Kiuas Accelerator - Part 2/2 : Demo Day & Wrap-Up

Kiuas Accelerator (prev. Summer of Startups) is a 10-week intensive program designed to take early-stage startups to the next level.

Aaro Isosaari

September 9, 2018

The 10-week Kiuas Accelerator is now finished and it’s time to reflect on some of the highlights from the second half of the program as well as the feedback we received from this year’s participants. Read the first part of the series here.

After facilitating various hands-on workshops on e.g. validation, product development, customers and sales during the first weeks of the program to get the basics covered, we started to implement more team-specific coaching for increasingly customized support. This slight shift in the approach resulted in progress at an even faster pace than before.

Kiuas Accelerator teams Ridline and Neuroflux took the top 2 places among 50 other teams at Ship Festival.
Weekly sessions rolling as usual. Here’s one of the early Monday mornings!


Demo Day

A traditional final event at Startup Sauna wasn’t the case this year, as we decided to take Demo Day to Helsinki and the biggest movie theatre in Finland, Scape at Tennispalatsi.

600+ people including entrepreneurs, investors, media and other professionals were gathered to witness the results of the program on August 31st.


Summary

During the past week, we’ve been collecting a bunch of feedback and data from the participants to help future organizers build better programs in the upcoming years.


What our startups especially liked about Kiuas Accelerator this year:

Founders Talks

For each Monday morning, we invited seasoned entrepreneurs to share their uncensored stories and learnings with the startups. Speakers included for example Kristo Ovaska, Maija Itkonen and Ilkka Paananen.

Excellent speakers. I think these were the most valuable part of the program

Weeklies

Getting all the teams under one roof at the start of each week to present the learnings from the previous week, as well as announce goals for the next one.

1-on-1s

Mentoring sessions on various topics with entrepreneurs, investors and industry professionals. We ended up facilitating over 7000 minutes of these throughout the program.

Definitely the best bang for buck in terms for time invested and things learned

Some of the highlights from the feedback:

I’ve gone through three accelerator programs, and Kiuas was by far the best organized, toughest and most rewarding

Expectations were met and over-exceeded

The best ever community a founder can have

I’m absolutely astonished that you were able to deliver all of this during the summer

When they say “From idea to first revenue”, it is not just a marketing slogan. They really mean it

We really felt that you guys were backing us every step on the way

Wish there were more accelerators like this

Seems like something was done right, as our participants also gave the program an average rating of 9,73 on a scale of 1 to 10. Of course, constructive feedback was received as well, and that will be used to make Kiuas Accelerator 2019 even better - the best one yet.

40 happy founders after giving their all at the Demo Day

Last of all, we would like to give a huge thank you to all of our partners, coaches and everyone who has been supporting us and the startups during the summer.
A special mention belongs to
Espoo Innovation Garden, without whom the program wouldn’t have reached the level it did this year.