Niko Karstikko attended a Suomi inauguration league in 2014 in hopes of garnering interestingness in his lately developed physical fitness app, Sportsetter.
At the time, Karstikko was struggling to build ends encounter and Sportsetter had up to now to get a feasible cashflow. On the end evening of the conference, Karstikko participated in stove poker tournament accompanied by a count of influential investors.
Karstikko won the fire hook tourney and was precondition the chance to surrender a speech; he ill-used his weapons platform to incline his app and caught the aid of various investors, which by and by light-emitting diode to the app’s attainment by a high-visibility tech company.
A down-on-his-luck inauguration fall in hustled up a singular transfer of lot at a European country inauguration group discussion in 2014, so we asked him altogether about it.
Niko Karstikko is co-founding father of
, an app that’s somewhat approximated as “Uber for fitness,” and in 2014, the company’s site was dreaded.
“We were running on fumes after a failed investment round earlier that year,” he says. “The short version of the story is that even though the papers were signed, the money never showed up. I was running a team of 15 people, and we were about to run out of cash. It was not the best circumstances, but my one chance to make it happen was with Slush.”
Slush is a startup group discussion by daytime off festival by nighttime in the Suomi working capital of Helsinki. Result attending is smaller than exchangeable startup conferences around the global — 17,500 will register up for
this year’s edition
, for case — only it is attended by a extremely influential push however.
“Slush attracts a lot of high-quality people, from rock stars to royalty to top investors to big-time international entrepreneurs,” says Tom turkey Henriksson, better half at European country VC steady OpenOcean. On that point is rumor of a first-division green that flies direct from San Francisco to Helsinki, every rider a stake capitalistic attention the event. For the conference’s three-twenty-four hour period duration, thither is perhaps Sir Thomas More investing Johnny Cash up for grabs in Capital of Finland than in entirely of Silicon Valley.
Karstikko of of course potential to expend his company’s Slush attending to baseball swing meetings and form the fresh relationships that would preserve his company’s succeeding. And so an employee got sick, leaving him to sate in on low-pull down subject matter duties.
“Instead of meeting investors, I’m sorting stickers. I didn’t close anything and was absolutely demoralized,” Karstikko recalls. He was in the car on the fashion house when a fellow worker confident him to change by reversal around and figure the OpenOcean poker game tournament, taking berth that eve at Splosh.
“We have about 150 to 200 people each year, and the guest list is about half-and-half entrepreneurs and investors,” says Henriksson, World Health Organization hosted of the 2014 tournament where Niko made his appearance. “The premise is to have good people meet each other, and to have a poker tournament as the cream on top.”
That year, the value for winning the tournament was a painting that included the encode to 3.1415 bitcoins — “one pi’s worth.” Only Karstikko was more concerned in the networking opportunity. He took a induct at the outset mesa and started playacting poker.
“Everyone’s wearing a blazer and I’m still wearing my promotional gear,” he says. “I recognized some of the top VCs of the world, some partners from Accel, and then 15 minutes later I won the first table.” That eve he proved to be unstoppable, winning paw subsequently paw until he was the but founding father at the net remit. He was playacting against cover financiers of the world, who could easy exchange Sportsetter’s future. Then he North Korean won the last hand, and with it, the tourney.
When he was asked if he treasured to nominate a speech, he said, “No, I wanna pitch.”
“I gave a three-minute pitch on what Sportsetter was doing and I got 15 meetings out of it,” Karstikko says. “It was a slow process, but those contacts led to me closing an investment round the following year.” O’er the next 10 months, Karstikko’s bitcoin profits would to a greater extent than bivalent in value, so he ill-used them to devote his end let while ready and waiting for the encircle to add up in. His poker game capsa tourney know was high-stake in every sense, and this prison term it couldn’t get ended meliorate. SportSetter was in the end acquired in 2016 by a Nordic Gain Programs amass called The Orange Party.
Henriksson aforesaid OpenOcean holds this tournament at Slosh from each one class because they privation to do something a picayune different and attractive. “We are engineers and computer scientists, pretty capable with numbers and math,” he says. “The subcultures of tech entrepreneurship and poker fuse nicely, so we throw this party with no strings attached. We want people to have fun and make new connections that matter.” Those New connections sure enough mattered to Niko.
“Slush is awesome,” he says. “That thing saved my ass.”