15.3. - 12.4.2021
1 February 2021 12:00
Application formApply now
Applications are closed.
Working on an idea, building a prototype, or already developing an MVP?
Kiuas Start is a program filled with 1-on-1 mentoring, intensive working, invaluable perks, and peer support – aiming to help you validate your idea, secure your first customers, and push your progress to the next level.
The program is completely free and zero-equity.
Alumni startups of Kiuas Start
AVG rating from all participants
Would recommend to a friend
In order to maximize your progress, Kiuas Start is split into three distinct parts. Generally, all of the sessions take place between Monday & Thursday after regular working hours, as we are mindful of founders who cannot yet quit their previous job.
The first part is a one-month (15.3.-12.4.2021), tightly-packed sprint including mentoring, workshops, weeklies, and other sessions that revolve around the topics of product development and idea validation. This is the most crucial and intense part of the program.
The second part, running from April to September is program-wise lightweight and consists of monthly check-ups and few possible additional workshops. The focus is to take the learnings from part 1 to practice.
The program concludes in September to a 2-week sprint (exact dates TBD), where we go through topics such as scaling and fundraising, once again in the format of mentoring and workshops.
Weekly #1Nelli Såger, Co-Founder & CEO
Founding story of Fifth Corner Inc.
Nelli Såger, Co-Founder & CEONelli Såger, Co-Founder & CEO
Weekly #2Sami Marttinen, Co-Founder & CEO
Founding story of Swappie
Sami Marttinen, Co-Founder & CEOSami Marttinen, Co-Founder & CEO
Office Hours (Optional)Mikko Honkanen
Minimum Viable Product
Mikko HonkanenMikko Honkanen
Legal Office Hours (Optional)Inka Mero, Voima Ventures
Inka Mero, Voima VenturesInka Mero, Voima Ventures
1-on-1 discussions with experienced founders, investors, and industry experts.
Interactive, hands-on sessions on various fundamental topics.
Regular group meetings with other founders to discuss learnings, challenges, and goals.
Intensive 24-hour sprints. Develop your product or service and get a lot of stuff done at once.
Founders at this stage rarely do their startup full-time. That's why a typical week will only consist of the most essential sessions to support your growth and we will primarily be working in the afternoons.
Weekly meetings | 1h
(Optional) Workshop | 1,5h
Workshop | 1,5h
1-on-1 Mentoring | 2x45min
Free of program
How does the coronavirus affect Kiuas programs?
All our future Start and Accelerator programs will be organized regardless of the COVID-19 situation.
Kiuas programs in 2020 have all been fully virtual, and the feedback has been superb. We will continue to organize our programs remotely until further notice.
In which areas can Kiuas help?
We support startups in pretty much all areas related to founding a company. Although the programs are built around topics that are common for any startup, our coaches can help on industry-specific matters as well.
Here's a list of some of the topics from the past few programs:
How does Kiuas differ from other accelerators?
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.
How is this all free?
The organization behind Kiuas is operating on a not-for-profit basis and is supported by various partners and other organizations. Furthermore, all of our activities are heavily based on "giving back" -mentality; e.g. our coaches are involved completely pro bono.
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 legal entity.
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.
Who can apply to Kiuas programs?
Our programs are meant for any early-stage startups from all industries. Most of our startups are based in Finland but we may, occasionally, accept foreign startups into the programs as well.
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 1-2 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 and meet in person.
Should our startup apply for Start or Accelerator?
In Start, the focus is on validating your idea, building the early versions of your product, and securing your first customers. We don’t require a registered company nor a full-time founding team - no idea is too early. However, you can also be more towards the Accelerator-stage (already launched, full-time team etc.) in case you feel the program could bring value to you.
In Accelerator, the focus is on further topics such as product-market-fit, market entry, growth, sales, scaling up, and fundraising. You should have already built a somewhat functional version of your producy, gained some validation, and the majority of the founding team should be working full-time.
Having trouble to decide on the right program for you? Please shoot us a message and we can together discuss which one suits you better.
Can our startup apply to both of the programs?
How many startups are selected?
We select 15-20 teams to each batch of Start and Accelerator.
I’m working on my startup alone, can I apply?
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.
Where do the programs take place?
What does a typical program week look like?
In Start, the sessions take place during evenings and weekends.
In Accelerator, the sessions take place mostly on weekdays and inside normal working hours.
In both programs, 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 physical attendance required?
Yes. At least one member from the founding team should be present. Keep in mind that on the current pandemic situation, physical attendance might not be possible. In that case, the attendance will be virtual.
Kiuas programs of 2021 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.
Can we use the space after the program?
Yes! You're free to continue using the Startup Sauna co-working space and keep your 24/7 keycard as well.
We are also able to offer office rooms for alumni startups.
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.
Furthermore, our alumni get invited to our Kiuas Slack community which they can then use to get in touch with over 200 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?
Is a virtual program less beneficial than a normal one?
Based on our experiences with our first-ever virtual program, Kiuas Start Spring '20, it really isn't. Since all sessions and perks can be arranged virtually, no major benefits of the program will be lost.
Of course, the social aspect of the program – meeting the other startups face-to-face – is reduced, but we compansate this with increased virtual meetings between the other startups in the batch.
Will the perks change in the case of a virtual program?
No – all the same benefits will be offered regardless of whether the program takes place physically or virtually.
Coaching – All mentorings talks, and workshops during the program are arranged via interactive video meetings and webinars.
Working Space – As soon as the Startup Sauna working space opens again, the access will granted to those startups that wish to have it.
Alumni Community – Apart from a couple of alumni gatherings, all other activities and our alumni Slack community remain unchanged.
Tools – The entire $350k worth of tools in Kiuas Toolbox can be accessed normally.