Topic outline

  • Welcome to Startup Experience Spring 2022


    Design your entrepreneurial style

    The Startup Experience is full of ups and downs, struggles and joys. You will be creating and testing a business idea and a minimum viable product (MVP) in student teams. With the help of teachers, peers and many guest lecturers, we will support you as you discover real customer needs, test ideas, and come up with viable solutions. This course is for you to feel what it’s like to take your ideas to market.

    On this course students will learn:

    1. to identify and reach the customer
    2. to recognize a need and how to fulfil it
    3. to solve problems
    4. to build and test prototypes
    5. to cultivate traction
    6. to create a financially viable business concept
    7. to pitch and sell ideas
    8. to build psychological flexibility
    9. to recognise larger systems and patterns
    10. to build trust

    The course simulates the real-world challenges (as far as possible) startups might encounter and how to overcome them. Startup Experience is experiential, and it consists of workshops and hands-on team assignments based on teams' venture ideas within Sustainable Development Goals. To help you understand more what it's like to undertake such a journey, here is an example of the teams that have gone through the experience together:

    Here are two other examples of the course outcomes in terms of company pitches by two teams from the Spring 2019 course. 



    Building scalable empathy and care

    Caring about other people is the foundation of a healthy society. This journey focuses on the customers and their needs, to understand their lives, habits, and values. Discovering how to do research and collect data assists in deepening the relationship with potential customers. Finally, empathy and decision-making come together, and we see the impact of our actions.

    At your service – at what cost?

    Balancing technology, innovative ideas and sustainable thinking with customer needs and demands is not easy. You will learn to think of others first, without losing the common sense needed to keep a business moving forward. Between needs and financial responsibility is a feasible business concept. Through negotiation and communication skills, teams will explore the principle of maximum efficiency, always searching for the most economical options that meet sustainable and ethical business expectations.

    Should I optimize, pivot or focus?

    In teams, you will execute a creative design process. The opportunities and dilemmas related to this process will require you embrace methods for effective decision making and for harnessing intuition. You will build multiple prototypes and will be using them to understand problems and potential solutions. Ideation and problem solving are the foundations of a viable product or service. Deciding when to cut your ideas off, change your mind, or renew your commitment to your ideas is key to any successful startup.

    Personal growth and style

    You will also investigate your own ways of being and learn how to find meaning in and through your work. Psychological flexibility and resilience to criticism, failures and uncertainty are abilities that need to be developed. By implementing the concept of radical well-being, you can be a more co-operative, productive, and creative individual. You will explore what it takes to build trust and what it means to have your own entrepreneurial style.

    Work in teams 

    The project work is done in multinational and multidisciplinary teams, so you will be faced with new team dynamics and changing roles and responsibilities, while also finding your personal boundaries. By curating team culture, cultivating creativity, motivation, and mutual trust within the team, you will elevate each other’s potential.

    The Startup Experience way

    All communication and sharing of information will be conducted on Teams. You will be our main priority and should you want to discuss anything, feel free to reach out to Teddy, who will be your mentor throughout the course. The workload for Startup Experience is commonly 27 hours per week so make sure to clear your schedule and manage your time wisely. You should not have any major projects going on during period III-IV as well as try not to have more than 1 course each period (not including Startup Experience). Your well being should be your primary concern. 


    The course is open to all Aalto students. Registration can be done via Sisu. 

    The deadline for registration is January 11th, 2022. The course starts with 3 kick-off sessions (Wednesday 12th January at 9:15 - 12:00, Thursday 13th January at 14:15 - 16:00, and Friday 14th January at 9:15 - 12:00) You must participate in all 3 kick-off sessions in order to be accepted to the course. 

    Before or simultaneously with Startup experience course we recommend you to take 2 credits online course “Starting up” - and/or 1 credit online course TU-C2080 Entrepreneurship Essentials.

    More information

    For more information, contact the course mentor:

    Teddy Duy Tran,, AVP

    Course teachers:
    Johannes Kaira,, AVP

    Paul Savage, AVP