Nexus — Deep Tech, AI & Sustainability

For those striving for a Deep Tech & AI-enabled sustainable future, NEXUS is the place to grow crystallised solutions into fundable & scalable global startups. Personalised guidance & support, international networks, world-class mentors & experts—all to guarantee your success.

Applications for the 2nd batch are now closed. The programme will run from 21 August 2023 to 29 February 2024.

We understand that the skills needed to create innovative and valuable solutions to the world's sustainability problems may not directly correlate with the skills needed to create a successful born-global start-up and bring that solution to market. We also understand the inherent uncertainty of entrepreneurship. That's why NEXUS offers a convergence of solutions to these issues, including a comprehensive suite of personalised education and a dedicated, supportive environment to maximise your chances of success.

Based in Kumpula, Helsinki Incubators' NEXUS is a hybrid between an incubator & accelerator for researchers, innovators, and aspiring entrepreneurs in the field of AI & Deep Tech with answers to society's sustainability-related wicked problems. As part of the vibrant Helsinki Metropolitan Area startup community, we'll work to empower and embolden your team by providing you with all the tools, know-how, networks, and support needed to go from solution to incorporation and beyond.

The aim of our mentors and experts is not only to help you take the world by storm with your solution by developing it into a viable product or service, but also to help you develop your career by learning key skills that can be used on this journey and others. We'll also ensure that you have the opportunity to meet with a wide range of potential customers, partners and investors throughout the incubator to ensure that you get as much relevant feedback as possible and build strong networks to help you achieve your goals.

By the end of the six months, we hope you'll be ready to register your company, launch your product or service, seek funding and investment, and take the next steps that are most relevant to you and your solution, such as applying to an accelerator like Y Combinator or joining a startup hub like Maria01. NEXUS is proudly powered by the City of Helsinki.


The aim of NEXUS is to help you create a scalable and fundable start-up based on real innovation. We want your solution to have impact in its field, and we want to help you successfully enter international markets. This is where we stand out from other incubator programmes in Finland: our focus is international, and we make sure to get real market players involved from the get-go.

From day one, you'll be exposed to real insights from mentors and experts with years, or even decades of experience working in key industries. They'll analyse your idea and give you meaningful feedback to help you develop your solution into an MVP or PoC that meets what your potential customers really need.

Your goal is to create a more sustainable future for the world with your solution. Ours is to make sure that you get every bit of help to succeed.

Programme Schedule

NEXUS will be held from 21 August, 2023 to 29 March, 2024. The programme will be in English, and will consist of weekly workshop sessions primarily at the University of Helsinki's Kumpula campus, with a requirement of 100% participation on-site and in-person by all team members, as well as online mentoring sessions.

For the weekly sessions, you'll have the opportunity to get in-depth business training from visiting experts on a range of topics. Have a look at the preliminary schedule linked below.

    For the mentor sessions, each team will be assigned 1-2 mentors which will be with the team for the 6-month journey. Teams will arrange online mentoring sessions twice a month for 30-60 minutes per session. All team members are expected to participate in these sessions. You can get acquainted with the NEXUS mentors below.

    Deliverables & checkpoints:

    • Weeks 1-6, Validation & Product Market Fit Discovery:  Website (landing page), logo, investigative interviews. In addition, each team will give a 3 minute pitch to a panel of Business Angels & VC investors, Mentors (online and onsite). All ventures teams will be practicing their pitch from day one. 
    • Week 13-18, Incorporation (preferably first business ID's created within the cohort), first sales (pilot customer): Presenting evidence of market validation or pilots with customers. Various checkpoints with Mentors.
    • Week 22 onwards: Incorporation stage 2 and final review: The Nexus incubator will conclude with a Demo Day (pitching competition) by venture teams pre-selected by a jury. 

    Applications for the 2023-2024 programme are now closed! If you're interested in participating in the next batch, however, you can send us an open application using the link at the end of this section. To properly understand what we expect from applicants, please read the instructions below for information about the application process.

    Nexus participation is open to bachelors and masters’ students, PhDs, post docs, PIs and researchers, professors, and faculty at the University of Helsinki. However, you don't need a connection to the University of Helsinki to apply, and applications are open to all residents of the Helsinki Capital Region. We simply look for excellent teams, strong commitment, and dedication with great business or tech-related ideas.

    The call is open to all business and technology-related ideas, services, solutions, and products related to the following subjects: AI (Cross-sectoral), Deep Tech (Chemistry, Computer Science, Physics, Geosciences & Geography, Mathematics & Statistics, and Climate-related), and Sustainability. 

    Your team must consist of minimum two (2) persons. Venture teams will fully participate in all workshop sessions and assignments given. On-site participation is compulsory, and all team members must demonstrate a full commitment to the programme and actively participate on the sessions.

    When submitting your application, you are required to submit the following:

    • A max three-minute video explaining: What problem are you solving? How do you differentiate yourself from competitors? Why should your team be chosen for NEXUS?
    • A business model canvas made using this template.
    • A pitch deck or presentation of your venture team made using this template.

    Though it is generally not advised at this early a stage in the entrepreneurial journey, teams may have apply with a registered company. However, we will not accept teams with significant existing turnover.

    Doctoral Researcher

    Participating in a incubator programme can be included in your transferable skills studies under the course code PHD-313 for a total of 8 ECTS. Please request a certificate of attendance upon completion of the pre-incubator programme, and contact for credits registration.

    Contact Us

    Andrès Peña Archila, Project Lead for NEXUS

    +358 29 41 21201

    Andres on LinkedIn