It would have eventually led to Clubhouse, right? In our run-up to the 90 Day Finns arriving in Helsinki, we hopped in the trendy new app that has suddenly made teleconferences fun for the first time. We ended up finding a great conversation– and one of the best places for entrepreneurs from around the world to chat with Helsinki’s tech and culture scene.
Helping us lead the conversation were Jyri Engeström and Caterina Fake, founders of Yes.VC, a leading seed and pre-seed fund. It was the first time we met a few of the participants in public, and we dug into why they decided to apply to the 90 Day Finn program and what they were looking to accomplish with three months in Helsinki.
The nice thing about getting on Clubhouse was that the conversation was able to naturally drift as the 90 day Finns, our hosts, and the listeners in the chat brought in their comments, questions, and experiences.
As an American that has spent time in Finland, Caterina told the ‘Finns that despite how many people blur together all the Nordic countries, you’ll learn after traveling here that Finnish people have their own strong identity and culture. This likely stems from Finland’s unique language, but on top of their business goals she invited the 90 Day Finns to explore the mythology, connection to nature, and design sense that she has found so interesting.
Marko Ahtisaari, ex-Nokia design chief and now head of Helsinki Festival, also hopped on the mic. As our ‘Finns will be newly minted Helsinki residents, he invited the Finns to take part in Helsinki Fest, taking place between August 19 and September 5th. He described the event as a city-wide festival for the people of Helsinki with block concerts, art, design events, and more.
Together we discussed how it’s possible we might have kicked something off that’s bigger than just this one program. Other cities have reached out to say they’re considering a similar concept. One thing’s for certain: The world is getting flatter and cities are starting to really compete for talent. Many of the 90 day Finns have children – will this kick off a new generation of kids who call multiple places home? Or are we already living in that world?
Additionally there was some griping about visa issues. The world feels much smaller today, but there are still barriers to moving and staying in one place for an extended period of time. Helsinki Business Hub’s mission is to increase the talent pool and investments in the Helsinki region, and it’s our hope the 90 Day Finn will provide a face for legislation that makes it easier for professional talent to come to Finland.
In our free-form discussion we also chatted Finnish Clubhouse. Finns congregate on Sauna Club, and its founder Lilly hopped on the mic to invite the 90 day Finns and any of the 160+ in the audience to join in their regular discussions.
We had a great time on Clubhouse and we’ll likely be back. But in the meantime, take Lily’s advice, to search out for Sauna Club and build your own connections in Helsinki!
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