Finnish execs ask for cool cash - from hole in the ice

Feb 07, 2014

Gasping and shivering, entrepreneurs from 26 Finnish startups jumped into near zero-temperature water Friday in one of the most unusual pitches ever for funding.

Wearing just swimsuits and beanies, the participants in the first-ever Polar Bear Pitching in the northwestern city of Oulu took turns in a hole dug into the iced-over Oulujoki river, explaining their business plans with clattering teeth.

The audience: A group of investors who—appropriately dressed for the subarctic climate—stood on the edge of the hole, deciding who should get a share of nearly 300 million euros ($408 million) in capital.

The longer the hopeful businesspeople managed to stay in the frigid , the longer they had for their sales pitch.

"How many laps for one million?" joked one of the organisers, Jason Brower, as a particularly tenacious entrepreneur lingered in the water for minutes.

Pitching events have become so frequent in the world of business finance that many feel it is important to do something special to get investor attention.

One example is the Elevator World Tour, which rotates among major cities and gives startups an opportunity to speed-pitch their ideas while sharing a lift with wealthy investors.

Holding Friday's event in Oulu, home to 190,000 people, had particular significance, as it has been hard hit by the difficulties of one of its biggest employers, Nokia.

However, the city has a vibrant start-up scene totalling about 400 companies, many of them founded by former Nokia employees.

Normally, Finnish winter swimmers last only for seconds before getting out, but four members of wellness technology company Laturi managed to extend their time thanks to five weeks of practice.

"The first time in the water was very chaotic. We shouted, roared, swore and lasted only for five seconds," the company's chief operating officer Niina Palmu said.

Now they can hold out for up to four minutes.

Palmu called the company's software engineer "a robot" because of his ability to endure the cold.

"When he concentrates on a task or swimming, he does it without showing any emotions. He just goes into the water, stays there as long as he likes and gets back up," Palmu said.

Explore further: After Nokia, a mobile games boom in Finland

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

After Nokia, a mobile games boom in Finland

Nov 14, 2013

From mobile phones to mobile games. Finland has found there's life after Nokia in a bustling startup scene that's produced hugely popular game apps from "Angry Birds" to "Clash of Clans."

How best to go about getting seed money through crowdfunding

Jan 02, 2014

Early on in our careers, many of us were tutored as to how to best write an effective and attention-getting curriculum vitae (CV) in looking for a job. But in today's world, many are looking not for just a job, but are engaged ...

Nokia to pay outgoing CEO Elop $25 million

Sep 19, 2013

Nokia Corp. says it will pay outgoing CEO Stephen Elop a compensation package of some $25 million (19 million euros) when he leaves the company to move over to Microsoft.

Microsoft to take over Nokia HQ in 2014 after deal

Nov 21, 2013

Nokia says its headquarters near the Finnish capital will be taken over by Microsoft on completion of the sale of its cellphone and services division to the U.S. software company, expected in early 2014.

Ex-Nokia engineers launch new smartphone (Update)

Nov 27, 2013

Engineers who used to work for Nokia are hoping to grab a share of the lucrative and highly competitive smartphone market with a new handset, which is based on the former world No. 1 cellphone maker's old ...

Recommended for you

Ahead of Emmys, Netflix already winning online

11 hours ago

Even if it doesn't take home any of the major trophies at Monday's Emmy Awards, Netflix will have already proven itself the top winner in one regard: Internet programming.

Oregon sues Oracle over failed health care website

21 hours ago

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum says she's filed a lawsuit against Oracle Corp. and several of its executives over the technology company's role in the state's troubled health insurance exchange.

Google buys product design firm Gecko

22 hours ago

Google on Friday confirmed that it bought Gecko Design to bolster its lab devoted to technology-advancing projects such as self-driving cars and Internet-linked Glass eyewear.

Ticketfly buying WillCall for on-premise data

Aug 21, 2014

Ticketfly Inc., a San Francisco-based technology company among several posing a challenge to Ticketmaster, is acquiring WillCall Inc., a crosstown rival that turns your smartphone into a mobile wallet at live events.

HP revenue inches up after years of decline

Aug 20, 2014

Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday reported that its quarterly revenue rose for the first time in three years, nudged by improved computer sales everywhere except Russia and China.

User comments : 0