Third Round of Applications Open for Deep Tech, AI, and Sustainability Incubator NEXUS — Apply by April 14!

Join NEXUS, our mentor-driven incubator programme tailored for ventures in Deep Tech, AI, and sustainability. With two successful cohorts and 38 funded teams securing nearly 6 million euros in funding, we're thrilled to announce the launch of our third call for applications.

Welcome to NEXUS, the innovative incubator programme where groundbreaking research meets entrepreneurial ambition. Designed for researchers, innovators, and aspiring entrepreneurs in the realms of AI, Deep Tech, and sustainability, NEXUS is more than just a programme — it's a catalyst for change, addressing sustainability challenges head-on.

In just six months, we aim to help you start your own company, introduce your product or service to the market, find funding, and plan your future according to your vision. Right from the start, you'll learn from experienced mentors and experts in the field, refining your idea until it's ready to meet real-world needs as either a basic version of your product (MVP)  or Proof of Concept (PoC).  

Your goal? To make the future more sustainable. Ours? To provide unwavering support as you navigate the path to success.

We invite all business ideas related to AI, Deep Tech, and sustainability to join us on this journey. Even if your concept doesn't squarely fit these categories but incorporates digital, tech, or sustainability aspects, we want to hear from you!

NEXUS is free of charge and open to the University of Helsinki's bachelor's and masters’ students, PhDs, postdocs, PIs, researchers, professors, staff, and other professionals in the Helsinki metropolitan area — no university connection required. We're looking for committed teams with great ideas!

 Know that you can earn study credits by participating in the programme.

Programme Essentials

Time Frame & Length: NEXUS runs from 6 May to 11 November 2024, with a break over the summer. The programme is divided into two parts: Part 1 spans from 6 May to 17 June, while Part 2 covers 12 August to 11 November.

Workshop Sessions: Expect engaging workshops once or twice a week, with 100% in-person attendance required at least for one of your team members. Mentor sessions are conducted online, and their timing is flexible and agreed upon separately with each mentor.

Programme Requirements: Teams must consist of at least two members, with at least one team member fully committed to attending workshops and completing assignments. Participation is mandatory, and active involvement is crucial for getting the full experience out of the programme. See the full list of requirements before applying here. 

Mentor sessions: Mentor sessions occur twice a month, lasting between 30 minutes to 1 hour each. All team members are expected to participate. Each team is paired with two expert mentors, supplemented by additional rotating mentors with specialised skills such as Marketing, Investments, Scaling, Technical, and Corporate expertise. Explore our NEXUS mentors' profiles to find out more about their skillsets.

Kindly complete the application form by answering the questions provided. We will carefully review all submissions, and teams meeting the criteria will be invited for a 30-minute video interview with our NEXUS team via MS Teams as the initial step. The application deadline is 14 April 2024, at 23:59.

Insights from NEXUS Mentors & Alumni

For those venturing into the fields of AI, Deep Tech, and sustainability, the NEXUS incubator programme offers a source of guidance and support. But what exactly is the experience like? Let's hear it from those who have walked the path — the mentors and alumni who have shaped and have been shaped by this vibrant community.

Mia Uitto, an experienced entrepreneur and NEXUS mentor, found herself drawn to NEXUS' focus on AI, Deep Tech, and sustainability. Beyond the thematic interest, the NEXUS mentor appreciates the diverse mentorship network, as she notes: "Many of the mentors are leaders in their fields, so I saw an opportunity not only to contribute but also to learn and grow as a leader myself."

For Uitto, NEXUS provides a supportive ecosystem where impact-driven entrepreneurs gain valuable insights. "If you are trying to build a business on your own," she reflects, "you easily end up going round and round over the same problems. The programmes at Helsinki Incubators are good for breaking out of the cycles and for learning new skills to fast-track your growth."

Indeed, mentorship is a recurring theme among NEXUS alumni. Take the story of Kwizie, a team with a vision to revolutionise the ed-tech landscape: "We've been very lucky to be assigned two fantastic mentors," CEO Chris Petrie says. “They have helped us gain a broader perspective on our possibilities, because we’ve been so deep in the weeds with what we’re working on. It really helps to have someone experienced look at your startup and bring different opportunities to light. It’s been massively, massively helpful."

Check out our news features with former NEXUS participants and read our interviews with mentors to learn more about the valuable knowledge and opportunities available to you.

Our NEXUS mentors represent corporates, CVCs and investors from Daimler, Nokia, Continental, Bosch, Telefonica Ventures, MasterCard, Honda Innovations, Weizmann Institute of Science IBM, ABB, Vaisala, Fortum, Neste, Wärtsila, Reaktor, University of Cambridge, TechStars, Accelerate Estonia, Nokia Ventures, Nordea, DIMECC, London Stock Exchange, Zynga, as well as serial entrepreneurs, board members and investors from Finland, Sweden, Spain and Israel.

Save the Date: NEXUS Info Sessions

Curious about NEXUS? Have some questions you'd like to ask before you apply? Want to hear more about the programme to find out if it's the right place for you?

Register for our upcoming info sessions to learn more about the NEXUS Incubator and how it can benefit your startup journey:

  1. Wednesday, 28 February, 15:00-17:00: Cheese 'n' Wine Innovation Talks: "AI & Data <3 Research & Business". Kumpula Campus, Exactum, room B123. Register here.
  2. Wednesday, 13 March, 14:30-16:30. Kumpula Campus, Exactum, room B121. Register here. 
  3. Tuesday, 9 April, 14:30-16:00. City Center Campus, Main Building, Studium 1 (F3020). Register here.

Can't make it to these sessions? No problem! Visit us during Andres' office hours every Tuesday from 9:30 to 11:30 at the Exactum second floor cafeteria.

For More Information, Contact

Andrés Archila, NEXUS Incubator - Project Manager 

Mobile: +358 50 521 5286                    

Alfonso Gutierrez, Senior Manager, Global Corporate Partnerships (in mentor and corporate matters)

Mobile: +358 50 432 1815

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 our open calls. 

Did You Know?

Our partner, Vaisala Xweather, offers free weather and environmental data through APIs for the programme's teams. Vaisala Xweather will also provide mentoring to 1-4 teams with a relevant business and/or product idea, and support selected relevant PoCs. More information about the data APIs is available here.