Bits and bobs from Yrjö Ojasaar's talk at the HUB

November 13, 2015
Yesterday the awesome Yrjö Ojasaar lead Tartu Ideelabor’s event on design thinking. The HUB was absolutely packed with young and old, all eager to hear valuable tips. Yrjö has a lot of experience in this field, being a founding member of EstBAN, the Estonian Business Angels Network and he’s seen a lot of young and promising (and not so promising) startups.

So what makes a startup, or any company for that matter, promising?
Basically it all boils down to the client and the client’s issues as the client is the one with the money. 
The three most important questions yesterday floating around the room were as follows:

Who’s the client, what’s his problem?
What solution do you have and what’s your value proposition?
Are people willing to pay for it?

Yrjö said once you have these three down, you are already far better off than a lot of your competition so it’s worth to spend a lot of time mulling over these three things. And while you’re at it, it’s good to figure out who is NOT your client.

Also, an unfair advantage (google the hell out of it, watch videos of it, buy a book of it!) is a good thing to have to create a monopoly of sorts – even a tiny monopoly! It’s worth to have a monopoly, even if it doesn’t last but as long as it does, it’ll give you headway. Nice ay? If only you could now figure out the bit that makes your startup a monopoly…

Now the most important thing, the funding issue. EstBAN holds monthly pitching sessions to see if anything interesting is available. That could be you! The EstBAN coordinator Karin Künnapas said that usually very early stage startups do not get funded as the angels are more interested in startups with real products or services. Ergo, it may be wise to take time to figure stuff out first.

In any case, should you decide to test your luck, go to and fill in your profile, and do it really well. The EstBAN angels browse through these profiles usually in the middle of the month and then invite some companies to pitch. During a pitching event there is usually 15-20 angels in the room but those not present may find your profile at interesting enough. Basically, if you get involved, information will spread like wildfire!

One more thing. If you have trouble figuring your startup out, answering all the important questions to even consider pitching to anyone, check out Startup Metrics for Pirates. It’s like a really good cheat sheet. There’s a gloomy weather prospect for this weekend so maybe it’s a good time to spend time indoors with those slides and those aforementioned three questions.

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