• ellen kuitunen

Sampo Accelerator turns 2 !

Sampo Accelerator is celebrating its two year anniversary as a major source of support and help for early-stage start-ups in the CEE, Baltic and Russian region. Like any two-year-old we seem to have mostly figured out how to walk, some communication is happening, but lots of learning is still happening.


We can say Sampo Accelerator has found a rhythm for the year. We’ve been organising three batches a year of our programme, the Forge for companies that are at launch stage. We’ve also had, this year, one batch of our new programme, the Mill aimed at later stage companies. We’ve enjoyed every moment of each batch and are thankful for all our alumni for the trust and effort they have given us. We’re also grateful for all of our coaches that continue to spread their experience and knowledge amongst not only our participants but, also with us and their surroundings.


“Over the years Finland has managed to become a startup hub that combines the best people from both West and East. Sampo, being run by the most prolific startup coach in the region, is now one of the leaders continuing that important work: educating and helping entrepreneurs to build fantastic businesses.” -Kristoffer Lawson

Here’s a quick recap of the years in key numbers:


At Sampo Accelerator, we put real emphasis on learning and growth. We’re constantly tweaking and adjusting the programmes based on learnings from each batch and from looking at what other programmes are doing. As such, no two batches have been exactly the same.

As previously mentioned, we experimented and launched a new programme this year, targeting later stage start-ups, the Mill. This programme allows founders to reflect and think about what will actually make a difference to their company.


“Sampo is doing a great job of "stressing" early-stage founders with an overdose of challenging feedback. So they can be even more confident and ready to take off at the end of the program or find alternative business idea that is more likely to survive.” -Max Pecherskyi

Sampo Accelerator has a lot planned for the future and a number of projects in progress. We are constantly bringing on new coaches to enlarge our base of knowledge and experience, as well as starting the work of expanding our partnership network. Stay tuned!


It is not only important to celebrate achievements but also to reflect on failures. In order to successfully plan the future, it is necessary to look back on things that have not gone to plan in the past, and what can be done to avoid the same kind of mistakes. So, let’s go through them together!


Short term funding (2-5 years) is still a challenge. Unfortunately, we have not been able to close significant any sponsorships yet. This has, and is, limiting our options regarding future plans, as we have not yet been able to have our team be fully focused only on Sampo Accelerator. Our medium term (10-15 year) model is alumni support, and this appears to be approximately on track. Of course, the fine folks at Hiisi have been an invaluable source of support, but we can not live on beer alone (unfortunately).


Only two teams came to our Winter 20 batch. Looking back, there was a gap where we were not at events or engaging with the wider community for a period of time at the end of our first year. This outreach work needs to be done constantly and consistently. From this, we have learnt that there seems to be approximately 6 months between out actions and us being able to see results. Additionally, we noticed that the small to mid-sized conferences have seemed to give us the best ROI (and of course, the most fun ;)).


At Sampo Accelerator, communication has not been not our forte, as for any two-year-old! However, we’re continuously challenging ourselves and we have made some good progress. Finding and enabling our great interns has been the primary reason for that (and something we plan to expand on!)


Thank you for these two educational, fun and exciting years!


Here’s to the future,

The Sampo Accelerator Team





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