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Our History

In the Spring of 2018, the Startup Sauna Accelerator programme was shut down.

In the early Summer of 2018, after talking with a number of the active coaches and recent alumni, our Head Coach, Mike Bradshaw, saw that the existing accelerators were leaving a large group unserviced.

The existing accelerators had become a filter/training service for the region's investors, so if your startup was not an obvious "winner" it was very difficult to get any help.

The inspiration to work as a zero equity, alumni supported programme came as we were following our own advice, and looked at what our customers needed most - honest, actionable feedback today, to help them be successful in the coming years. This helps keep Sampo Accelerator focused on helping founders become better, so they are able to support future activities.

Having coached & mentored at a number of different programmes in the region, the structure and syllabus of the programme was clear.

Now the only challenge was to prove that the hypothesis was true and to get young companies to come and join the programme.

The first batch was held in October/November of 2018, and the theory was proven correct.

This first batch also saw the team expand with the addition of Teodora as COO.


Since the first batch, the team has been learning, tweaking and adjusting our programme, the Forge.

In early 2020, a new programme was launched, The Mill.


Some of the semi-accidental learnings in the first 18 months of operations:


The profile of the coaches

If you browse the coaches profiles you will notice that, unlike other programmes, we do not have active investors as coaches. All of the coaches have over 3 years of experience in startups, either as founders or early employees.

We know that active investors add a lot of value, but in the coaching situation, they will be tempted to "push" teams to be more what they want to invest in. We are also happy that a number of the local investors have come and run workshops as part of the programme, giving the teams invaluable insights.


The entrepreneur has to want to learn

We can not help people who are “too busy”, or make excuses, all we can do is provide the opportunity to them. They have to take it.


Our Philosophy

Sampo Accelerator is the only startup and growth company program that focuses on helping you build a well functioning business, rather than merely closing an investment round.

We do this with two intensive programmes that are alumni supported, with no equity stake.


The 4 things that we think about before doing something (in priority order);

  • Give First or Pay-it-Forward mentality.

  • Have Fun

  • Enable peer to peer learning & help people to grow

  • Fuck it, let's do it.

We increase a founder's focus on the one thing that can actually make companies successful - Customers!


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