Tuesday October 4th Aaltoes hosted its first official fireside chat. In host Aape Pohjavirta’s words, fireside chats are a place where “old grandpas and uncles tell their war stories”. This first talk was with Petteri Koponen and Wili Miettinen, two guys who’ve been an incredible support to Aaltoes and active Aalto Venture Garage coaches, in addition to being successful and experienced entrepreneurs.
Ps. More of Wili & Petteri at Slush11!
The first fireside chat didn’t disappoint. The audience was treated to interesting stories, some rather personal revelations, good advice and news on what’s in store for their current companies.
Wili’s a serial entrepreneur, who sold his company Hybrid Graphics to Nvidia and is currently founder and CEO of Microtask. His last week included a two-day offsite meeting with his team in Hämeenlinna, a board meeting with investors and attending MindTrek, where Microtask was awarded the press jury prize. He’s a busy man as he’s also on the board of Transfluent and currently working on moving Microtask to Silicon Valley.
In addition to other stories, Wili told about the problem that inspired Microtask. The original idea for “digital slavery” (Aape’s words) i.e. building a crowdsourcing service came in 2007 when he was looking for startup ideas after leaving Nvidia. As an avid photographer he had tens of thousands of pictures on many different hard drives and was frustrated that he could easily access them. He thought about how much he would love to outsource tagging his photos and realized that the elements of the service were already possible.
Petteri is currently an investor in Lifeline Ventures, a fund that invests in B2C health, web and gaming companies. He is probably best known for selling his company Jaiku to Google in 2007 in one of the most famous Finnish exits.
Petteri revealed that becoming an investor was a lifestyle decision. “I usually get bored pretty quickly and I don’t want my laziness to be a bottleneck for a company,” but later said that as a young entrepreneurs he “worked really hard, sometimes went 2 nights in a row without sleep”.
In just the last week, he had spent some time in the Valley with Lifeline’s newest company (a HTML5 cross browser game), met with angels and worked on getting capital for their fund. He showed that he’s still got the bootstrapping mentality by revealing he never flies business class with company money and that doesn’t even sleep in a hotel if he can help it.
In the near future, Petteri’s looking forward to doing some experiments with Lifeline – to see how incubation works and try out the hacker in residence model.
Watch the video above to find out why the original business plan for Microtask was written on a ship to Antarctica, where the hottest startup hubs are and what it feels like to sell your company to Google.
Written by Krista