From cold Helsinki, straight from Slush, Aaltoes stormed into SF and the Valley with a big crew – 42 of us here with BoostTurku and Hankenes. Jetlagged and bootstrapping at super8 (besides the Hankenes guys, who had some of us in their party mansion in SF Castro for a few nights), here we are, all hyped up.
On Sunday evening we enjoyed a great dinner with the Aalto faculty, orchestrated by Will Cardwell and Linda Liukas. There was a lot of mingling despite the jetlag of many, and the excitement to see each other here in the “Mecca” was tangible for us.
We began Monday jogging around the Stanford Dish. (Ok, some of us were lazy and walked.) The views were fabulous, no wonder Steve Jobs got inspired by the scenery and Zuckerberg holds his exec interviews there. It’s kind of overwhelming to see the HQs of major companies while standing on hill watching squirrels and deer families doing their thing.
In fact, the first startup we visited makes technology that aims to rescue the world. They want us to abandon oil by 2020. We visited Better Place, a startup that is building an entire ecosystem around electric vehicles and so accelerating the transition to EV’s. In the OECD countries, half of oil demand is for vehicle fueling; we’re still very heavily dependent on fossil fuels.
Fueling vehicles is still the most profitable industry today, with a $2 Trillion market per year. Our host explained their strategy to an audience of eager listeners: gas price shooting up, battery costs sinking. Any questions?
Better Place has launched internally already, launching commercially next year in Denmark, Israel and Australia. Denmark is a major transport “island” and Australia is the size of the US -they are serious about reaching their aggressive goals.
After driving around Palo Alto and some of us getting thrown out from Google (wanting to visit their shop but going for a too guerilla approach), we visited the Hacker Dojo, a co working space filled with founders in the making. The community has 300 members who can freely arrange events at the place. Tonight they are hosting a workshop on human relationships, like how to flirt and stuff. We think the guys from room 220 could take a look into that workshop now that they have their convertible mustang to ride…
Some of the luckier of us got to meet Krista’s classmate from ME310 Stanford course, Kent Frankovich, founder of Revolight. This light system is utterly cool and will save lives. It’s something you’ll want if you ever bike in the dark! Revolight is still at a very early stage, their office and workshop is in a living room, but they’ve already been featured on CNBC, BBC, Wired and other media. They got a lot of feedback and “orders” on Kickstarter, so now besides the bike expo in SV this weekend and displaying at the Wired store in NYC next week, they have 900 orders to fill… Rock on Kent&team!!
Then on to the Startup Grind Meetup hosting seed stage investor Jeff Clavier Managing Partner of SoftTech VC. We were pretty tired by then, but when Clavier said that “selling apps sucks as a business model, unless you’re Angry Birds”, all faces lit up in smiles as we we looked around at each other.
Mingling afterwards, we heard from the German guys from PionierGarage at Karlsruhe University that our beloved Garage was one of their inspirations. It seems like people in Central Europe are convinced that Helsinki is happening. What music to a Helsinkispringer’s ears!
At last, quick one in downtown Palo Alto with Richard from BASES the Stanford equivalent of Aaltoes, then off to sleep.. Waking up early tomorrow to a damn long day.
Excited, tired, sure that this was just a peek at what the Valley has to offer. Every moment here is pure awesomeness. And this is just Monday.
Light out, peace and love from the silly valley
Writter by Henrietta (@PHenriettaK) and Heini (@Heinider)