Adventure in Amsterdam

This all began just few months ago. And now we were already going to the prize trip for winning the 4UNI-competition. For us in Knoppi, Amsterdam was a real opportunity to create a network, improve the product and marketing strategy and even get some funding. So on that Wednesday, the first day of our awesome trip, the general mood was cheerful and ambitious. You could feel right from the beginning at the airport of Helsinki-Vantaa that this trip would offer something different. And knowing that our friends from Helsinki Think Company would join the group, our expectations were flying high.

Helsinki Think Company had reserved us a fabulous hotel that was located right in the middle of Amsterdam. After checking in the hotel we found a beautiful little restaurant called Seasons. Walking back after dinner, everyone of us was amazed by the beautiful canals and funny details of Amsterdam. (And by the way, they sell some weird stuff in the stores. Maybe the market here is a bit twisted?) The city seems to be “a few steps ahead” of Helsinki. For example, the city was really filled with bikers. In Helsinki, our bike society is just developing. Hopefully we will find a way to conquer the streets like in Amsterdam!

We jumped into action on Thursday morning. Our focus that day was to pitch smoothly in English and to make some decisions that we had postponed due to the busy schedule back in Finland. “The pitch” is something you have to keep ready in your back pocket. In the autumn at Slush we used every opportunity to pitch, from toilet queues to actual presentations on stage. So we felt prepared at Amsterdam Center for Entrepreneurship (ACE). In the Innovation center of ACE we got to meet some of the high-tech startups working in their spaces. Interesting discussions followed about ACE in general, while we shared the stories of Knoppi and Helsinki Think Company with them. We noticed that ACE was already established well at the University of Amsterdam. They had some entry-level courses for entrepreneurship. The University of Helsinki has a big project integrating entrepreneurship as a solid part of the culture. One step at a time. Our trip to Amsterdam really showed what it could be at its best.

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Thursday evening we had another meeting at a company called Copernica. Copernica is an online multi-channel platform that creates professional marketing campaigns and engages other companies’ audiences. We pitched our product, heard their idea and got some really hardcore insights on building our marketing campaigns and how to make Knoppi even more engaging. Itseems to be surprisingly important to share your information with pros. At least we realized some pros and cons in our product that we hadn’t thought of before, thanks to our awesome hosts as Copernica. In the evening we met a Think Company veteran Jasmina who is currently living in Amsterdam. We visited quickly the Hilton hotel’s sky lounge and got to see a breath-taking view over Amsterdam.

We dedicated Friday for Knoppi’s own team meetings. Without exaggerating (very much at least), Knoppi sat in the meetings for 10 hours. The long and fiery meetings were really successful: the team roles became crystal clear, our strategy for future pilots wouldn’t lose to Napoleon’s strategies and the tiny details of our MVP were worked out in the many cozy cafes and cool restaurants of Amsterdam. Especially a young, trendy and hipsterish cafe called Coffee & Coconuts was the perfect meeting place for ambitious startups like Knoppi. The space means a lot for our team. They even had a drink that contained jungle chocolate and monkey love! One of the most important results that came out from the meetings that day was that Jarkko “Miki Kuusi” Nissinen was chosen to be the CEO of Knoppi. Congratulations Jarkko!

Friday night the young wolfs of Knoppi head to the Pijp in Amsterdam. One of the coolest happenings of that night was meeting Jarmo, Jarcka and Laura. Jarcka has a startup that focuses on the poor situation of the house rental system in Amsterdam. Its mission was to ease the process of renting apartments for a foreigner. We’re really looking forward to hearing about its next steps!knoppiamsterdam

On Saturday morning Tuukka and Linnea head to Anne Frank’s museum. This unique and thought-provoking house is definitely worth visiting. The museum is a popular tourist destinations and there seems to be a long queue to the museum regardless of the date, so be prepared to wait for a while. They have actually even made a documentary film made about this queue…

On lunch in the cool Eye film Institute in Amsterdan Nord Knoppi had the pleasure of meeting Eva and Martijn. Eva had participated in 4UNI-competition in the team Loimu and was now back in Amsterdam from her exchange trip in Helsinki. Eva also helped us in Knoppi to get the most out of Amsterdam by suggesting us the best places to visit. Thank you Eva! Especially for the delicious Dutch apple pie that we got to eat in that one of the cozy cafes (far too many in Amsterdam) that last day. While eating the famous pie Knoppi also discussed details of the MVP again. It is a difficult task to distill your first product into its raw essence. You really need to be careful with the details and so we had our own meetings until the very last hour. After that we saw a bit more Amsterdam. We resisted our urges to buy clogs or tulips (or other famous flowers from Amsterdam…) and bought instead some some delicious treats called stropelfrroorrroorr for our friends and family.

Overall the four days that we got to spend in Amsterdam were really amazing. For Knoppi this trip was not only very productive and creative but a great chance to spend four days together and bring the groups coherence and dynamics to the next level. Everyone one of us agreed that the Knoppi that came back from Amsterdam was whole different Knoppi that left Helsinki.

Naturally, we are really grateful for awesome Think Company family for arranging us this awesome trip. Matti-Petteri, Rosa and Tyyra were no doubt the best possible travel companions as well. With happy and ambitious minds, Knoppi is ready to continue its mission in bringing passionate people together to share their knowledge! As a wise old man once told, that’s when amazing s*** happens.