaneously

Entrepreneurs see ideas and opportunities everywhere and that’s a good thing. The hard part is usually when you have to decide what to do right now and what to leave behind – at least for the time being. It’s easy to see, for example, your technology as a potential solution to many different problems and target segments. Usually the reasoning is that it makes sense to leverage the investment for different use cases. Again, possibly a good idea, but not at the same time. Startups need to spend all time and effort to learn what is the problem and build a unique solution as fast as possible. Also, even if the underlying technology is almost the same, the business logic and the way you’d run the company may be very different. Just consider how different, for example, sales, marketing or customer support functions are for a B2C and B2B companies.

Don’t ask for an NDA everytime you talk to someone about your idea

Feedback and talking to potential customers and partners are the lifeblood of startups. Without them very little learning will happen. If you require an NDA (non-disclosure agreement), you will loose many opportunities to learn. Also, think about how unique your idea itself is really. For example, before Facebook launched in 2004, there were already tens of companies offering social networking services over the internet (for ex. MySpace, Friendster etc.). In other words, the idea wasn’t unique, but how they did it was. If you really think that you have some unique intellectual property that should be protected, submit a patent application. That will protect you much more and it will also look good in the eyes of the investors.

As always, your experiences may be different. In the spirit of learning, I’d like to hear if you agree or disagree or if you have in mind some other mistakes startups should avoid. Finally, my apologies for all the negativity. Next time I’ll try to find a more positive spin :-)

— Topi Järvinen (twitter.com/topij)