October 27, 2017

Five for Friday: Pitching events

Finnish pitching events may send startups through the skies nose-first.
Finnish pitching events may send startups through the skies nose-first.

Here up north, you can pitch like a polar bear or become a skydiving entrepreneur – and pretty much everything in between.

Breaking the ice with top investors is crucial for any fresh startup. In Finland, pitching events aim to facilitate that transition – one in particular quite literally. Combining creative context with bold entrepreneurs who are ready to take their pitch to the next level, Finnish pitching events are finding compelling ways to showcase new ideas.

Sky Dive Pitching

The sky is the limit for the founders selected to participate in this bracing competition. Startup event Slush kicked off the world’s first skydive pitching competition in September. Founders jump from the airborne “Nerd Bird”, and answer questions from investors while falling at approximately 120 miles per hour.

“This year there are 100 seats on the Slush Flight and we wanted to secure seats for some of the boldest founders,” explained Slush’s Alexander Pihlanen. “And how to do this? By diving through the sky, of course.”

Midnight Pitch Fest

Finns love festivals – so it is no surprise that this Oulu-based event brings together a passion for pitches, festivities and bringing business ideas to the international scene in a festival format.

“The event is open to all and its aim is to boost the profile of entrepreneurs, enable financiers to meet startup companies and entrepreneurs as well as to have fun,” described organiser Ville Heikkinen from Business Oulu, after the first Midnight Pitch Festival in 2013.

Arctic 15

This matchmaking event by ArcticStartup features Nordic startups from 15 different industries, from Digital Health to Talent and Virtual Reality. The pitching competition winner snatches a syndicate deal worth 50 000 euros with the Finnish Business Angels Network.

“At Arctic15 we ensure and facilitate startups to efficiently meet international investors and partners around the competition,” says director Taru Ryske. “That’s our core focus and it works great. Startups have days full of meetings, they meet the right people, build relationships and make deals. 40 per cent of our meetings lead to real deals.”

Helsinki Challenge

Engaging innovators from the fields of science and business alike, this competition tackles the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals set in 2015. The challenge aims to give a strong financial boost to winning research and ideas thorough competition.

“The Helsinki Challenge is an effort by the Finnish universities to make science visible, enable new science-based research proposals and strengthen the dialogue between science and wider society,” the competition website states.

Read more about this year’s finalists here.

Polar Bear Pitching

Are you tough enough to pitch like a polar bear? This Oulu-based competition will bring you in touch with the Arctic: participants step into a chilly pool cut out of the frozen Baltic Sea. Though there is no time limit, contestants must remain in the water for the entirety of their pitch.

“[The pitching] was actually easier than I thought,” described Jani Leiramaa from Fineria, after participating in the 2016 competition. “I practiced by filling my bathtub with water and snow which was much worse than this.”