Kiuas Accelerator


Take your startup to the next level

Kiuas Accelerator is an award-winning 10-week program designed to help great founders build world-changing companies.

The application period for Kiuas Accelerator is now closed.







1% of equity




At Kiuas Accelerator, the workshops you attend and the coaches you meet always depend on what are the key areas for your growth. With a fully customized approach, we make sure you get to focus on the things that move the needle for your startup.

World class coaching

100+ top entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts from around the world to guide you as a founder on any challenges you may be facing.

Meet our coaches →

Startup sauna 📍

Free working space - 24/7

1500m² of reservable office spaces, meeting rooms, phone booths, and an event space to use during the program and forever after that.

Explore the space →

$350k of free services

Numerous cloud, analytics, and marketing tools along with online and offline services from the top providers – exclusively only for Kiuas startups.

Kiuas Toolbox →

Continuous support

Access to potential partners, investors, and talent - with the continuous help from over 500 Kiuas alumni. By joining Kiuas Accelerator our network becomes your network

Meet our alumni →



Alumni founders


AVG rating from participants


*would recommend to a friend

Demanding but an excellent program for startups. Amazing networking possibilities.

Tommi Vesala

Co-founder, Feelbie

Kiuas Accelerator exceeded our expectations: mindset to aim high, pitching to 600 people, and the founder community.

Päivi Kangasmäki


Being accepted onto the Kiuas Accelerator is a privilege for any startup – especially those trying to ensure product-market fit.

Richard von Kaufmann

Founder, Pricetap

Very good program and we should have participated already last year.

Marc-Johann Kavantsaari

Founder, GuardianX


Founders that are working on a solution to a real problem. We accept startups from all industries, regions and stages.

Here are some of the things we assess to understand how much we are able to help you:


What is the root problem you are solving?
How big is the problem/market?
How well do you know your customers?
Why hasn't this been solved before?
What are you competing against?


Is the team committed to the startup?
If all the founders are not yet full-time, when could they be?
What track record does the team have?
Why is this team working on this problem?
Does the team have the core competencies in place?

Kiuas Fit

Are the founders able to attend most of the sessions?
Can we help you?
Are you incorporated?
Are you solving a problem related to SDGs?

The program

The sessions will be held during Mon-Fri EET working hours (12:00-18:00), and usually, one day involves 1-2h of sessions.

Weeks 1-3

Customers & product

The fundamentals of customer development, USP, metrics, and more. Push your startup on the right track to build something customers love.

Weeks 4-6

Operations & team

Deep dive into go-to-market strategy, operations, sales, and teamwork. Bring more clarity and structure to your day-to-day work.

Weeks 7-9

Growth & expansion

The essentials of scaling, internationalization, fundraising, and hiring. Learn all the hidden knowledge to set yourself up for a high-growth future.


1-on-1 discussions with experienced founders, investors, and industry experts.


Interactive, hands-on sessions on various fundamental topics.


Regular reflective group meetings encompassing discussions on previous founders' learnings, challenges, and goals.

Deep Dives

In-depth sessions targeting specific problem areas facilitated by experts in a 1-on-1 setting.

Round Tables

Interactive dialogue sessions exploring startup-related themes delivered by various hosts.

Investor Pitching

Personalised feedback sessions, aimed at creating firsthand connections with investment professionals.

Weekly structure

We know how busy you are, and that's why a typical week will only consist of the most essential sessions to support your growth. In addition to the common sessions on Mondays and Thursdays, each startup can attend ad-hoc coaching on topics where they need help.



Weekly meeting with your group


Founders talk / Workshop


Morning / afternoon

Tailored coaching (optional)


Morning / afternoon

Tailored coaching (optional)



Mentoring sessions / Roundtable discussions / Workshop


Free of program


In which areas can Kiuas help?


We support startups in pretty much all areas related to founding a company. Content of the program is curated based on the needs of each startup. Through 1-on-1 coaching and carefully selected common sessions you'll get help for both industry specific things as well as topics that are important to any startup.

Here's a list of some of the topics from the past few programs:

  • Idea validation
  • Product development
  • Go-to-market strategy
  • Launching
  • Pricing
  • Sales
  • Scaling
  • Fundraising
  • Legal
  • Growth hacking
  • Marketing
  • Branding & design
  • Hiring
  • IPR
  • Internationalization

Why is Kiuas Start not arranged anymore?


In the summer of 2021 we decided to focus on only one program. We believe that in this way, we can put more time and resources to making it consistently better and optimized. The new Accelerator program will also be more tailored to fit the individual needs of founders and startups on different stages, rather than trying to give everything to everyone. Read more at


How does Kiuas differ from other accelerators?


