Apply To Startups Of The Month

acc of the month by vestbee
16 March 2022·5 min read

Dorota Potępa

Community Builder, Vestbee

Startup Accelerator Of The Month - Kiuas Accelerator

Kiuas Accelerator is a renowned 10-week acceleration program run twice a year. Although Kiuas is based in Finland, it operates virtually and accepts global teams that aim to change the world for the better. Kiuas Accelerator has a strong focus on helping founders build towards product-market fit, through facilitating one on one mentoring with industry experts. Their approx. 270 alumni companies have raised over 180M in funding within the course of the last 5 years. 

Accelerator Strategy Overview 


Geography: International
Preferred industries: Kiuas helps companies in all industries, however, they have a special interest in companies that work on changing the world for the better.
Company stage: Idea - Seed
Product stage:  Prototype/MVP
Product type: Anything that scales
Revenues: Pre and post-revenue


Duration: 10 weeks
Participation fee:  No
Equity: 1%
Grant: No
No of batches per year: 2, (November-January and July-August)
No of startups in a cohort: from 15 to 20

Q&A with Nea Harjanne, CEO at Kiuas Accelerator

What are the 5 most important things you look for in a startup applying to your program?

While assessing startups we focus on the five following aspects:

  • Problem. Does solving this problem create a better world? Is this a relevant problem to be solved? How often do people experience this problem and how painful is the problem to the target audience?
  • Team. Does the founding team have the needed skills to build the product far enough to reach early validation? Do they have industry expertise that gives them the competence to solve the problem they are working on? Is the team committed full time?
  • Product. Does it scale? How well does it solve the problem?
  • Market size. Is this problem painful enough problem for a large enough market?
  • Stage.  Is Kiuas able to support the startup considering its current stage? 
    We focus heavily on product-market fit, which is why we are not the best fit for you if your startup is in the middle of product development you expect to last for years before entering the market.

What startups should take into account before applying to your acceleration program?

Before applying to Kiuas startups should have affirmative responses to the following questions: Do you currently have the resources to dedicate to the program? Are you working full-time for your startup? Are you in a stage where product-market fit and growth are relevant to you?

Can you share some of the red flags that can disqualify a startup from joining your accelerator?

The most important red flag for us is when the startup is focusing on its operations without taking into account the environmental and societal aspects of the business. Also, it is crucial for us to cooperate with teams strongly committed to their business development. Other than that we are very flexible as long as behind the company stays it's a good mission and great people.

What are the most valuable skills that selected startups can develop thanks to your program?

Our sights are strongly set on helping startups develop a process to work towards product-market-fit. We are sharing expertise on how to launch solutions quickly and efficiently, how to communicate with customers, test the results, analyze them and iterate based on data. 

How does your accelerator support portfolio companies during and after the program?

Through our acceleration program, we provide startups with loads of one-on-one mentoring from industry experts, host weekly office hours to track their progress as well as bring on a variety of successful founders to share their stories with our batch. 

After the program, the companies become a part of the Kiuas community of 450 founders that communicate through slack and have the opportunity to meet and network during various startup events. 

What are the best-performing companies in your portfolio? 

Some of our most known alumni are Swappie - offering environmentally friendly and affordable ways to sell, upgrade or refurbish smartphones online, Venuu - matching its users with the best event services, and Gubbe - platform connecting students to seniors who need help with housework, staying active, transportation, technology lessons and more.

What key lessons have you learned from projects that didn’t work out the way you expected?

First of all, just simply don’t reinvent the wheel. Whatever you are trying to solve, there is always someone else that has struggled with the same problem before you. Be open about your problems and you’ll be surprised how willing people are to share their experience and help.

Why, in your opinion, accelerators are becoming more popular nowadays?

While the amount of articles and info available on the internet is endless and there is more funding available than ever before, I think accelerators are becoming more and more relevant as a reliable help in business development. Nothing beats the peer-to-peer support of a batch and learning the best practices of the generation of entrepreneurs that came before you. I’d say the keywords here are community and accelerated learning. 

What are the hottest markets you currently look at as an accelerator and where do you see the biggest hype?

We are always on the lookout for revolutionary climate tech, health tech and food tech solutions. The biggest hype and a trend we see in our circles is definitely in Web3 and crypto.

Do you have any predictions about the key trends that will shape the European accelerator scene in the near future?

I hope to se a trend of more founder-focused accelerators. Accelerators should focus on how they can maximize the learning of the founders during the programs to make sure that even if their current venture fails they are 100x smarter for the next round with a new idea. Also, an interesting trend I see is the rise of accelerators that are not operated by a fund. 

Related Posts: 

Startup Accelerator Of The Month -  Wayra Germany (by Dorota Potępa, Community Builder, Vestbee)

Startup Accelerator Of The Month - Grow F (by Magdalena Balcerzak, Manager, Vestbee)

Scaleup Accelerator Of The Month -  Design Terminal (by Magdalena Balcerzak, Manager, Vestbee)


Subscribe to our newsletter
Join Vestbee
Join the leading matchmaking platform for startups, VC funds, angels, accelerators and corporates
Join Now