Meet the jury: Timo Ahopelto

Timo Ahopelto is an early-stage investor at Lifeline Ventures and serial entrepreneur behind for example CRF Health, a software and services company exited at 320 million euros in 2015. He is also on the boards of Tekes, the Finnish Founding Agency for Technology and Innovation, Slush Conference and EVA, the Economic Policy Forum of Finland.

1. Why did you join the Helsinki Challenge jury?

I want to encourage science-based entrepreneurship. At the moment I am an investor in a half a dozen of scientific startups such as biotech companies Ductor and Cambrian Genomics.

2. Why does the academic world need Helsinki Challenge right now?

Right now we’re taking the first steps in science-based entrepreneurship in Finland. For a scientist founding a company is a great opportunity to get their own scientific research out of the lab and into the world, where it might help solve some big problems.

3. What is your piece of advice for the teams?

Be clear and avoid jargon.

4. What is your piece of advice for the teams when they face a moment of weakness during the accelerator programme?

Pick a starting point, it doesn’t matter which one it is, and start boldly solving the problem from there. Eventually the knots will start to loosen. It’s better to choose any direction and go there than to just stand still.