Celebrating 5 years of Accelerating Partnership

celebrate accelerando 5 years

Today exactly five years ago, Accelerando partners joined forces to support ambitious and innovative new businesses to grow and prosper. Together with our customers, we want to create success for new ideas, products and services targeting international markets.

During the years the Accelerando team has been strengthened and currently we are nine and we do work as a team. Expanding new businesses, conquering markets and achieving sustainable competitiveness for novel and innovative products and services call for diverse set of know-how and experience. With our varying experience in Finland, elsewhere in Europe and across the globe and complementing backgrounds we can offer the broad skillset needed to support entrepreneurial teams in their endeavors.

The Accelerando team covers the greatest part of what an innovative growth business may need: strong technical expertise and understanding in software, hardware and telecommunications technology and business; the opportunities that technology can offer; international corporate and contract law; know-how of IPR issues; diverse and deep GoToMarket experience from different parts of the world; traditional and social media marketing skills; and mastery of sales and distribution channel management. We have over the years, developed exceptionally wide international cooperation network that is based on good personal relationships that seem to be happy to help our customers on request. The network is invaluable.

In addition to the nine growth and internationalization professionals we have a two-consultant team responsible of hands on international market research and lead generation.

As we construct visions and plans together with the entrepreneurial teams the need for financing comes up more often than not. Product, service or business development cost money and need capital in one form or another. Accelerando supports start-ups to find funding through several sources. We are well connected within the venture-funding sphere and we are well acquainted with Finnish and EU public innovation schemes.

Accelerando have has contributed to more than 200 Tekes (the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation) funded business or product/service development projects. More than 20 of our customer companies have participated in the Tekes Young Innovative Companies (YIC) Programme.

A wide variety of interesting indicators from our journey over the years support our case. Our team collects around 500 entrepreneurs’ pitches every year in different events and venues. 300 of these lead to discussions. Approximately 100 of these ends up coming to our office for further in-depth dialogue and with 50 entrepreneurial teams we roll up our sleeves. These annual figures have led us to join forces with more than 200 customers to reach out for stronger growth in the competitive, international markets. The Center for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY-keskus) has supported our customers financially in more than 100 cases.

Accelerando has supported its customers close to 30 times in private equity funding rounds with proceedings typically been between 200 000 – 500 000 euros, sometimes more. Despite difficult times, we have, together with our customers, succeeded and managed well in a majority of the offerings.

The above-mentioned results have been made possible by the exceptional knowledge and experience represented within the Accelerando team. But most importantly, our customers have shown incredible innovativeness and introduced novel initiatives and ideas which we have intrigued the financiers and fascinated the markets.

We will continue to be at your service – we will be looking forward to new disruptive business models and the world of the Internet of Things, in particular from SME point of view. The very first projects in this area have already been accomplished and the feedback has been encouraging. In addition, we continuously look into opportunities to create new funding methods to support the entire start-up genre and new business creation in Finland.

Thank you all, our customers, our dear friends and all the stakeholders that have contributed into innovation!

Sam Weintraub                         Jussi Heinilä
Chairman, Co-founder             Senior Advisor, Co-founder

PS. Please, take a look at what our customers say.

 

Photo credit: Flickr / nhr

Pitching Presentation Politeness Urgently Needed

Listening

We have all attended pitching events–either as listeners, some type of judges or presenters. I have an opportunity to get acquainted with new business ideas, new entrepreneurs and teams on a weekly basis. In most cases presenters are well prepared and we can all see that a lot of thought and work have been put in to the presentations. In some unfortunate cases we see ad-hoc pitches with no content at all. But those are a rare minority.

Somehow it is in our culture to criticize presentations – we do try to find the weak spots and mistakes: is the body language correct; is there enthusiasm in the voice; is the language perfect; are the slides beautiful and self-explanatory? But are these speech techniques, sometimes even rhetoric issues, really relevant?

Let’s Turn Things Upside Down – at Least Sometimes

I was lucky to have professor Tapani Jokinen as my teacher at the Helsinki University of Technology. As a matter of fact I had the pleasure of working as a teaching assistant at his laboratory. One of the courses dealt with systematic ideation techniques in product development. One of the basic techniques to think differently is to turn everything upside down, think vice versa.

Let’s sometimes compete in listening and understanding skills rather than presentation skills.

Next time when we meet a team or an entrepreneur with a new idea let us ask ourselves:

  • Did we help others attending the pitching venue–be it a face-to-face meeting, pitching competition, or panel presentation–to better understand the business or innovations we were told about with our questions and comments?
  • Were we well prepared for the event?
  • Did we ourselves understand the idea or the business?
  • Do we know the market well enough to comment on it? Did we really attend the meeting and pay all of our attention to presentation, did we concentrate–or did we actually attend to our emails?

For once I would like to attend a pitching forum where the listeners were put on the spot. We could compete on who actually understood what was presented, who had the best advice who really did have an input for the entrepreneurs’ ideas. That could really be exciting.

In some cases I have been a bit embarrassed on behalf of the audience. Young entrepreneurial teams have worked hard to present their case but the ones that are supposed to give an opinion and help the team forward couldn’t care less of what’s happening. They tweet, send and read emails, discuss with each other and have not prepared themselves for the meeting. Quite impolite behavior, indeed.

So, next time you have an opportunity to participate in a pitching venue, please be encouraging and supportive towards all the presenters. Get acquainted with their business ideas, markets they plan to address and think if you have experience in a similar situation. Be prepared and get interested. Agreed?

Mika Sorvettula

Related reading: Interesting article in PandoDaily mentioning Steve Blank’s view on demo days as “beauty contests in bikinis for investors”. Style over substance, indeed.

Picture credit: studiobeerhorst