Carl Kempendorf, Founder & CBDO at Vessla

I got a business idea together with my friend Jean, who lived in Helsinki in January 2015. We discussed the idea with Asmo, who lives and works in Oulu, and he mentioned that we could start a company based on this idea. During the next 6 months of 2015 we talked a lot about our business and finally Jean and I decided to move to Oulu from Stockholm. We left our jobs, apartments and our entire life in Stockholm behind - to start a new adventure.

During the first 3 months of living in Oulu and starting our company Vessla ( we completed an accelerator and got 2 investments from different business angels. We worked in our office at Business Kitchen everyday and we got many new friends from there. However, we needed a larger office and these investments helped us with that. Eventually we had to move out of Business Kitchen.

We made proper prototypes of our cordless and wireless screens - developed for the Smart City and IoT markets - and told everyone about it. We attended many events such as Polar Bear Pitching, Midnight Pitch Festival, Slush, Arctic 15, Ultrahack, Smart City Expo in Barcelona and many more. I couldn't believe how much travelling was involved in creating a startup, but this is a positive thing as I love travelling.

For the next 2 years we worked A LOT and we spread the word of our startup and our visions. Moving to Oulu and starting off in Business Kitchen proved to be a wise choice. This eventually led us to having pilot deals with KONE and Microsoft. When we were in Silicon Valley we met with Verizon who got interested and they wanted us to join their Innovation Program. Recently our CEO, Jean, got nominated for Innovators Under 35 Europe 2017 Awards by MIT Technology Review. This year we also won the Productive Idea competition in our region, awarded by Nuorkauppakamari (JCI Finland).

It has been an incredible journey so far and I am looking forward to the next few years to come - to be able to experience the progress of both Vessla and myself as an individual. Without the wonderful people we've met in Oulu - many through Business Kitchen - we wouldn't have come as far and our journey wouldn't have been as joyful. We have received tons of support, feedback and encouragement. I have grown a lot as a person and expanded my knowledge during these years. For all of this, I'd like to thank everyone I've met through Business Kitchen and everyone involved in the entrepreneurship community. Thank you!