Lessons learned from our F23 batch

November 10, 2023
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During our 10-week accelerator sprint, teams navigated twists and turns, turning challenges into triumphs. Currently, our 17 exceptional teams are going through the last 2 weeks of our 10-week Fall 2023 accelerator program, each day having 3-4 different investor meetings. This is thanks to our newest addition to the program- 2 full weeks of the Investor Pitching Clinics.

Wait a minute… did I read correctly? 17 teams?

That´s right! We did start with 19 teams that were selected from the boot camp, and now we are almost at the finish line with 17 standing teams. Failure? Absolutely not, at least not in our eyes!😉 So how did our “founder over business idea” experiment turn out?

Let´s do a short deep dive into the program recap, starting with some significant numbers.


Starting the week with Monday´s Program Weeklies

Our teams entered each week of the program with another 1 or 2 batch teams that were matched by us. The reasoning behind our Program Weeklies is peer-based learning and support, while the matches are being done based on teams'  common phase, current problem, topic of the week, or goals for the next 2 weeks. Based on the feedback, the outcome of these sessions was brainstorming and exchanging ideas, sales, marketing and branding progress, lead generation, opportunity identification, feedback, and pitching practice improvement.

Entrepreneur in Residence

During EIR mentoring sessions, our teams are matched with a selected entrepreneur from our community (our Alumni founders), with the goal to broaden their insight and network and help them build their business. After analyzing the feedback, teams found their EIR sessions super inspiring, encouraging, and motivating, as they gained new perspectives, actionable and concrete tips for the startup world, and on top of it were guided on how to get the most out of the Kiuas Program and how to continue after.

Office Hours

How do we here at Kiuas make sure our teams actually progress? Through regular checkups and 24/7 support. These office hours hosted by our team members are a super crucial part of the program! We want to help our teams in the best way possible, thus we need to learn about their current status, roadblocks, how are they allocating their time, and most importantly, setting specific, achievable goals for the next 2 weeks. Any of our teams need help with anything? We will jump on a call and walk through anything that needs to be solved- whether it's financial calculations, personalized go-to-market strategy, building shareholder´s agreement, or doing some intros. It is extremely important for us that our teams know that they can reach to the Kiuas Team for any kind of support at any time.

Wednesday's 1-on-1 Mentoring Afternoons

In other words, personalized Mentor-Team matchmaking. Every match was carefully selected by our team to make sure each meeting was relevant. The biggest value of these 1-on-1 mentoring sessions with specific industry experts and exceptional founders that teams reported involved:

  1. Intros. It is very often that team-mentor results in a match made in heaven (whether it's sharing of the same values, personality traits, interests, goals, or excitement over business idea) all potentially resulting in mentors continuing their mentorship, becoming team members/co-founders, or even potential future investors.
  2. General Knowledge of some areas, i.e. Options and Ways of Securing Public Funding in Finland.
  3. Specific or industry-related problem area
  4. Actionable, Concrete advice, steps (sales and marketing techniques, outreach, branding, product design)

Investor Pitching Clinics

Let´s put a stop to Demo Days and instead, do the last 2 weeks of constant investor meetings. Current status: ongoing. The idea behind IPC is to provide our teams with relevant help, guidelines, feedback, and most importantly, the experience of real investor meetings. We hand-selected and matched the teams with angel investors, family offices, and VCs based on their interests in terms of industry, business model, location etc. Regardless if a team is currently raising funding or is not there yet, it is the perfect opportunity to get feedback on their business model, go-to-market, and roadmap to understand what your progress needs to be achieved in order to be fundable. So far, the feedback and questions have been harsh, but that’s not a setback, but rather on opportunity to prepare for the real world.

Other Sessions

What immediately came up with these (very early-stage) teams was the need for workshops/deepdives around topics such as sales and marketing, branding, financial modeling, co-founder vs early-team member/advisor, crowdfunding, and Pitch Deck. According to the teams, sessions on Angel and VC investing were a very useful and insightful bonus and an eye-opener. Founders Talks when a Kiuas Alumni or an external exceptional founder came to talk about their success story was another type of session that was very liked and appreciated. When organizing these sessions, it’s important to keep 1 crucial thing in mind: TIME PER VALUE.

Now, let´s finally move to our founders, their hard work, ruthless pivoting, and amazing milestones achieved. Progress… or not?

We will be celebrating the official end of the Fall 2023 Kiuas Accelerator Program on November 17th at the Kiuas Gala Ceremony at Maria01, with all the founders, alumni, coaches, investors & ecosystem friends who made this all possible! The night will also include our program teams delivering their 1-minute lightning pitches reflecting their journey at Kiuas.

For the next program, we have (of course) further improvements coming. The 1st and main one is…..psssst…. Kiuas Labs!

See you again when the next application round opens, which will be in early January!

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