Conversation with Juha Ruohonen - Head Coach at Aalto Venture Garage

    Conversation with Juha Ruohonen, head coach at Aalto Venture Garage, and Ville Simola, head of Startup Sauna Intensive.

    1. In what areas to create projects?
    2. The main problem of stratpers.
    3. Reflections on which areas will be popular in the future.
    4. What personal qualities should an it-entrepreneur have?


    Michael: Juha, what problems do startups have to deal with?
    Juha:There are two problems. The first is that they do not solve the problems of real life. This is the most common mistake. Typically, a startup starts with something that they can do. Whatever it is. And their development is based on the skills of a solution developer. And they put it on the market. No market, no need, no problem. And they can’t get paid for it. And if you do it very, very slowly, then you will get a lot of hits, because what you market does not need anyone. This is the first. The second is that the startup does not understand the market. They do not know what competition is, they do not know what is better or worse for competition, and they do not know what potential consumers and partners are on the market. Because in the market, especially if you look at the global scale, it is very difficult to determine - this is a competitor, this is a customer, this is a partner. In real life, they are all mixed up. These are two things you usually need to know to enter the market. And we exist to help them.
    Michael: Are you trying to solve these problems?
    Juha: Yes.

    The most promising areas

    Michael: In what areas does it now make sense to create projects, which areas are most actively growing?
    Juha:Social media, of course. So many social media startups. Active area. It is very difficult to do this from places like Finland or Russia. In fact, it’s easier from Russia, because all social media needs users. And if you start with a small market in Finland or any other small country, you simply will not recruit users. And despite the idea. Because, usually this is an idea created in Silicon Valley already two years ago. So what you see - you see a lot of Groupon clones, Facebook clones, Twitter clones. Local clones in this particular market are normal, but they have no potential outside the market. Take a look at the Vkontakte website. He has no potential outside of Russia. No, nowhere. Because he's exactly like Facebook. And so on and so forth.

    Personal qualities of a startup

    Michael: And what personal qualities, in your opinion, should a person have who creates projects in the IT field?
    Juha:Passion is one of the most important qualities. Passion and the ability to accept failures and learn. This is not a skill game. If you are a more talented programmer, or someone else. Only your passion for business is important, you accept failures and take advice into account. Because many entrepreneurs are very stubborn. They think they know what to do. I try to give them advice. No no. I know how to do it. And that's bad. You must be at the same time, as it were, confidently arrogant. The American word is “bully,” if you know what it means. This means that you must be open, like Americans, and on the other hand, you must be simple, listen to advice, learn from other people's mistakes. I think this is the most important characteristic.


    Michael: What are the usual criteria for investment funds when choosing a project?
    Juha: It's very simple. It is said that venture capitalists invest in three things - team, team and team.
    Michael: Team?
    Juha: These are people.
    Michael: And technical knowledge?
    Juha:No, these are people with their experience, I mean, US VCs. What are they doing? They always have a matrix of the areas in which they invest, and an understanding of the maturity of these markets. In some cases, even if they take a group of good guys and tell them: “Here you have a million dollars. Create a new solution in 6 months. ” The guys will not know how to apply this money to begin execution. This shows that people are the most important part. Therefore, I would say that these are people. Of course, the market idea should be the starting criterion, but in the end it all depends on the people.


    Michael: In your opinion, what areas will be popular in the future, for example, in 3-4 years? What will grow, develop?
    Juha:Well, these are very dangerous answers, but I think in the IT field everything will go to the mobile area, which means it will all be stored in the clouds. Therefore, I think everything related to the clouds and mobile services. This space is very, very interesting. And, of course, information security is important today, because if you start storing information in the cloud, then it can be hacked, and you understand. Outside the IT industry, we need more solutions in the areas of waste reuse. There is still a lot to do. For example, battery technology. The bulk of electric cars use batteries on which they can drive, say, 100 kilometers. Who needs a car that can travel 100 km? And then, you just leave her on the street. So, what is next?

    In general, nothing new: passion, team, social media. Only batteries are unusual;)

    Here is the squeeze, here is the full version and video
    After iCamp on November 11, we hope there will be records with the bison of IT business: Lyskovsky (Alawar), Klimenko (Liveinternet), Galitsky (RunaCapital), Anton Nosik and Mikhail Tsigankov and others. (who will succeed).
    Video about iCamp here .

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