You must have heard of The hero´s journey. A narrative, a tale of a hero who goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a victory, and then comes home changed or transformed. That’s us! A Startup Sauna alumni, chosen among the TOP15 startups in the Nordics by ArcticStarup, finally home.

It´s almost 20 days since Arctic15. I still remember every minute, every face and the pile of business cards in my table remind me to take at least some replies. This was a really interesting time. Thanks ! But here we are. Already restless again to move forward.

There was another milestone for us in Helsinki. The final presentation of the Lean Innovation Lab. The lab is a consultancy service, a project offer by Shift Actions OY and Mirum to develop an idea into a proven concept in just 30 days. The lab was a prize of the Wärtsiläs Marine Mastermind competition that we won earlier this year. It sounds odd. Maybe. Unusual. For sure. Probably they will come up with some other model next year, but for now a good example how a big corporation is probing towards a startup collaboration. But even if there were moments during the lab that we felt the 50 000 could have been better invested, we are quite happy with the result. A 3rd party consultant saying Wärtsilä, that they should go for it is just priceless.

The mom test. This is what comes to my mind when I think back to Startup Sauna. Before Sauna we didn´t meet much criticism. Most of the audience felt that Marina Ahoy is cool. The field is cool. There was a lot of wondering why they are not already doing that, but we were the superstars. The same effect occurred in Startup Sauna. The coaches loved the idea. There was more encouragement than criticism. Until the end. They said we are not investor ready. Okey. But why? When I asked an investor for an opinion he just exploded saying that the app is worth nothing, totally useless, like made by a 8 year old. Later that day a fellow startuper from the spring batch pointed to Foursquares Swarm Check In functionality as something similar and then I understood. I understood that some of the coaches didn´t understand it at all. To be clear - there were coaches who got it right away, thanks! and for those who didn´t, once again - Marina Ahoy is much more than Swarms Check In (read, "here I am"). Marina Ahoy is an automated customer service touchpoint for harbours, complex enough to implement for commercial shipping and easy to use as Swarms Check IN feature.

There´s no holiday, or what was it called, this summer, again. But a good balance is there for sure. The sun is shining and Marina Ahoy is from Saaremaa! First we will celebrate the summer with a full day of brainstorming next weekend and then continue with the routine. Here we come again !

#StartupSauna #ArcticStartup #Arctic15 #WärtsiläMarineMastermindCompetition #Wärtsilä #Helsinki

Marina Ahoy is in Finland ! Oh… as much as I wish to say that our service is already in major marinas across the country, we have to wait a bit… a bit I mean. We applied to Startup Sauna and made as one of those 2% of 700 applications to get into the program. It started on Monday and yes, the program is going to be intense. So 1:0 for Startup Sauna as we saw ourselves visiting the local marinas and promote our tool besides participating in the program. But again. The program is cool. At the first day I was ripped out from my comfort zone. They had this BMC (Business model canvas) workshop. You may think as I did, what a waste of time, as it is a really popular tool for fresh companies but I was wrong. This ended up as a really useful introduction to let other teams and invited coaches to know what you are up to.

The whole Tuesday was full of shitty pitching and feedback without any mercy from Mike Bradshaw and Juha Ruohonen so let´s skip this one. But on Wednesday we had 16 sessions 1on1 with coaches. Oh and meanwhile I left Relika to the coaches and had a meeting with Wärtsilä, Shift Actions and Mirum downtown Helsinki and got back to Startup Sauna to continue. 17 meetings in a day is actually not too terrifying. Sorry, keep on reading. Two days to come.

The fourth day on Sauna was the 5th of May, a public holiday in Finland. But as we are entrepreneurs, this isn´t our religion. Instead we kicked the shit out in Sauna. KTSO is a very clean official definition for that. So what we succeed, what we failed, what are our planes for the next week and our KPIs. By presenting it we didn´t know that we´ll fail completely in inviting some interesting coaches to lunch on Friday. Yes we failed. We were too late with the invite or we weren’t interesting enough or we picked not the coaches who were available.

Whatever, we failed this time. But hey, there is sunshine and there will be the next week and we are in Finland! We got some hints, some solid contacts and we know we have a great tool. As for the KPIs, we have 10 marinas already using Marina Ahoy, the Android app will be released silently this weekend and I know we have the first marinas from Finland connected next week.

#StartupSauna #Wärtsilä #finland

While participated in several start-up events, we faced truly amazing mentors, got valuable feedback and earned extra attention because our idea seems exotic, Marina Ahoy sounds exotic and for most of them it is like an escape from the daily routine of the next machine learning, next generation something tool thing.

What we have missed, was the feedback from marine industry experts so far. There simply was none.

Applying into Wärtsilä marine mastermind competition, as suggested from Taavi - one of our earlier team members (Thanks!), was the opportunity to grab deeper into industry knowhow. But for what?

We were very much focused to leisure business, and we still are. Wärtsilä - a global leader in complete lifecycle power solutions for the marine and energy markets, a 181 years old corporation whose net sales exceeds the overall revenue of the leisure market in Europe, seemed focused to hardware and IoT implementation in commercial business.

But after an enjoyable Skype interview and Marina Ahoy being selected to the finals as the only Software as a Service solution in this competition, we saw facing an innovation oriented team of individuals willing to change the traditional heavyweight thinking in their corporation.

It´s hard to expect that Wärstilä enters the leisure business but there sure are consumer oriented service models that could change everything up to the industrial shipping industry. Hope to be one of those. So, can´t wait to find out who will be backed up from Shift Actions OY and gets the opportunity for a lean innovation lab together with mentors from the marine industry. The results will be announced in the Digital Ship event in Copenhagen from 5-6 of April. Keep in touch!

#Wärtsilä #Slush #MarinaAhoy #Hannes #TeroHottinen #WärtsiläMarineMastermindCompetition