Otso has always been a very commercially oriented individual and is now living his dream of helping impactful startups grow and influence this world as much as possible. His company Aikainen invests in teams who are fearless enough to think they can change the world.
Before founding Aikainen, he was an entrepreneur at VALA Group – a software automation consultancy company acquired by stock-listed Siili Solutions in 2021. For the last few years, he has been an active startup investor and board professional in various high-growth startup companies such as Aatos.app & Boksi.com.
With an entrepreneurial background, board advisory positions and an education from Aalto University, he has created a holistic viewpoint on how to create commercial success.
Q: How and why did you become an investor?
Wealth accumulates with age and privilege, which means that capital assets are generally located in people and places where the effects of climate change aren't experienced as drastically as elsewhere. These populations that are familiar with, but not born in the digital world, have the resources to decide which technologically and sustainably impactful innovations get funded.
I established Aikainen to accelerate the green, digital megatrend. We try to build a bridge between capital and impactful startups. We believe that the best way to build a new, better world is to invest in world-changing ideas and teams fearless enough to implement their visions.
Q: What kinds of companies do you invest in?
I aim to allocate our investments in software companies with a positive impact as much as possible. My home country Finland is a tiny market and at least for me, it has been impossible to find a deal flow strong enough to invest only in clear impact companies. But at least I can say that negative impact investments will never be made.
I established Aikainen to accelerate the green, digital megatrend. We try to build a bridge between capital and impactful startups. We believe that the best way to build a new, better world is to invest in world-changing ideas.
Q: What have been and are your significant learnings in your career as an investor?
Quite a big portion of the startups will not succeed. I try not to lose any night's sleep because of the problems that will appear in every startup. Of course, it's important to take the problems seriously, but if you take them too seriously, you will have very difficult times.
Q: What is one book you recommend and why?
I would love to recommend some fiction books, but I have a serious problem reading only business books. One classic that I like is Peter Thiel's Zero to One.
Q: What are the top three mistakes entrepreneurs make when raising funds and approaching investors?
The problems are often related to mistakes in their business plan:
1. Being too product or business-oriented. The best teams are commercially and technically balanced, and they understand what the customer wants and how the customers' wishes can be implemented.
2. Not having any traction. If the entrepreneur hasn't started discussing with the customers, we don't even know if the problem is real. Traction does not necessarily need to be pure sales - it can also be pilot customers, engaged users, etc.
3. Being too modest. If the entrepreneur doesn't have a compelling vision or ambitious goals, it's difficult for me as an investor to get excited.
The best teams are commercially and technically balanced and they understand what the customer wants and how the customers' wishes can be implemented.
Q: What impresses you in a founder?
Ambition, humility, humour & actions.
Q: What would be a piece of advice you would like to share with founders looking to raise capital?
Start collaborating with your potential customers now!
Thank you, Otso, for joining us at KavAdemy Investor Profile and letting us interview you.
To keep an eye on Aikainen's journey, visit https://aikainen.com/
If you know someone who would be a great fit for the KavAdemy Investor Profile series, let us know by sending an e-mail to Laura Lindholm at email@example.com.