Would you like to sleep up in the air? Arctos stocks Tentsile's tree tents. Photo: Juha Tuomi / Rodeo

Summer of Startups: Arctos makes it easy to get out into the great outdoors

Not having the right gear can no longer be used as an excuse for not going outdoors. Arctos is a startup that has developed a service for trying out high-quality and innovative outdoor products and gives access to outdoor adventures to those who do not have the gear. The young company is based in Espoo Innovation Garden and offers campers the opportunity to try out gear, which they can buy after testing at a discounted price if they are happy with it. 

“The service promotes smarter and more sustainable consumer habits and helps people to find the right gear without the risk of buying the wrong gear,” says Arctos' founder Robert Nuorteva.

“The products can be ordered online to be delivered at your door and returned after use – unless you decide to buy them."

Arctos also aims to promote the sharing economy. 

“People can contact us if they want to share their gear that they seldom use.”

The business idea came to Robert Nuorteva during a trip to northern Norway a couple of years ago.

“I realised how difficult it is to go camping, as good quality gear is an essential part of camping but tends to be expensive and to take up a lot of space.”

Nuorteva wanted to make it easier for people to go to the countryside and offer access to outdoor adventures and experiences to as many people as possible.

“Novice campers can use our service to get out easily and equipped with the right gear, while more experienced campers can test new and innovative products and compare them in real circumstances.”

Arctos, which runs the new equipment service, participates in Startup Sauna's Summer of Startups programme.

Summer of Startups helps new entrepreneurs to take off

Summer of Startups is an entrepreneurship programme for students and other people interested in starting a growth company. Its aim is to help selected teams to start companies based on their business ideas.

Robert Nuorteva and Mikael Pernu from Arctos are planning to polish their business model during the summer, and they want to take full advantage of the programme.

“The best feature of the programme is the immediate feedback from other participants and the opportunity to test various things,” explains Pernu.

Nuorteva and Pernu are very satisfied with the Summer of Startups programme. A total of 100 teams applied for the 2015 programme, and ten were selected.

The new entrepreneurs chosen to take part are provided with working spaces, intensive mentoring by successful serial entrepreneurs and a grant that allows them to focus on the programme full-time. There are coaches who support the teams in starting their businesses. The coaches are Finnish serial entrepreneurs and professionals in various fields, and they participate in the programme because they want to support young people.  

The programme is organised by the Aalto University student organization Aalto Entrepreneurship Society aka Aaltoes. The City of Espoo is Aaltoes' partner and supports the programme.

“Espoo Innovation Garden and Summer of Startups are great seedbeds for services and products of the future that can conquer the entire world if they succeed,” says Tuula Antola, Director for Economic and Business Development at the City of Espoo.

“An excellent example is Catchbox, a throwable microphone that won an international design award recently; it took off through the Summer of Startups programme.”