Frequently asked questions
Where does the name "Sampo Accelerator" come from?
“Sampo” is the name of a magical artifact described in Finland’s national epic, Kalevala.
It is a magic mill that brought riches and good fortune to its holder and produced unlimited flour, salt, and money.
I have a world-changing idea. Can I develop it at Sampo Accelerator?
At the moment, we focus on the acceleration of companies that are around the product launch stage, or at the very least have a working prototype, and a competent team. Therefore, our programme is not likely to be as relevant for you or cater to your needs. However, feel free to shoot us a message and we’ll see what we can do to help!
Does Sampo Accelerator take equity?
Nope! We do not take any equity and there are no fees to participate in our programme.
How come there are no fees?
We believe in promoting the pay-it-forward culture and being as founder-friendly as possible, so we keep our programmes free of fees or equity requirements. This vision is shared by our experts and coaches, who help out on a pro-bono basis. Our costs are currently covered via a sponsorship model.
Does Sampo Accelerator provide funding?
No, Sampo Accelerator does not invest in companies directly, but we do help founders understand what they need to prepare to be ready to talk with professional investors.
How many startups are selected for a batch?
Our batches are around 15 teams.
What does the application process look like?
We open applications 2-3 months prior to the beginning of each batch. The application period is around 4 weeks long and the applications are sent through the Gust platform. This is followed by an interview round, where we interview approximately 30 of the most promising teams based on the founders' profiles.
Can foreign companies apply to Sampo Accelerator?
Yes! In fact, most of our companies come from outside of Finland.
Do we need to relocate to Espoo for the 3.5-weeks?
Yes, physical attendance of at least one founder is mandatory. Ideally, two founders will participate.
How many team members should be present during the programme?
Ideally two, at least one being a founder. In some cases that might not be possible - we fully understand that you might have a very busy schedule. In those cases, it is enough that one founder shows up to the workshops and check-ins.
How many programmes do you run a year?
We run three batches of our startup programme with 10-15 startups in each - Spring, Fall, and Winter batches. A program for scaleups is also coming soon - stay tuned!
Will we have to establish a company in Finland?
No, it doesn’t matter where your company is established, and we don’t need you to move the company to Finland.
Do I need to be physically present for the whole programme?
To maximise learning and community building, we ask that you be present for all of the programme activities.
Where does the programme take place?
The intense 3.5-week period takes place in Startup Sauna, a co-working space located in Espoo, in the capital region in Finland. Find more info here.
What does a typical week at Sampo Accelerator look like?
Most of the programme happens during regular working hours. There are 4 programme days: 2 days of workshops, 1 day for 1on1 coaching, 1 day for check ins and popup coaching. We will schedule approximately 20-25 hours a week of activities each week.
How many hours of programme is there each week? (i.e. workshops, 1-on-1's, check-in's, etc.)
Prepare to spend about 25 hours per week in workshops, 1on1’s and checkups. We also advise you to allocate some time for preparation and following up the sessions.
Why first or second time founders?
This is where we can help the most. Many of our alumni have started and grown successful consultancy type companies, but needed more help to understand how to grow a product based company. If you have more experience, you may actually be a better fit to take part as a coach, in which case, let’s chat!
Why design or technology founders?
The programme is focused on sharpening the business aspects, and we have found that non-business founders have put least focus on these areas.
What if our team does not fit the Sampo profile?
Either shoot us a message, or apply. If we are not the best fit, we will help by letting you know who in our extensive network would be the best fit for you.
I have a question that wasn’t answered in this FAQ.
Shoot us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org