No talk, all action. That was Startup Weekend Oulu Media.

54 hours.
+30 participants.
16 ideas pitched on Friday evening.
6 teams and final pitches on Sunday evening.
x cups of coffee.
Hundreds of high fives.

In September we had Startup Weekend Oulu Media. That is the sixth time the event has been organized in Oulu, which is the second highest number in Finland. For each Startup Weekend, Techstars will send a facilitator. For this Startup Weekend we had Sean Paul Shanor who comes from Norway, where he runs a local accelerator program.

The weekend is all about learning new things. During the weekend we had keynote sessions on service design, validation, lean methodology and pitching. Our keynote speakers were Juulia Ruhala from Palvelumuotoilu Palo, Steven Balliano from #digirockstars, Mats Kyyrö from OP Financial Group and our facilitator Sean Paul.

Friday, pitch day!

During the Friday evening, we first began with dinner and warmed up the crowd with exercises before the pitches. During the evening we had 16 brave ones who wanted to share their ideas in front of the crowd. We heard different ideas, ideas that come out of ideas and a lot more. After deciding on top ideas, teams were formed and they started working.


Validate validate and validate

On Saturday morning the teams continued working with their ideas. The morning included a session together with Steven Balliano on validation. One of the most important aspects of building a company from scratch is validation. What is the problem? Who has this problem? Is there a market for your solution? Would someone pay for that solution? A lot of relevant questions that many people forget when building their business. Throughout the weekend we encouraged teams to go outside and meet their possible customers and validate their idea.

During the weekend teams got help from our awesome mentors who are specialist from different fields. This time we had Markku Mäenpää from Kaleva, Jan Schmidt from SocFri, Steven Balliano from #digirockstars, Teuvo Karppinen from, Nancy Ahola Chief from Z-Instruments and Harri Majala  from GBuilder and Sonell.

Learning lean and working lean

Saturday afternoon teams learned how to use lean canvas to describe and develop the business idea when we had a session with Mats Kyyrö who is the head of discovery team at OP Financial Group. Lean canvas is an excellent tool for early-stage business development and you could even use it to describe your own skills and use it sell your expertise.

Startup Weekend requires teams to critically evaluate their own ideas and pivoting (changing the idea) is sometimes needed. This should be easier when you apply the lean methodology and do not fall in love with your own idea.


Learn new and learn from others

Our Saturday evening ended up being very intensive peer-to-peer learning session. We had all teams pitching their idea and other teams giving feedback and ideas to them. It was originally planned to be only 20 minutes, but ended up being a session for 1,5 hours.

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour crash course to entrepreneurship and startups and is there a better place to learn than a group of like-minded people in an inspiring setting.

Sunday=fun day

Sunday is the final day. Morning started with a training session on pitching and how to build a winning pitch. We even managed to hear the winning pitch from Startup Weekend Oulu 2017. It is amazing to see how the ideas and pitches develop and progress during the event.

In the evening, excitement is in the air, stage is set and lights are bright. All the work the teams have done during the weekend is squeezed into a pitch for the judges.

For judges, we had Juha Laakkonen, Managing Director at Kaleva, Päivi Järvenpää, Operations Manager at OP Financial Group, Jarmo Lauronen, Head of Business Services at BusinessOulu and Tony Manninen, CEO at LudoCraft Ltd. Teams had 5 minutes to pitch their idea and business model and 3 minutes to answer questions from the jury.

This time we heard 6 final pitches. After hearing the pitches, the jury discussed and debated over the winners and finally we had the winning teams. The winning team, Speak Eazi wants to help people and companies to create good and impactful speeches. They do that through a platform that connects professionals who give feedback on presentations and public speaking.





2ND PLACE: Songplete

WINNER: Speak Eazi

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Who made it happen?

For the weekend we had 10 people forming the organizing team. They are active members of the community and want to spend their weekend to help teams thrive during the weekend. Thanks to their activity and hard work we made this event happen. If you want to make the future Startup Weekend happen in Oulu, apply for example to the board of OuluES.

About Techstars Startup Weekend

Techstars Startup Weekends are 54-hour events designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical people. Participants create working startups during the event and are able to collaborate with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks. The weekend is centered around action, innovation, and education.

Article is written by Jenna Suorsa & Eemeli Alanne. Photos by Jenna Suorsa & Kalle Vähäkuopus