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The final episode recorded at Slush in Helsinki, that we produced in partnership with Remote, the global HR platform, where we recorded a series of interviews from Remote’s booth with a number of the speakers and attendees. Our guests for this episode were:
1/ Vlada Musvydaite, CEO & Founder, Walk15
2/ Fredrik Hanell, Impact Ventures Director, EIT Urban Mobility
3/ Dr Finnur Pind, Co-founder & CEO, Treble Technologies
4/ Daniel Wikberg, CEO & Founder, Upsales
5/ Jakub Korczak, CFO, Proteon Pharmaceuticals
Vlada Musvydaite, CEO and Founder, Walk15
Vlada Musvydaite, CEO and Founder of Walk15, introduced the sustainable activity platform for companies, designed to engage employees in healthy activities through challenges and promote overall well-being. With an international footprint, the platform encourages users to embrace healthy habits while offering a business model focused on B2B subscriptions.
Founded in 2019, Walk15 has rapidly grown, surpassing 602,000 app users globally, reflecting 20% of Lithuania’s population. Vlada shared her journey, initially creating the tool for her children and later expanding its reach.
Discussing challenges, Vlada emphasised the difficulty of finding talent, especially as the company targets the German market. The focus on building a team in Vilnius and eventually expanding to Berlin highlights the strategic approach to talent acquisition.
Vlada recounted the company’s evolution from a local initiative to a global phenomenon, driven by the vision of transforming habits. Her passion lies in changing the world’s habits, with Walk15 already achieving significant impact in Lithuania and future plans to expand to Germany and eventually the U.S.
Expressing pride in the team’s accomplishments, Vlada emphasised the positive feedback and recognition received from clients and journalists. The podcast concluded with an endorsement of Walk15’s mission to promote health and well-being.
Vlada Musvydaite’s commitment to changing habits and fostering a healthier world shines through as Walk15 continues to make strides in its mission.
Fredrik Hanell, Impact Ventures Director, EIT Urban Mobility
Fredrik Hanell, Director of Impact Ventures at EIT Urban Mobility, shared insights into the organisation’s mission of fostering innovation in urban mobility to create more liveable cities. EIT Urban Mobility collaborates on projects, offers academy courses, and supports startups contributing to sustainable urban mobility solutions.
Fredrik Hanell highlighted innovative solutions, ranging from electrification and electric vehicles to encouraging citizens to adopt more sustainable transportation choices. He emphasised the complexity of changing mobility behaviours and the need for nudges based on behavioral science.
As the Director of Impact Ventures, Fredrik’s primary focus is on investing in startups across Europe, including affiliated countries like Israel and Turkey. EIT Urban Mobility differentiates itself by prioritising startups that demonstrate a tangible impact on cities. At Slush 2023, Hanell and his team brought 22 startups to showcase their potential and engage with investors.
Fredrik discussed the challenges of scaling a business across countries, emphasising EIT Urban Mobility’s role in facilitating connections and providing opportunities for startups to expand beyond their geographical boundaries. Looking ahead, the organisation aims to continue investments, foster collaboration with other investors, and position itself as a strong supporter of impactful startups.
The conversation highlighted EIT Urban Mobility’s commitment to driving positive change in urban mobility and supporting startups that align with their vision for more sustainable and liveable cities.
Dr. Finnur Pind, Co-Founder and CEO, Treble Technologies
Dr. Finnur Pind, Co-founder and CEO of Treble Technologies, discussed the company’s focus on sound simulation technology. Treble Technologies, a software startup established just over three years ago, has developed a platform that enables users to design the sound of various entities, including buildings, cars, tech products, and virtual experiences.
Dr. Finnur Pind touched on the challenges and learnings encountered in the startup journey, emphasising the importance of talent acquisition. Treble Technologies actively promotes its company culture through platforms like LinkedIn and participation in conferences to attract specialised talent.
Addressing the expansion strategy, Dr. Finnur Pind highlighted Treble’s global and inherently scalable nature. With customers worldwide, the company plans to scale and win customers everywhere, considering the possibility of opening offices beyond Reykjavik. The company is currently exploring a Series A fundraising round to support growth, aiming to expand the team to around 50 people in the coming year.
Dr. Finnur Pind expressed optimism about the fundraising efforts and emphasised the value of investor partnerships beyond monetary contributions. The conversation provided insights into the startup ecosystem in Reykjavik and Treble Technologies’ plans for scaling up and out, marking an exciting phase in the company’s journey.
Daniel Wikberg, CEO and Founder, Upsales
Daniel Wikberg, CEO and Founder of Upsales, shared insights into the journey and challenges of building the company. With a history dating back 20 years, Upsales originated from Daniel’s early experience in developing a basic sales tool for his father’s company. The business officially started when Daniel addressed the need for improved sales tools in a different company, leading to the creation of Upsales.
Navigating the challenges of entrepreneurship, Daniel emphasised the learning curve associated with running a business, especially given that Upsales is a bootstrapped company. The journey involved adapting to market demands, focusing on specific customer needs, and determining the company’s core values and culture.
Discussing talent acquisition, Daniel highlighted the importance of identifying companies with similar cultures and values, enabling Upsales to target individuals who align with their approach. The company leverages its ability to access talent globally, exemplified by hiring individuals from diverse locations, contributing to Upsales’ growth.
Looking ahead, Daniel outlined Upsales’ clear focus on the Nordic region, with plans to expand its customer base beyond Sweden. The company aims to increase its annual recurring revenue from €15 million to €100 million in the coming years, marking an exciting phase for Upsales.
Jakub Korczak, CFO, Proteon Pharmaceuticals
Jakub Korczak, CFO of Proteon Pharmaceuticals, discussed the company’s focus on addressing the global issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) using bacteriophages during a podcast interview. Proteon Pharmaceuticals leverages bacteriophages, friendly viruses that combat specific bacteria, to create cocktails as feed additives for animals. This innovative approach aims to minimise AMR and provide alternatives to traditional antibiotics.
Jakub emphasised the urgency of combating AMR, stating that it could be comparable to cancer in terms of causing deaths by 2050, according to research from institutions like the World Bank and the United Nations. Proteon Pharmaceuticals strives to contribute to this crucial cause by developing effective therapies and proven methods.
The company faces challenges in entering the European market due to regulatory hurdles, with a five-year waiting period for product registration. To expand its global footprint, Proteon Pharmaceuticals has subsidiaries in India and plans to penetrate the international market further. The company’s complex and technical nature necessitates attracting and retaining skilled talent, with a focus on accessing new technologies and offering competitive compensation.
Proteon Pharmaceuticals’ priorities include scaling the business, obtaining European Union approval for product sales, and addressing varied market needs in different regions. The company’s mission aligns with tackling AMR globally and ensuring the well-being of both animals and humans.
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