Do more benchmarking. Build mock-ups. Use wireframes. Gather user feedback and iterate. Figure out a stalling go-to-market plan.

These were often heard advice, addressed to the Uutisraivaaja finalists who where pitching their projects at the Paivalehti Museum in Helsinki in May. The advice came mostly from two start-up professionals, Tina Aspiala and Timo Ahopelto.

Tina is a founder of, the Finnish equivalent of Timo is an investor and a partner at LifeLine Ventures. Also Kaius Niemi, the Editor-in-chief of the Ilta-Sanomat popped by and participated in coaching.

One advice from the coaches seemed to be the most important: Gather user feedback. This is crucial as most of the – if not all – teams are working on products that require user participation: sharing news, information, pictures. The teams seem to be assuming that oh yes, of course people will participate. But that is not for sure before trying the method out.

I was delighted to notice that teams are pushing their way forward, each one of them at their own pace. Some of them are doing user testing, some have prototypes, and some have made their first deals and applied for more funding from a variety of sources. This is good progress for those teams which didn’t know a lot about product development and the start-up way of thinking before applying to Uutisraivaaja.

The teams have until the beginning of August to develop their concept further. In August, the judges will review the teams’ progress and evaluate which one of them will get more funding to develop their project further, the maximum being 250 000 euros.

As a specialty, we had the French team visiting us from Paris and getting familiar with the Finnish journalism scene. Thanks for all of you hosting our French guests while I was suffering from the worst flue in the decade.

Best luck to all teams. Keep moving on.


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