”Together, We've Shown What's Possible”—Deep Tech, AI, Sustainability Incubator NEXUS Concludes 2nd Batch

The second cohort of the Deep Tech, AI & Sustainability incubator wrapped up with an exceptional demo day on 29 February. During the event, eighteen teams showcased their pitches to an audience exceeding 100 participants from both Finland and abroad.

In a culmination of innovation and collaboration, the NEXUS Demo Day event celebrated its finale, marking a significant milestone for aspiring entrepreneurs in the fields of Deep Tech, AI, and Sustainability. Held at the Nokia Training Center in Kirkkonummi, the evening commenced with a heartfelt address from Nexus management team members, Andres Archila and Alfonso Gutierrez, setting a tone of celebration and reflection.  

"Mentors play a crucial role in shaping our journey. Their guidance is invaluable, and I encourage all participants to continue seeking their wisdom," remarked Archila, encapsulating the spirit of support and growth that defined the event. 

As the audience settled in, the PM of NEXUS took the stage to offer insights into the unique entrepreneurial landscape cultivated within the University of Helsinki incubator programme. "NEXUS offers a unique twist on entrepreneurship, fostering diverse skills and a global perspective," he shared, setting the stage for an evening of reflection on achievement and team collaboration. 

With the conclusion of two cohorts spanning six months each, Archila highlighted the collective accomplishments and the transformative power of mentorship. "Tonight, we celebrate not just individual achievements, but the power of collaboration. Together, we've shown what's possible," he declared, igniting a sense of pride among participants. 

”With Digital Innovation, We Have the Potential to Drive Systemic Change”

The event was proudly sponsored by Nokia, a clear demonstration of their dedication to fostering innovation and sustainability within the entrepreneurial sphere. Soma Sarkar, Head of Edge Cloud Platforms at Nokia Mobile Networks and NEXUS Mentor, delivered an enlightening address, spotlighting the transformative potential of digital technologies in shaping a more sustainable, productive, and accessible world.  

Sarkar emphasized, "With digital innovation, we have the potential to drive systemic change, offering inclusive access, digital skills, and sustainable growth while minimizing the industry's footprint." Joined by fellow NEXUS mentor, Veli-Pekka Luoma, Innovation and Partner Ecosystem Lead at Nokia, the duo deepened the discussion, stressing the critical role of collaboration and innovation in tackling global challenges. Together, they inspired participants to leverage technology for positive change, echoing Nokia's commitment to driving meaningful progress. 

What else did our mentors have to say about the event and the journey of their mentored teams? Sergio Rodrigues, co-founder at Arca, offered valuable insights into the transformative journey of the participating teams. With a rich background in venture investments and startup strategy, Rodrigues underscored the University of Helsinki's deepening commitment to entrepreneurship. "I think that the most interesting part is that the University of Helsinki is going deeper into entrepreneurship, and that's great! It's chosen a different way and a new alternative for students and alumni which is creating a company," he remarked. 

As the evening progressed, Rodrigues expressed pride in the progress of his mentored team, highlighting the importance of showcasing the journey and tangible achievements. "Today is just about showing the progress, not actually selling something, but being able to put in words what they have been achieving during these months," the NEXUS mentor explained. 

“Nexus Gave Us Direction, Allowed Us to Discover Things that We Weren't Even Thinking About Doing"

During the event, the Three Mushketeers team—comprised of University of Helsinki alumni and doctoral researchers Emma Kynkäänniemi, Emmi Korjus, and Ida Nikkilä—proudly presented their innovative venture: remush tech, aimed at transforming mushroom waste into multifunctional powder. Reflecting on their journey, the team expressed pride in their growth within the programme. "We're proud of how we've evolved. It takes courage to stand by our work, thanks to our mentors," they remarked. 

Furthermore, the team took the chance to advance the testing of their product at the event, which shows potential for various applications including vegan meat. Looking ahead, they shared their plans post-NEXUS: "Moving forward, we're currently finalizing our second pilot. Our next vital step is to forge partnerships with industrial partners for further product testing and development. Ultimately, our aim is to secure our first customer," they outlined, emphasizing their aspiration to move from ideation to practical implementation. 

Another NEXUS team, KLiin, composed of Luis Alejandro Mantilla, Kenneth Medina, and Devontay Cross, showcased their venture focused on revolutionizing laundry services. Currently offering pick-up and delivery laundry and dry-cleaning services through their platform, with an app in development, KLiin aims to redefine the laundry experience. Mantilla shared his excitement about the program, stating, "The programme has done wonders for us. It gave us direction, allowed us to discover things that we weren't even thinking about doing." He emphasized the programme's impact on their networking skills and pitching style, acknowledging the pressure of presenting their company accurately but also discovering the excitement and adrenaline that came with it, thanks to NEXUS and their mentors. 

Reflecting on their relationship with their mentors, Luis expressed gratitude for their invaluable support. "My relationship with mentors has been fantastic in every way. The two mentors that we have, Kim and Lasse, have helped us in every way, from the small things like buying us lunch to actually coming on board as board members and helping us grow after the programme," he noted. Looking ahead, the team outlined their next steps, highlighting their evolution from a simple laundry service to incorporating sustainability and AI into their business model. "When we started Nexus, we were just a simple pickup and delivery laundry service. But now we're incorporating sustainability, AI, and global expansion into our direction," Luis explained, illustrating their readiness to scale their venture globally.  

Third Round of Applications Open for NEXUS

As we celebrate the achievements of our remarkable teams from the second batch of NEXUS, we're excited to extend an invitation to aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators to join us for our third edition. With two successful cohorts and 38 funded teams securing nearly 6 million euros in funding, NEXUS continues to be a beacon of opportunity and growth in the entrepreneurial landscape. 

With our University of Helsinki-affiliated programme focused on Deep Tech, AI, and sustainability, we're committed to nurturing the next generation of groundbreaking ventures. In six transformative months, our goal is to equip you with the tools and support needed to turn your vision into reality. From setting up your company to launching your product or service and securing funding, our mentor-driven program offers guidance from seasoned mentors and international industry experts

If you're passionate about Deep Tech, AI, and sustainability, seize this opportunity to join a vibrant community of entrepreneurs, researchers, and innovators shaping the future. Apply now for the chance to be a part of NEXUS and embark on a journey of innovation, growth, and success. The programme is free of charge and will run from 6 May to 11 November 2024, with a break over the summer. The application deadline is 14 April 2024, at 23:59, check out more info about the programme below!  

For More Information, Contact

Andrés Archila, NEXUS Incubator - Project Manager  

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

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

Email: alfonso.gutierrez@helsinki.fi 
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.