Kiuas Programs in 2021

January 28, 2021
Written by 
Patrik Holopainen

Kiuas programs of 2021

We are already deep into the first month of 2021 and for Kiuas it means that we are updating our programs for this year. The programs, i.e. Start and Accelerator, are revised and updated every time one is held, but this year we are doing some structural changes as well.

Kiuas Start towards incubator-accelerator hybrid

Up until now, Kiuas Start has been a one-month blast of information, connections, feedback, product development, and the list goes on. And last fall we concluded the program with a pitching session to angel investors. You can only do such in one month, especially when many founders are still working a full-time job somewhere else. Currently, we structured the programs by prioritizing content that is truly vital for any founder but we always have to leave good topics out.

To alleviate some time pressure and to just be more aligned with the natural evolution of our teams, we've broken the program in to longer time span with three parts:

The first part is a one-month program, that focuses on product development. We provide the teams more hands-on workshops and help them validate ideas as quickly as possible. The first month could be summarized as "learning how to iterate your product".

After that, we will have a 4 month period, during which we will meet once per month, and update each other on where we are at, challenge our progress and provide help where needed. During this phase, it is vital to keep the ball rolling, but also let the teams learn to develop and grow on their own. If a team's progress stagnates, the monthly checkup kicks them to life again.

The program concludes with a two-week sprint about growth and fundraising, where we give one last major nudge for the teams on how not only to manage but how to reach for the stars.

Kiuas Accelerator - the best for the best.

Just like vegetarian sausages, Kiuas Accelerator teams keep getting better and better by the year. Earlier this week yet another of our Alumni from last summer's batch announced a pre-seed round of 1.5m€ (link), and one common feedback we hear from the coaches is that the quality of founders has risen substantially in the past few years.

The reason for this is two-fold. First, as we get more and more applications each year but our batch sizes stay relatively the same (for maintaining the high program quality), the margin of accepted teams gets slimmer. Last summer for each selected team we had to reject nine others. Secondly, the Finnish startup ecosystem is maturing and there's an abundance of entrepreneurship materials out there, which means that founders are more likely to know a thing or two about startups already before applying.

All this is just to say that as we get better and better teams, our programs should adapt to serve their needs. Whether it is connecting investors or helping the teams launch in another market, our task is to throw more fuel to the fire and make sure that every Ax team gets the support they need to become a global category leader. The 2021 timeline looks like the following:

March-April First month of Kiuas Start S21
May-June Start S21 checkups start
July-August Accelerator 21  & Demo Day
September-October Conclusion of Start S21
November-December First month & checkups of Kiuas Start F21

The application period for S21 runs from 1.2.-28.2, and the program starts 15.3. As the most sharply witted of you might have also guessed, we are having some overlap with the programs, which we see as an exciting opportunity to also let different batches learn from each other. With these plans in our mind, we are ready to take on 2021, so mark my words as this year is going to go down in the books for Kiuas.

If you have any questions or comments about the programs, don't hesitate to reach us out at

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