In case you haven't met him yet, Jarno Laine is a Co-founding Rocket Scientist who has an intriguing dislike for computers. This entrepreneur serves as a Software Developer and an esteemed mentor at Helsinki Incubators.
“Hello,” Laine began, and went on to describe himself: “I’m a creative mind trapped in an engineer’s body. I enjoy making funny and entertaining things that are a bit different. Even though my job involves a lot of technical stuff, I get along well with different kinds of people. However, I often feel restricted by the technical side of my work. Still, I’m trying hard to break free and follow what I’m passionate about.”
Laine shared his journey into the business world: “At first, I was studying electronics and acoustics, then I got an opportunity to join a startup in the early 2000s, even though I didn’t have all the skills they needed. Since then, I’ve been part of different startups, some successful and some not.”
Reflecting on his professional journey as the Co-founder of Rakettitiede Oy he shared: “Over the last 12 years, our company’s career path hasn't followed the traditional upward trajectory. Instead, we engage directly with clients, ranging from small startups with just one person to large corporations with thousands of employees.” He continued: “Essentially, I turn a conceptual idea into a functional product. I'm there to assist and guide in building these services, especially for clients who have a vision but lack the technical know-how.”
When we asked the Helsinki Incubators mentor about his skill development over the years, he reflected: “Around 5 to 10 years ago, I realized something quite intriguing – I haven’t learned anything new in a really long time. It's not for a lack of new techniques or modern advancements; new languages, platforms, or libraries seem to emerge every couple of years. While the tools might change, the actual work remains very much the same as it was 20 years ago. There aren't many groundbreaking shifts unless one transitions into a more specialised role like an architect."
Laine further expressed his perspective: "I've found that I'm more inclined towards designing and ideation rather than delving into the intricacies of coding. Although I enjoy the creative aspect of envisioning a project, I'm not particularly fond of the technical details involved in programming. The goal, for me, is to take an idea and make it happen using tools, including computers, to materialise the vision."
In Laine’s view, being a mentor at Helsinki Incubators involves a different feeling compared to his ‘regular’ working days. "The gratitude and happiness of the people I mentor at Helsinki Incubators truly resonate with me. It's a driving force, reminding me of the core purpose and significance of what I do. My happiness stems from making others happy first."
Regarding the focus on social impact within the University of Helsinki’s TREMOR social impact incubator programme, Laine expressed his appreciation:
"What strikes me here is the heartwarming dedication to ideas that aim to assist people facing challenges, especially those who might be isolated or need help. The commitment to making a difference, despite the difficulties in implementation, is quite admirable. I've had the opportunity to listen to various impactful ideas, some of which involve mental health aspects. The teams genuinely care, and the focus remains on assisting social spheres who might otherwise be overlooked."
In the Helsinki Incubators community, Laine finds joy in seeing people happy and satisfied with his guidance. “When I help others, I see their happy faces and their gratitude is what matters most to me. It feels good to be able to help,” Laine mentioned.
Looking back at his journey, the mentor reflected on his experience of creating a floating cinema voyage from Helsinki to Tallinn to spend the day with his team, and he shared a piece of advice for those navigating the entrepreneurial world. “I always recall the floating cinema video I made with my team, where people often dismiss an idea as 'crazy' at the start. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be pursued. In the beginning, doubts tend to creep in, questioning if it's a good idea or if the world needs it. My belief is, yes, the world does need your ideas."
“Also, I've learned that it's better to have something rather than waiting for perfection.” On the topic of launching ideas, he expressed: "Especially for teams looking to fix societal issues, the advice is simple: The key is to get it out quickly and see how it works, rather than obsessing over perfection."
Laine discussed the emotional side of mentoring. "The most rewarding part of this programme is seeing people succeed. It's inspiring. Last week, witnessing the Helsinki Creators' success with their book presentation was moving. It's hard to explain why, but their accomplishment brought tears to my eyes. Not everyone affects me this way, but it's gratifying."
Laine spoke about his evolving understanding as a mentor, noting, “I’ve noticed some changes. I’m getting better at recognizing what people or teams really need.”
Reflecting on other mentors and his entrepreneurial journey, Laine shared: "Other mentors seem more focused on personal connections. They're involved in various companies, and they've experienced the highs and lows of entrepreneurship, like me. After 17 years, I can't imagine returning to a regular job. Maintaining freedom is crucial, and I feel comfortable doing what I do now."
Regarding starting a business, Laine pointed out: "Starting your own business is the hardest part, especially the first one. But once you overcome the initial hurdles, subsequent endeavours become easier. Younger people find it easier to start because they may not have the same financial concerns. However, it's intriguing to see what motivates them. I'm not sure if I could endure as much."
Expressing his experiences within the programme, he concluded: "I learn from the people I teach here. It's a reciprocal process—I give something and receive something in return. The people here at Helsinki Incubators are welcoming, and always cheerful. I start feeling happy as soon as I walk into our event space."
The University of Helsinki's entrepreneurship programmes, the Helsinki Incubators provides support and opportunities for bold thinkers in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area interested to take their ideas and turning them into impactful ventures. Interested in taking part in our pre-incubators and incubators? Subscribe to our newsletter for updates on when the next calls open.