The TULI cocktail event took place again in Restaurant Sohvi on Friday, 30 November. This now traditional event brings together entrepreneurially oriented people from JYU, JAMK and Gradia to hear about entrepreneurship projects created at educational institutions.

We took a look at two start-ups from JYU.

More fluent networking

Cohdata started from Eveliina Ventilä’s experiences at trade shows: she would walk away with a pile of business cards, but organising new contacts afterwards was a chore. Soon Renne Hirsimäki and Tuomas Änäkkälä came along to take charge of the technical realisation of the idea.

“We set out to develop a service for venues and event organisers that offers small-sized smart wristlets for visitors,” Hirsimäki explains. “The wristlets make it possible that every time you meet a new person and shake hands, the digital business cards of the persons involved get exchanged.”

Renne Hirsimäki and Eveliina Ventilä (on the right) hope to be able to employ themselves in their own enterprise.

Ventilä, Hirsimäki and Änäkkälä are students in Information Systems Science, and have received support from the University in the form of mentoring and funding for product development from the Jyväskylä Business and Innovation Factory.

“We’ve participated in the start-up lab of the IT Faculty since August. In practice, we were provided with our own office and a community, where one gets help from others. Professor Pekka Abrahamsson has been a mentor, and his extensive experience can guide us forward,” Hirsimäki says.

At the moment Cohdata is seeking funding to purchase the necessary equipment so that the idea could be tested in practice.

“Entrepreneurship has been a sort of secret dream.”

“It’s definitely a big dream that I could employ myself,” Ventilä says, to which Hirsimäki adds: “And thereby other people as well.”

An archaeologist at Slush

Memorandum produces mobile applications for cultural-historical sites. The core team of this enterprise, Elina Rauhala and Juha Laakkonen, are both doctoral students in history at JYU. The duo met each other years ago at Alkio College in Korpilahti, where they were studying history.

“We’ve been considering enterprise ideas actually for as long as we have known each other,” Rauhala says. “People are interested in history and there’s demand for historical experiences.”

Since its inception, Memorandum has operated without any external funding, relying on the idea and Rauhala and Laakkonen’s as well as their customers’ confidence in it. The latest product is an application created for Hossa National Park, which serves as a virtual travel guide to Hossa’s rock paintings.

“When you visit to site, the paintings are difficult to see. The application helps you find the paintings on the rock,” Laakkonen explains. “It also gives additional information about the paintings and shows a map of the area.”

Juha Laakkonen and Elina Rauhala want to maintain close relations to JYU.

Memorandum currently has a student preparing a Master’s theses and the first interns are planned to start their work soon. Fellow researchers are asked for help in topics where the team’s own expertise isn’t enough. Their network has been extended to the world of start-ups as well. Along the way, Rauhala and Laakkonen have noticed that in start-up circles they are part of a minority.

“We are usually the only humanists everywhere we go. I might be the only archaeologist who has ever been to the Slush startup event,” Rauhala laughs.