Answers to the most commonly asked questions


How can Kiuas help me?


Kiuas supports founders and startups in pretty much anything related to founding and running a startup.

Kiuas Accelerator helps startup entrepreneurs to validate ideas, pivot, and most importantly, grow fast. The program includes workshops, mentoring, peer-to-peer support, software tools, and introductions.

Kiuas Co-Founder is a platform for finding co-founders or for becoming one. If you have a startup idea or even a company, you can share it and look for a co-founder.

For those in the earliest stages of their startup journey, we have partnered up with Aalto University, Reaktor and Maki.vc to come up with Starting Up. It is an online course that lets you learn to think like an entrepreneur and develop your problem-solving skills.

How is Kiuas different than other accelerators?


  • We tailor each program to your needs and only select teams that we believe can succeed.
  • We embrace the "from founder to founder" -mentality. We make sure that the people who are helping you have actually built successful companies themselves.
  • We stick to topics that move your company forward. Instead of fine-tuning your pitch and making you look successful, we create real success by focusing intensively on customers and the product.
  • Kiuas is truly founder centric and committed to your success. Our position is unique as we are not investors that expect a return on their investment within a certain timeframe. That can lead to a conflict of interest. Instead, our interests are perfectly aligned with your interests as a founder.
  • We are well-connected with a network consisting of entrepreneurs, investors, clients, talent, and all the relevant players within the Nordic startup ecosystem.
  • Kiuas has a community of over 500 alumni entrepreneurs who help each other with pretty much anything related to running a startup.
  • As a Kiuas Accelerator participant, you get access to our toolbox that features over 500 000€ worth of tools and services for your company

Does Kiuas provide funding?


No. However, Kiuas has a broad network of both VCs and angel investors that you meet during the program.

We and our alumni are also happy to help you to understand the fundamentals of fundraising 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. Today, Kiuas is operated as an independent non-profit organization supported by three main partners - Aalto University, the City of Espoo and Elo.

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.

What kind of feedback has Kiuas Accelerator received so far?


We are proud and humble of our track record of creating value for founders. We always ask the Accelerator program participants if they’d recommend the program to other founders. So far, 100% of them have said yes. Here are some examples of the feedback:

“This kind of accelerator should be a must-have for any founder. The topics that are picked for the program fill in 100% of what a founder should consider when planning their growth.”

Participant of Accelerator 2021

“An amazing experience that took us 6 months ahead of time than we would have without the program. The mentoring were mind-blowing and really challenged to look at our business from a more advanced point of view.”

Participant of Accelerator 2020

“Being accountable for the team goals to the Kiuas team made the weekly work very fruitful. What I found especially helpful was that the Kiuas team really familiarised themselves with our specific pinpoints and steered us to the professional who most likely could help us to solve that problem.”

Participant of Accelerator 2022

What does a typical week during the Kiuas Accelerator program look like?


During the program, sessions are organized 3-4 days a week. They take place on weekdays within normal working hours.

Typically you can expect to spend about 10h per week working on the program. The program content is tailored to your needs and consists of mentoring, workshops, talks, weekly meetings, etc.

Overall, the program is intensive but the focus should be on working on your startup.

Does the Kiuas Accelerator program require in-person presence?


No. The program sessions are hosted fully online and can be completed without in-person participation. However, some optional side events take place in person in the Helsinki region.

What happens after the Kiuas Accelerator program?


We typically meet you a couple of times within the following months to discuss your needs and reflect on the program. Also, you maintain access to the services and software of the Toolbox.

Furthermore, you will become a member of the Kiuas Slack community where over 500 other founders can help and share advice with you.

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

Why does the Kiuas Accelerator program cost 1%?


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

We've settled on 1%, as it is enough to cover our expenses, yet small enough that we don't mess up your cap table or investability in the eyes of investors. One percent is not much, but it enables us to help startups like yours in the future as well.

Why should I apply to the Kiuas Accelerator program?


The program content is tailored to meet your current needs. We offer support where you need it the most, provide the right tools, and connect you with the right people. Furthermore, you become a member of our over 500 startup founder community.

Every coach you meet and the sessions you participate in are selected to address the most urgent issues that you are dealing with. You will receive support for industry-specific issues as well as for general issues related to running a startup.

Here are some of the topics that are addressed during the program:

  • Idea validation
  • Product development
  • Go-to-market strategy
  • Sales & marketing
  • Scaling
  • Fundraising
  • Legal / IPR
  • Growth hacking
  • Hiring / team building
  • Internationalization

Kiuas is the fastest way to grow your network of relevant industry experts and investors in the Nordic ecosystem. Having them teach you the fundamentals of building startups supercharges your progress by letting you avoid the mistakes they’ve made. Furthermore, we at Kiuas are passionate about our mission to empower the next generation of leaders and are committed to challenging you, asking the hard questions, and pushing you forward.

Who can apply to Kiuas Accelerator?


Early-stage startup founders that are building globally scalable solutions.

If you are wondering whether you should apply to Kiuas Accelerator, send us a message, and let’s talk! Even if applying is not relevant to you at the moment, we are eager to get to know you and see if we can help in some way.

The application period for the Kiuas Accelerator is closed, can I still apply?


Unfortunately not. We run two programs per year, one in the spring and another one during the fall. The application period is open for about 4-weeks and typically closes at least one month before the program.

You can leave us your email on the Accelerator page to receive a notification when the next application period opens.

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


Please do!

However, please make sure that you are capable of building the first solution (prototype/MVP) out of your idea by yourself (without missing a developer, for example).

If you are looking for a co-founder, you can use our online platform Kiuas Co-Founder to look for a co-founder for your startup!

How do you rate the Kiuas Accelerator applications and select the teams?


In the online application, we address the most important topics related to running startups, such as the problem, the solution, the market opportunity, and the business model. At the interview stage, where we meet online with the most potential applicants, we focus more on the founders and the team. Roughly 20 teams will be selected for the program.

To ensure anonymity and to avoid any biases when we are rating the applications, we do it without knowing your personal information, company name, and location.