LEAP: The Stockholm experience

Our startup Holda.io first heard about LEAP only a few days before the application period ended but boy are we glad we did. The Helsinki leg was awesome and we all felt ready to take the leap to Stockholm.

After arriving to Värta Hamn in Stockholm the whole Leap crew with Host My Pet, Pänttää and Holda started the sunny 4th day of LEAP at the co-working space and incubator Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship (SSES) where Alberto Corti welcomed us to Sweden and taught us about the startup ecosystem in Stockholm. For the sessions we were joined by early-stage entrepreneurs in SSES fellowship program, which allowed us to brainstorm and learn in an international setting.

Learning from those who’ve gone before is crucial on your way to success. Raj Kumar, an Indian immigrant to Stockholm shared his perspective on establishing business in Sweden as a foreigner like us. Karl Björk, a seasoned entrepreneur shared his learnings from 20 years of both huge successes and massive failures, providing deep insight into what makes or breaks a business.

The afternoon continued with design thinking and prototyping when Fredrik Heghammare from Another Tomorrow drew from his time at Google the best and fastest ways to go from idea to prototype in an hour. “It’s better to provide the customers with an actual experience on your product rather than explan it in a million words.” Despite having funding and very promising partnerships after starting our company only weeks ago, Holda had struggled with the prototyping process and really benefited from the design thinking mindset and tools as Pop by Marvel. This workshop really blew our minds and inspired us to do some validation on our concept, so we hit the +27-degree streets of Stockholm and made major strides in customer interviews!

The LEAP program also showed us where to work and network in Stockholm. SUP46 is one of the Europe’s leading startup Hub in Sweden and seemed like the place to be. With Lana Kaupuza’s introduction we got a lot of information about the history and development about Stockholm’s startup ecosystem and its unicorns. Stockholm’s success is the result of cooperation between the advanced government, the global mindset of the entrepreneurs and Swedish rockstars like Spotify paving the way for others. Overall it’s evident that Helsinki still has a lot to learn from Stockholm when it comes to our field, fintech.

We wrapped up the Stockholm experience on Friday at SSES with key insights into social media marketing. Christopher Eriksson from Snowbox gave us a comprehensive session about how to market in Sweden and the ins and outs on tricks of creating a buzz on your product online. We can’t wait to launch our service this Fall and test these out. But before that, on to Copenhagen!