  • We tailor each program to the needs of the batch and select only teams which we believe can make an impact to the world.
  • We embrace the "from founder to founder" -mentality. We make sure that the people helping our startups have actually built successful companies themselves.
  • Content-wise, we aim to stick to topics that truly move the startups forward. Instead of perfecting your pitch and making you look like you succeed, we want you to actually succeed by focusing intensively on customers and product.
  • We have a pretty unique position in the scene. Unlike VCs and commercial accelerators, our success is not based on the financial success of the startups accepted, thus we can help founders in their earliest stages. It really doesn't matter how early you are.
  • We are well-connected. Our broad network consists of entrepreneurs, investors, clients, talent, and all the relevant players within the Finnish startup ecosystem and the world.
  • Our participants constantly give the programs an average rating of >9.4/10.

Do startups receive funding from Kiuas?


Not directly from us - however, Kiuas has a broad network of both VCs and angel investors that our startups can easily get to meet during the programs.

We and our alumni are also happy to help with understanding the fundraising fundamentals and different sources of public funding.


What and who is behind Kiuas?


Kiuas was founded in 2017 on the legacy of Summer of Startups, which has been organized by Aalto Entrepreneurship Society since 2010. Nowadays, Kiuas is operated as an independent non-profit organization.

Our employed core team consists of five people. The startups are supported by our 100+ coaches, some of which are highlighted here.


What does Kiuas mean?


Kiuas (in English: a stove) is a central and key part of a Sauna. Kiuas is the furnace that generates the heat. It makes the Sauna hot.


Why does the program cost 1%?


As a participation fee, we ask for a small stake in your company. This commits us to help you even long after the program ends, as our financial incentives are aligned: we benefit only from the companies that make it. We are happy to sell our stake in any future funding round, or exit, whichever is most convenient for the founders.

We've settled on 1% for now, as it is enough to cover our expenses, yet small enough that we don't mess up your captable or investability in the eyes of investors. One percent is not much, but it keeps us helping startups like you in the future as well.


Who can apply to Kiuas programs?


See the application criteria from We accept startups from all over the world. We accept startups from all industries and stages.

If you have trouble figuring out if you should apply to Kiuas, shoot us a message and let’s have a chat! Even if applying is not relevant for you at the moment, we are always eager to meet new founders and see if we can help in some way.


How does applying to Kiuas work?


Prior to each program, we run a 2-3 month application period during which startups can apply online.

After the application period, we typically invite a part of the applicants for interviews in order to hear more.


I’m working on my startup alone, can I apply?


Please do!

However, in that case, make sure you're capable of building/creating the first solution (prototype/MVP) of your idea yourself (and not lacking a developer, for example).

You can also use our online platform Kiuas Inside to look for co-founders for your project!


What if I'm not able to attend a session? Can I still apply?


Sure. Not a big deal if you let us know well ahead.


What does a typical program week look like?


In Accelerator, the sessions take place mostly on weekdays and inside normal working hours.

We organize coaching sessions on 3-4 days each week, consisting of either 1-on-1 mentoring, workshops, talks, weekly meetings, or other program.

Overall, the programs are intensive but the focus should be on working on your startup.


Is attendance required?


Yes. At least one member from the founding team should be present.

Kiuas programs are 100% virtual for now.


Do I have enough time to work on my startup during the program?


For sure. Each week typically consists of a total of 7-8 hours of program, divided into 3-4 days.

Furthermore, we aim to always tailor as much of the program as possible for each startup individually, so that it will fit everyone's specific needs.


What happens after the program?


We typically meet with each startup 1-2 times during the following months to discuss any help needs and reflect back on the program. Also, you keep the access of the services and software of the Toolbox.

Furthermore, our alumni get invited to our Kiuas Slack community which they can then use to get in touch with over 400 other Kiuas alumni founders.

In general, we are eager to help with anything - whether it’s an intro to a client or an investor, helping with finding talent to join your team, or just wanting to test new ideas with someone!


How are all the sessions organized during a virtual program?


  • All common sessions – talks, workshops, and roundtables – are organized via interactive Zoom webinars.
  • 1-on-1 mentorings and weekly meetings with the other startups are organized via regular video meetings via Zoom & Google Hangouts.


Nea Harjanne


Magret Jokela

Head of Program

Come meet us and have your questions answered at Kiuas Open event at Startup Sauna 13.7.2022

Sign up for the event

Can't make it to Startup Sauna? Sign up for our virtual Q&A session on the same day here

Kiuas Start spring '21

Application period is now open.

Apply now →