“NEXUS really motivates you to do things, learn, & grow” NEXUS incubator returns for 3rd round with 17 teams

It was with a familiar blueprint of meetings, pitches, and networking led by programme manager Andres Archila that NEXUS, the University of Helsinki’s incubator for ideas in deep tech, AI, and sustainability, kicked off its third batch. But make no mistake, while the structure of the event was, by now, a well-rehearsed endeavour for some, the people that took part in it were far from ordinary.

Gathered together was the third cohort of NEXUS – an inspiring group of primarily people-focused founders working with AI and deep tech enabled solutions health & wellbeing, quality of life, sustainable new materials, and more – as well as the programme’s impressive pool of mentors, all keen to take elevate these 17 ventures to the next level.

Eager teams ready to start working

“NEXUS is an opportunity for us to take our idea forward,” said Omkaranathan Ravindran who, along with his cofounder Ashish Shete, is working on GreenTrails, a VR-based solution initially geared towards making indoor exercise more interesting in winter by immersing users into nature, with a later expansion into rehabilitation.

The pair, who work at the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Science in technical roles, are almost ready with their prototype, and eagerly looking forward to the opportunities that NEXUS can provide them: “We’re hoping that the programme can help us validate our solution, grow our networks, and eventually raise funds,” Ravindran explained, with Shete adding that feedback from clients would be key for the team to make sure that their solution addresses real market demand.

At the same time, Endrit Kola, MSc., who had previously taken part in the Compass pre-incubator, and his co-founder Omar Musse had similar high hopes for what they might achieve with their startup, WorkPulseAI , during the programme.

“When we met with our mentors, we got some great ideas, and now I’m really looking forward to the actual hands-on stuff,” said Musse, referring to the programme’s workshops and practical venture building work. Kola agreed, adding that a programme like NEXUS “really motivates you to do things, learn, and grow.” Together, the pair hoped that by the end of the programme, their idea would have matured into an MVP with at least one round of market validation with potential clients done, giving them all they’d need to continue growth with the market.

Enthusiastic mentors happy to be back

For the programme’s mentors, the kick-off was an exciting opportunity to get excited by the fresh crop of ideas present.

“These events are always great,” explained Anja Leissner, a seasoned serial entrepreneur and returning NEXUS mentor. “The teams and solutions are different every time, and the insights and learnings that both teams and mentors are going to get are always different as well.”

The energetic Swede continued, saying that in addition to getting to know the variety of ideas present, what was fun for her with NEXUS – which she noted has kept improving batch after batch – is helping both those teams that are active in a field in which she has domain-specific expertise overcome specific hurdles, as well as giving broader assistance to teams whose ideas’ subjects fall outside of her wheelhouse.

Another returning mentor, Gabriele Garavini, PhD of Scania Ventures, was equally enthused by the start of another NEXUS cohort of “good quality teams,” saying that he was happy to be involved with what he called a great opportunity provided by University of Helsinki to students, researchers, and other would-be entrepreneurs to develop their entrepreneurial skillsets and mindsets.

“Very often with people with an academic background,” Garavini explained, “the challenge is that they’ve got the technical part well covered, but the business part needs work. NEXUS, with its high calibre of mentors and experts can help these teams find the right competences and be more pragmatic”

Get to know the teams

With the kick-off activities over and out of the way, NEXUS is already in full swing, with teams having already taken part in the first workshops of the programme. We'll be sure to check back with the teams prior to the programme's final demo day in November, but in the meanwhile, why not get to know the teams at this link?

More information

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.

For more information about NEXUS, please contact programme manager Andres Archila

Email: andres.archila@helsinki.fi Mobile: +358 50 521 5286