Security Startup Test Drive -Program
Security Startup Test Drive is a risk-free way to see if you would enjoy a life of a security startup entrepreneur. Do you have an idea for improving our online security? Have you thought of setting up your own company? Do you wonder if you’re up for it? Security Startup Test Drive might be the thing for you!
Designed for You
We didn’t design this to test you. We did it for you. You can test a life as a hip security startup hacker! If you like it, you get to keep your startup. (Yes, it is yours!)
Why are we Doing This
We’ve seen too many bright minds, novel ideas, and prototypes stuck in a garage-stage. We want to help people with good skills and ideas to break out to the world. When we improve the status quo in our field, the society can place more trust on tech, and fly higher, faster. This is our end game.
What’s in it for You
You have the opportunity to try out what it is like to be an entrepreneur. Elon Musk -hard? Or just as hard than anything else you’ve wanted to do properly in your life?
What’s in it for Us
We want to earn our living and make our mark by improving the status quo in the information security field. We believe that most scalable way to do that is to pave way to new startups and individuals who take ownership. We want to help you get started and if things turn out to be successful, we share a small part of the success.
Who Are We
We at Scandinavian ABC are security startup veterans with 1-2 exits behind us. We spent 15 years popularising new products in new product categories. It went well enough that we are now able to help you.
Why the Test Drive and not the Real Deal
The real deal is certainly an option. We’ve just found out that two things sometimes block people for considering the life of an entrepreneur: financial insecurity and fear of excessive workload. Time-limited test drive allows people to give it a spin, and then decide what they want to do with their life.
A life of an entrepreneur might be for you, if you:
- are strangely attracted to tech or have a tech-related hobby,
- have a track record of working hard (school or work) or you are just a natural,
- want to control your destiny as much as you can,
- think that you could be convinced through examples that you can influence the world around you (not just your immediate proximity), or
- have realized how the Finnish tax system creates a hard-to-penetrate glass ceiling for income.
Am I Up for it
This is the point of the Test Drive. Try and see it yourself! Don’t make your life decisions based on perceptions. Get evidence!
How Does This Work
First we pick the idea together. You can bring your own idea, or just your background. Understanding your background, we can probably propose a goal worth pursuing.
Then we cultivate the idea a bit - together of course. Is the world ready for the idea? Are we missing something needed to make it happen? A team member? More detailed plan? The goal is to make sure the next three months are fun and fruitful.
Standalone or Adoption
After we’ve done talking there are two ways forward. The standalone path and the adoption path. In standalone path we together have an idea which stands on its own feet and is worthy of an own company. In the adoption path we have chosen an idea which fundamentally supports some of the companies already set up. The companies in our portfolio are small and cherish open culture and are happy to adopt you for a test-run. You will be a full member of the team, just like you would be one of them.
Case HowNetWorks Oy
HowNetWorks was the first company to run the test drive. The founders balanced the lack of a surefire business plan by setting a strict deadline for the company. They set the self-destruct timer to three months. That was the deadline for delivering the proof that the company deserves to exists.
During those three months a pro bono service called URI:Teller saw the daylight. It helped to reveal a privacy issue from a popular instant messaging client called Telegram. Telegram fixed the issues and URI:Teller is now used by individuals around the world.
HowNetWorks paved the way for another company, called SensorFu. SensorFu is the other side of the same coin - while HowNetWorks focuses on net neutrality, SensorFu focuses on sealing the network security policies. Having just aquired relevant new skills in HowNetWorks, @oherrala co-founded SensorFu to lead their product development. @jviide bought the shares of HowNetWorks and he will keep it going while working on setting up a new company.
Case Jani Kenttälä
When I was a teenager, I swore that I’ll never become an entrepreneur. Two exits later, I am very happy that I didn’t keep my promise. While there are a lot of good signs that new generation is more adventorous, I still wonder: how many good ideas are left undone because of misconceptions about entrepreneurship.
Years after I made my promise, I was in a situation where I could give entrepreneurship a spin. Me and my colleagues at the University of Oulu thought we had something to contribute to the world. We had two options. Spread the word through academic papers, or through a commercial company. I had just gone a heavyish process of writing my M.Sc thesis, so I thought I could give the commercial path a try.
That decision to try set things in motion. I ended up places I could have never imagined. And such (positively) peculiar things happened that I now find Mark Twain’s words solid:
Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.
Eventually, I found myself helping a number of governments to improve the online security of their citizens. Not because I’m overly smart. Not because I’m special in any way. I just became one of the loony Finns around me with a desire to go a bit further than helping the local community.
Case SensorFu Oy
SensorFu was the third company founded within the Scandinavian ABC ecosystem. The founders were not afraid of the life of an entrepreneur. And they knew their idea was solid. Just one thing stood in their way: the team lacked the skills for running a company. Scandinavian ABC was the missing piece, says Mikko, the CEO of SensorFu. I wouldn’t have to learn the perks of running a company all at once. Our idea now had a fair shot.
Mikko has found especially Virpi’s help on setting up, planning & running the business operations crucial: figuring all those things out would have taken most of my energy. Now I can focus on solving the problem we have seen many customers struggling with. Mikko’s co-founder Sebastian concurs: starting up was surprisingly easy, I’ve been able to focus on the product 100%.