One early morning at Startup Sauna

Startup Sauna is to Helsinki what YCombintor is to USA: a name everybody knows or have heard of, pushing the entrepreneurial scene in every possible way. While preparing our Nordics coworking tour, we knew we wanted to visit the space and the people making it happen.


Despite the fact that everybody in the Nordics was on vacation, we were able to meet Panu, the CEO of Startup Sauna, on an early Friday morning. We took a bus which drove us out of Helsinki and brought us to the campus of Aalto University. Like ThinkCompany, Startup Sauna was originally a University initiative.

To be even more precise, Startup Sauna was founded by a student association (Aaltoes – alto Entrepreneurship Society) that is part of Aalto University. Aaltoes started in 2009 by a group of students who decided to build a structure that will support students and researchers who want to start companies internationally. Few months after its creation, Aaltoes pitched the idea of opening a space for young entrepreneurs where they can work on their companies and ideas. The result of that pitch is what Startup Sauna is today: a 1,500 sqm industry hall directly on the campus.

Startup Sauna consists of two things:
1/ a coworking space, accessible to anyone. No membership or ties to Startup Sauna are required. It combines everything you need to work: fast internet, meeting rooms and a coworking area, and cool bunch of people around you.


2/ an accelerator, which is the core activity of the space. Startup Sauna targets and attracts startups from the Nordics, the Baltics, Eastern Europe and Russia and offers to the selected teams, 5 intensive (and equity free) weeks of acceleration in their premises. The Startup Sauna teams gathered 70+ Entrepreneurs, Angel investors, and VCs who coach the selected teams from day 1 up to Demo Day.

The Demo Day of Startup Sauna is very special as it takes place during the (amazing and huge) Slush conference where all investors and media are present. After Demo Day, selected teams are offered the great opportunity to fly to Berlin+London to see the startup ecosystem of both cities there and, most importantly, to meet angel investors and VCs.

Startup Sauna often transforms its facility into an event space where they host several types of events such as meetups, hackathons, breakfast, yoga, after work party and much more.


Startup Sauna brings together the best startups from their target region. The numbers speak for themselves: in 13 batches, Startup Sauna gathered 194 startups which raised more than $100M dollars. If you are curious to see their alumni, have a look right here.

We were really impressed and fascinated by the concept of the space, how it came to life, where it stands today and seeing the bright future it has. Startup Sauna is a treasure hunter for Startups in the regions they target. Amazing startups have come out of it and we can’t wait to see the Demo Day of the current batch 🙂

Time was ticking and it was already time for us to leave to our next meeting. Before leaving Panu, we ended up taking a Selfie in… A Sauna 🙂

Startup Sauna and Coworkies selfie📨 Subscribe to our once a month newsletter to follow our startup project and meet the awesome people we encounter along the way in the coworking spaces of the world.What’s your story? Tell us on Twitter @COWORKIES.

Pauline Roussel

Co-Founder Coworkies. Formerly General Manager at Rainmaking Loft Berlin, a #coworking space dedicated to #startups, Ambassador of French Tech Berlin.

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