ailon's DevBlog: Development related stuff in my life

Startup Sauna Diary. Part 1. The Trip and Day 1

4/24/2012 6:46:56 AM

So we are here in Finland and Spring ‘12 batch of Startup Sauna kicked off yesterday.

Finding a place to stay in Helsinki wasn’t an easy task and the upcoming Hockey World Cup definitely doesn’t help. The best price/performance option we were able to find was about 20km away from the Aalto Venture Garage and it takes about 1.5 hour to get there using public transportation. So we made a decision to go by car. This also allowed us to bring more stuff (monitors, etc.)

The trip and Helsinki sightseeing


Luckily the trip was pretty uneventful. Except for missing a Hesburger in Parnu due to a new road that goes around the city, there were no surprises. The most memorable thing was a ferry trip from Tallinn to Helsinki.


And the most memorable thing on the ferry was the sheer amount of alcohol Finns were buying to bring home. Looking at their carts I don’t think I could consume that much alco in a year.

The trip took the whole Saturday and on Sunday we went shopping for stuff for the apartment to the nearby huge shopping mall appropriately called Jumbo. The funny thing is that it hosts 2 different enormous supermarkets next to each other.

And then we went for a sightseeing walk around Helsinki center. The weather was nice, the city is nice, great stuff!


Startup Sauna Day 1

The official part of Startup Sauna was scheduled to start at 3pm but we’ve arrived to Aalto Venture Garage early – around 10am.


That turned out to be a good idea because even though there’s probably enough room for all the teams, we brought our monitors and wanted to secure a suitable desk. I’m also a little picky about chairs (due to the old programmer’s back) and the ones we have upstairs are really good. So, without further ado let me introduce the Finnish AdDuplex HQ:


At 3pm the official program started, the teams were introduced, orientation given, t-shirts and flip-flops presented and the heat is officially on.

The first guest was Christopher Karltorp – CEO of Zerply – who gave a horror story talk with a happy ending which mostly concentrated on their struggles fundraising. It was both scary and inspirational and a really interesting story. Add a little Aaron Sorkin and you can get a decent Social Network sequel.

And then was traditional Wednesday BBQ (on Monday this time). We had burgers and most people had beer, but not me, because I’m driving and Paulius is younger than my car insurance would allow. But that could be a good thing. Beer is ridiculously overpriced here anyway.

So, that’s it for now. The easy part has ended and serious stuff starts today…


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