Last Wednesday it was time to wrap up the first-ever Innovestor PALO, our program for the most promising early-stage sustainable tech startups. The 12 weeks of workshops and meetings around product and business planning, growth board work, and customer validation culminated in a Deal Day at our offices, where the eight PALO 2022 startups got to deliver their final pitches.
The transformation between the October kick-off day and the December Deal Day was striking. All the hard work and focus the participants put in over the 12-week period shone through in their polished, focused pitches to the group of potential investors.
When designing the PALO program, we wanted to focus on the three key areas, where early-stage startups typically need the most support. We wanted to offer them access to a network of experts, support them in financing growth, and offer them the much-needed customer contacts for their products or services. The Deal Day and all the feedback received there confirmed the program succeeded in delivering on these areas.
According to Matti Härkönen, managing partner in Corporate Venturing, the participant startups are already planning several cooperation projects with industrial customers, several follow-on financing rounds have already been completed and are in the process of being completed, and the startups have been able to strengthen their own talent networks too.
“I am beyond excited to say that PALO Program’s pilot was a huge success. 92% of the startup participants would recommend the program to peers, and this is something we couldn’t even dream of when starting the pilot. Based on the enormously encouraging results and feedback we received from startups, corporations and investors, we are now setting our eyes on PALO Program 2023. I am looking forward to seeing passionate teams also in next year’s program.”, Katri Rutanen, Palo Program manager outlines.
When talking to the participants on the day, the consensus was that the program had not only helped with the contacts and resources needed for growth but also forced them to explore the business ideas from all the possible perspectives and helped to clarify what to really focus on going forward. Everyone also enjoyed networking and connecting with the other entrepreneurs “on the same boat” and the community feel around PALO.
We were pleased to see many fellow VCs, angel investors, bankers, and corporate representatives in the audience on Deal Day. It’s our goal to make the program a collaborative initiative in the Finnish startup ecosystem and build a positive, vibrant community around it. Looking at the below video for the feelings on the Deal Day we think we’re off to a great start!
Now on to scale PALO – stay tuned for the second round in 2023!