Founders to Finland Participants 2024

Learn more about this year’s Founders to Finland participants and their ambitions to grow and connect in Helsinki, a leading innovation hub.

6 min read

Andrew Taylor
  • Our two-week program for international founders, Founders to Finland, will take place May 28th – June 7th, 2024.
  • Eight dedicated participants were selected to the 2024 cohort. Six founders will arrive in Helsinki to explore and connect with the local business and innovation ecosystem.

Founders to Finland Participants 2024

The Founders to Finland Program is a fast-track for international founders to establish their business in Finland. The participants receive practical one-on-one counceling with Helsinki Partners and Business Helsinki, International House Helsinki, and Business Finland. The program – consisting of business visits events, workshops, and freetime activities – takes place in Helsinki over the course of two weeks May 28th – June 7th, 2024.

Through the program, participants access a support network that helps them soft-land their business or investment, plan long-term residency, and find contacts and communities in Helsinki. One of the most innovative business environments in the world, Helsinki’s attractive work-life balance makes it an excellent place to establish a presence in Europe.

Keep reading to learn more about the background and ambitions of this year’s participants.

Stan Lu

OR10 Venture Builder

Stan (Sitian) Lu from China sees Finland’s innovative spirit and open culture as the perfect launchpad for his venture-building ambitions in the tech and consumer sectors. A seasoned innovation practitioner and venture capitalist, Stan has led both the investment practice and the portfolio management as a Partner at Turing Capital, a spin-off of the globally renowned VC, KPCB China. His efforts have significantly contributed to the growth of numerous ventures, demonstrating a profound commitment to nurturing innovation.

Stan’s extensive research on corporate innovation, conducted alongside world-leading experts and researchers at Continuum, has deepened his conviction in Venture Building (“VB”) as a transformative approach to fostering innovation and growth. He views VB as a potent alternative to the traditional VC model, representing a new paradigm in the evolution of startups and innovation ecosystems. His frequent visits to Slush have not only cemented his respect for Finland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem but have also ignited interest among his network in China, showcasing the potential for European expansion with Finland as the starting point.

With the enthusiastic backing of his family, Stan is poised to dive into Helsinki’s dynamic business landscape. His wife, an artist, is attracted to the city’s rich cultural fabric, while their son looks forward to the high-quality Finnish education system. Together, they are ready to embark on a journey that promises professional fulfilment and personal growth, with Stan keen on exploring Venture Building opportunities in Finland’s supportive and forward-thinking environment.

Arvin Tang


Arvin Tang from Singapore views Helsinki’s innovative ecosystem as an ideal launchpad for his digital marketing agency, AKIN, with sights set on tapping into expansive growth opportunities in the EU (European Union) market. His enthusiastic participation in the Founders to Finland Program reflects his commitment to immersing himself in this environment, learning from fellow entrepreneurs, and fostering cross-regional connections to enrich his understanding of European markets.

Arvin’s journey to Helsinki is not just a business mission; it’s the fulfilment of a long-held fascination with the city’s mature, service-oriented landscape that thrives on nurturing startups, VCs, and SMEs. This environment, he believes, is ripe for learning the socio-cultural intricacies necessary for successful market penetration. Arvin’s expertise in digital marketing spans the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, equipping him with valuable insights into the challenges and strategies of go-to-market strategies in Asia. His objective in Helsinki extends beyond exploring growth avenues for AKIN; it is part of a broader mission to facilitate European companies’ entry into Asian markets and to fine-tune cross-geographic strategies that bridge Asia, the EU, and the UK.

In Helsinki, Arvin is not just expanding his business; he’s enriching the Helsinki ecosystem with his global perspective. By leveraging his familiarity with the intricacies of Asian markets, he positions himself as a vital bridge in the Founders to Finland community, aiming to foster cross-regional business collaborations. For Arvin, the program is an opportunity to weave valuable connections, contributing to and deriving value from the relationships he builds within this vibrant entrepreneurial network.

Shilpa Karkeraa

Myraa Technologies

Shilpa Karkeraa from Singapore brings her extensive experience in leading digital transformation across 10+ countries to Finland, seeking to make a significant impact within its innovation ecosystem. Her decision to join the Founders to Finland program was driven by Finland’s unmatched innovation infrastructure, which perfectly aligns with her health-focused, purpose-driven business that aims to scale innovative products and solutions. Shilpa is prepared to collaborate with Helsinki’s innovation community to forge a brighter future together.

Shilpa describes herself as a “researcher at heart” and has established herself as a key figure in the fields of blockchain and AI, sharing her insights as a seasoned keynote speaker, community leader and published author. Her journey to Helsinki represents not just a move to expand her business but a commitment to contribute her deep industry knowledge and collaborative spirit to Finland’s vibrant tech scene.

Jacob Puthenparambil

Redhill PR

Jakob Puthenparambil from Singapore has set his sights on Europe as the next frontier for his PR business, with a strategic focus on expanding into Helsinki to complement his existing offices in Berlin and London. Jakob is drawn to Finland for its innovative spirit and the resilience of its people, qualities that resonate deeply with his own journey. Embracing ‘sisu’, the Finnish concept of perseverance, Jakob has impressively scaled his company from a modest two-person, $2,000 startup to a thriving $25M, 200-person organisation in just nine years. His story is a testament to the power of determination and strategic vision in achieving remarkable business growth.

Santosh Rout

Santosh Rout from Singapore brings over a decade of leadership experience to Helsinki, aiming to deepen his AI company’s roots in this innovation-rich city. Since founding his first company in Singapore in 2014, which specializes in Application Development, Vision AI and Generative AI, Santosh has demonstrated a keen ability to lead and innovate.

He is keen to establish his AI company in Helsinki, to be closer to his North European customers. Following a successful beta launch, Santosh’s venture is at a pivotal stage, ready to explore new partnerships. An experienced entrepreneur and IT leader, Santosh brings a wealth of expertise in corporate collaboration, application and robotics development, and consulting to the Helsinki ecosystem. His move signifies a strategic step towards leveraging Helsinki’s vibrant tech scene to foster innovation and growth.

Crystal Koh 


Crystal Koh from Singapore is driven to broaden her on-demand talent network into Europe. The Founders to Finland Program marks her first step towards establishing Helsinki as her company’s European hub. Her platform, designed to connect companies with skilled remote workers, aligns with her goal to enhance international collaboration and assist European companies in their expansion into Asia by matching them with the right talent.

With a wealth of multi-disciplinary expertise, Crystal is eager to contribute her knowledge on brand building and business transformation to the Helsinki ecosystem and her peers in the program.

Her experience spans several industries, including fintech, travel-tech, Edutech, and Insurtech, equipping companies to enhance their digital capabilities with innovative solutions. Crystal’s involvement in Helsinki represents a unique opportunity to foster cross-border connections, supporting the growth of both her network and the broader tech community in Helsinki.

The program takes place in Helsinki over the course of two weeks, May 28th – June 7th, 2024. It is designed to equip participants with the knowledge and connections needed to establish their business in Finland.

If you’re interested in participating in next year’s program you can join the waitlist to be among the first to know when applications reopen.

Learn more about the Founders to Finland Program

Founders to Finland is a fast-track to establish your business in Helsinki and access the thriving European market. Build a successful company in a testbed market while maintaining a flourishing personal life in the bustling capital of the world’s happiest country.

A man is sitting and reading in a designer chair inside a large and spacious room of the Aalto studio.
© Jussi Hellsten

Contact Helsinki Partners

If you are interested in learning more about Helsinki and its possibilities – please contact us via the form here. We’ll make sure to get back to you within a few working days.

Juhana Hurtig