Go directly to content

One of the participant companies in the IVA program is ONIT Sport, focusing on the mental skills of children and young people. The company started a few years ago, when Laura Andelin, who had a long career in child protection and as a psychotherapist, together with her colleagues, started to think about how best to support the development of children's mental skills.

– The skills of the mind are just as important as the skills of the body, emphasizes Andelin.

– We realized that sports are a natural way to reach children, because nearly 70% of children and young people are involved in sports activities in some way, she explains.

The team started to think about a method that would be cost-effective, geographically independent and available to all children regardless of the club, the size of the club, or wealth of the club. This is how the MIND@sport application was born, a version of which is currently being built for the international market.

IVA Laura Andelin Onit SportLaura Andelin founded Onit Sport because she wants to support the development of children's and young people's mental skills.

Courage and networks

Andelin lavishly praises the IVA mentors and other participants.

– Right from the beginning, the mentors made it clear that they are on our side. The same atmosphere of trust prevailed among the participating companies – everyone encouraged each other and rejoiced at the successes, describes Andelin.

– Once trust had been established, it was much easier to throw yourself in and be open to new thoughts and ideas that came up during the week.

According to Andelin, the IVA week has been an eye-opening experience to understand how your own product looks through the eyes of international mentors.
– We Finns often have the mentality to go ahead slowly and carefully. I have received enormous encouragement that we now know how and have an amazing product, with which we can boldly enter the international market. And now I also dare to say it out loud, Andelin rejoices.

"That's how it should be done"

According to Andelin, it is good if startups applying for IVA have genuine zeal to make an impact in wider circles than just Finland, and also to have some experience under their belt.

– Enough experience, but not too fixed on a certain plan, she specifies.

This is because the company must also be flexible and ready to change its perspective.
– Here we turn our own thoughts around in a good way. You must have the ability to understand different ways of thinking and, if necessary, the ability to change your own plans.

Andelin also gained insights during the IVA week, as a result of which ONIT's go-to-market plan was redrawn.
– We put the plan back to the drawing board, pondered about it and internalized it again and pitched through it. At the same time, our own thinking started to change. I realized that this is how it should be done, Andelin describes the process.

Finland as a pilot before international markets

Finland is an important pilot country for ONIT, and a basis for international growth. Andelin emphasizes that effectiveness grows out of cooperation.
– Our goal in Finland is to build a strong network and get a lot of teams, clubs and sports federations involved. It is essential that this is done in collaboration, she emphasizes.
– No one can change the future alone, but together we can achieve miracles.

The new version of the MIND@sport application, suitable for the international markets, will be launched in September.
– At the end of the year, we will start testing with selected target countries and map out what kind of model is suitable internationally.

According to Andelin, ONIT is currently "jump-ready" – ready to take a leap outside of Finland with suitable investors.
– Now we absolutely need funding. In particular, we are looking for investors who have international EdTech know-how, which we do not, Andelin specifies.
– We are still the first on the market. Our moment is now!


Impact OS sharpened its sales pitch

IVA2023 Klaus MatilainenParticipation in the IVA program came just at the right time for Klaus Matilainen's company Impact OS, as the company is currently running a financing round.

When Klaus Matilainen founded AskKauko in 2017, the vision of an artificial intelligence assisted sustainable development tool still seemed to be a distant future. The platform, now known as ImpactOS, helps companies evaluate the sustainability effects of their products, services, or investment projects from the perspectives of the environment, society and economy.

– Currently, only one percent of unlisted companies report on their responsibility, Matilainen points out.

The Impact OS platform has free tools aimed at all companies for defining and reporting their own current status, as well as paid services for processing and visualizing supply chain ESG data.

Accuracy in doing, relaxed performance

The week-long bootcamp included a lot of rethinking. As recently as last Tuesday, Matilainen tried to inject new ideas into old materials.
– On Wednesday morning, I blew everything into atoms and started writing a new story on an empty screen, he laughs.
– It was quite a journey, but I am really satisfied with the end result and glad that I did it this way.
As the most important lesson, Matilainen singles out the accuracy that cuts through everything the company does. This was applied, for example, to the go-to-market strategy and clarifying the company’s position.
Another takeaway is the courage to leave some things unsaid.
– As a researcher, I have a tendency towards details. However, you can't and shouldn't say everything in a seven-minute investor pitch, but you must identify the relevant and interesting angles for the target group and communicate them in a comprehensible way, he says.
– A pitch that focuses on the main ideas is also better suited to my own calm pace of speech, which makes pitching relaxed and natural – it even felt quite comfortable, Matilainen analyzes.
He plans to continue to stick to the seven-minute presentation format and make it part of the company's own sales culture.
– The competition was not the most important thing here, but I am satisfied with my own performance and the fact that I was able to perform well as the person I feel I am, Matilainen, who took second place in the IVA competition, reflects.

The goal is to double the team

Both the Black Swan Initiative, designed as a tool for large companies, and the freemium service, which is open to everyone, have been diligently prepared throughout the spring. The launch will take place after the holiday season.

In the first phase, the market will be grown in Finland and Sweden.
– Through the supply chains of Finnish and Swedish companies, we expect the product to scale for remote markets as well, Matilainen says.

The company, currently employing seven people, is also seeking venture capital growth funding of around one million euros, which would enable doubling the development and sales team.

There was an opportunity waiting to practice the bootcamp teachings in practice in the funding negotiations scheduled for the next week.
– I'm looking forward to pulling another seven-minute pitch, Matilainen laughs.

IVA2023 ryhmäkuvaIs International Venture Academy the next step of your company?
Read more about the programme!