Startup Sauna Returns to Moscow from Finland!

March 14, 2012, 09:00 master class

The popular business accelerator for seed stage startups was held with entrepreneurs and young tech companies from Russia for the third time. On March 14th Startup Sauna took place in Moscow at the Digital October Center, in partnership with Bricolage seed fund and the National Research University Higher School of Economics’ business incubator and with support of GreenfieldProject.

The Startup Sauna event began with a pitch session. Participants presented their projects in a three-minute pitch in English, and Finnish and Russian experts evaluated the presentations and shared their opinions about the projects. At the end of the pitch session, the organizers selected ten teams to go on to the second round. They could expect a personal two-hour meeting with experienced mentors and, if they won, the opportunity to go to Helsinki for six weeks for the main part of the Startup Sauna program. Based on the results of the six weeks of express mentoring, Aalto Venture Garage selected the best startups, which were set off for Silicon Valley!

Participation in the program, living arrangements in Helsinki, and even the trip to Silicon Valley are absolutely free.

The Startup Sauna program, founded in 2010, is an open-source business accelerator for promising seed stage startups. The program involves young tech companies in Northern Europe, the Baltics, and Russia. The goal of Startup Sauna is to give talented teams the opportunity to study abroad and interact with major investors so that, when they return home, they can effectively promote their companies. Startup Sauna takes place twice a year. The program has already tested more than 500 startups and has helped novice tech companies attract 8.2 million Euros in investments. 87% of the teams that have qualified for Startup Sauna have received the necessary funding. Russian company Maxygen, one of three winners of the fall Startup Sauna, demonstrates the success of the program.

Read about Startup Sauna on the official website:

For more information, contact Jevgeni Peltola: +358 50 4086806,


Moscow Startup Sauna Experts:

Moaffak Ahmed

Ahmed is an entrepreneur with 20 years of business development experience in Europe, North America, and Asia. He specializes in developing marketing strategies for rapidly growing high tech firms. He is a partner at Veturi Venture Accelerator, which provides startups with seed funding and help finding a development strategy.


Paolo Borella

Borella is the Founder at Boro Oy, an advisor service help start-up shape and grow their business, with a focus for Mobile/Online services and the sport segment. Paolo has passion for helping create new business, and sometimes help develop or restructure existing ones. His previous work included Vice President at Fox Mobile Distribution GmbH I Germany and Director at Nokia, for the Porfolio Management for Service and Software GTM. Paolo started his career at General Electrics, driving process improvements in Logistics and Manufacturing.


Anna Danishevskaya

Danishevskaya is a media industry expert at the Moscow office of Booz & Company, and head of telecommunications industry projects.  She has many years of experience in areas like strategy development and strategic planning, mergers, and organizational transformation. She helps telecommunications and media companies formulate their pricing strategies and analyze, segment, and optimize their customer base. Prior to joining Booz & Company, Anna headed major projects at companies in the telecommunications and media sectors for more than seven years. Before that, she worked as a consultant at the New York office of Booz Allen Hamilton, the predecessor of Booz & Company.


Renat Garipov

Garipov is the co-founder of GreenfieldProject, a launch pad for high-tech startups. He is a mentor to a number of technology startups and the co-author of the book, “A Project from Scratch” (2012). He has experience working at major tech companies, specializing in sales, systems integration, and knowledge management.


Micki Honkavaara

Honkavaara is the Senior Director at Nvidia Corporation. His past positions include CEO at Hybrid Graphics Ltd, Board Member at Ohjelmistoyrittäjät, and Executive Vice President at Saraxa Media Ltd. He is a strong manager with considerable marketing, strategic development, and management experience at tech companies.


Ilkka Kivimäki

Kivimäki is Startup Sauna’s new head coach. Even if still looking for a nick name, we can assure you that startups will continue going through blood, sweat, tears and extreme heat in order to have a chance to survive in real life. Ilkka is also a Board Member & Partner at Kibron Inc, the Chairman at Valoya Oy and Owner of Domino Mechanics Oy. In the past, he´s been Senior Vice President at SAP, CEO at SAP Labs Finland Ltd, CEO at Wicom Communications, Vice President/COO, owner at Nexor-Superstore Oy and Project Engineer at Kone Elevators Oy.


Mikhail Korneev

Co-founder of GreenfieldProject. Organizes events for aspiring entrepreneurs, mentors startups and provides consultations for investment funds and educational organizations. Together with Renat Garipov co-authored the upcoming book, “A Project from Scratch” (2012). 


Nikita Parfenov

Investment Manager at Bricolage, Digital October's seed fund. Nikita is on the lookout for new global IT, software, and web-startups with the potential of becoming niche or market leaders. Over 4 years in VC business, including analytical and project management positions at ABRT Venture Fund and Softline.


Juha Ruohonen

Ruohonen is the Head Coach of Aalto Venture Garage, a proven thunderbolt of startups. He judges firmly but fairly. He has extensive experience in the field of entrepreneurship and venture capital investing, and currently heads the company FAM Sports.

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