Startup Sauna – The Oulu warmup

This blog series will be about our experiences and lessons learned during the Startup Sauna program. In short, Startup Sauna open sources seed acceleration for the most promising startups in Northern Europe, Baltics and Russia. This post will take you all the way back to the beginning of our journey…

The first pitch

We decided to attend the Startup Sauna Oulu warmup even though we were in a very early phase with our startup. The main reasons for applying was to get early stage feedback and to get a glimpse of how things are done the Sauna-way.

Going in to the warmup we knew that we would be delivering a 3 minute pitch with slides. We decided to make the slides really simple and focus on the delivery of the pitch. Here are the original slides we used.

Make sure it works!

I was pretty nervous going in to the event, because obviously we wanted to use Presefy for the pitch. Since we had just gotten the proof of concept ready we weren’t 100% sure it was going to work on all setups.

As teams were handing in their slides on a memory stick I made sure that our service worked on the presentation computer and it did! Everything was supposed be perfect except that when it was our turn to present, the service froze! Luckily I didn’t freeze and we managed to pitch our service. The most imporant thing was to get the coaches interested in our service for the 1on1 sessions and there we succeeded!

Time for our first pivot

As you can see from the slide deck, our initial idea was to license the technology to bigger companies making online presentation services. But after the feedback and reality check that we received from the coaches about licensing technology, we started to think otherwise.

We really had no idea how difficult it would be to actually license technology to companies as a startup. The point is that only after talking with industry experts we realized what we were really getting ourselves into. And this led to our first pivot with Presefy – we decided to change from licensing the technology to building the whole platform ourself.

Presefy selected amongst the Oulu warmup winners!

As the day progressed we received a lot of valuable advice from the coaches. This would have definitely taken us forward with our business but the real treat was still to come. It was time to announce the winners of the Oulu warmup. Even though the field of startups there wasn’t that competitive, we were ecstatic about the fact that we were selected amongst the winners in the Oulu warmup.

Lessons learned

  1. Get feedback as soon as possible! But always bear in mind that feedback is free and nowadays everyone is willing to give some. This leads to a situation where you really need to think about the feedback that you receive and if the person giving it has anything to show for it.
  2. If you are going to demo your product, make sure it works! Or at least have a backup plan if things go south. When pitching, it is your time to shine and your chance to get to that next meeting. Don’t waste it!

Join in on the conversation

If there is anything that you would want to ask or comment on our Sauna experience, please feel free to comment here or on our Facebook page!

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