We had applications to the Autumn Batch from all over the world: Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America. After an online application process & pitching days finals, nine dynamic teams were chosen to join our 15 week program to startup growth and internationalization. Some of the teams were local, some were from elsewhere in Finland, one is from Lithuania and our most exotic Autumn batch member travelled from Paraguay to Kotka, Finland to join us on our growth journey.
Even the local startup teams are imaginative: local game development company Kuura funds their development work with a sauna rental business on the side (very Finnish!). Many of the teams that applied - and a few that were accepted - have participated in other local startup ecosystem events in the Kotka region, including the Ship Startup Festival, Ship Disruption Camp, Startup Passion or the local XAMK University of Applied Sciences PatteriES entrepreneurship society.
Two of the teams consist mainly of international engineering & business students from LUT Lappeenranta University of Technology. They are a diverse, truly dynamic bunch, representing tech & business know-how from countries such Egypt, Venezuela, Marocco & Vietnam. One team moved from Lappeenranta to Kotka and is in the process of registering his company here. The Achievely team from Helsinki is a bunch of techie psychology students (not as scary as it sounds).
The most experienced entrepreneur team this Autumn is DealLink from Lithuania. Their procurement portal already has large, serious corporate customers in the Baltic countries and they are aiming to further go international.
Finally we arrive at most exotic startup team this autumn: Paraguay's most successful startup (in funding terms) and game development company Posibillian Tech, hard at work on their location-based game Fhacktions. While attending Slush last year they met local gamedev guru Vesa Raudasoja, who is the Chairman of IGDA (International Game Developers Association) Finland. Lured by the global game industry know-how of Finland & the truly developed and networked game industry hub in Kotka, they hopped on a 40-hour flight to Europe and moved to our home town.
What is your startup story? Want to join us for Spring 2018? Apply now to the Levelup Startup Accelerator Spring 2018 Batch.