A member story – in conversation with Henna Keränen at Sting

April 26th 2021

Hi Henna, what is it that you do and what is Sting?

I moved to Sweden 4.5 years ago and have been working at Sting for 4 years now. Sting is the leading accelerator and incubator for tech startups in the Nordics’, helping every year 25-30 early-stage companies grow faster. At Sting, I am responsible for our partnerships and the startup community, I’m kind of a bridge between Sting, our offer and our startups. I’m also an active person within the Nordic tech community.

What trends do you see have been boosted in the start-up world due to the pandemic?

Many of the startups have been accelerating their growth quite rapidly during the past year since they offer services and products that help us digitize learning, working, shopping, healthcare etc.

"as human beings, we still need the social part"

Also, what I think is interesting is that community-driven companies have been growing fast and basically everything where you can add social features into– for example, social shopping and social fitness are increasing since we were forced to start doing those online but as human beings, we still need the social part of those activities. Now, we see many great tech startups solving this need. 

What’s your best tips for work life balance?

This is sometimes quite challenging for me too, but personally I think it helps to have routines that structure the day. For instance, a work-out that starts at a certain time is good for me, because I am forced to be ready before that. I think that especially now when most of us are working from home, it’s very important that you still have the same routines no matter if you’re working from home or from the office. Many companies have a no lunch meeting policy which I think is good, since we all need breaks and it’s so important to move and get some fresh air between the Zoom-meeting marathons.

"what kind of changes do we need from the political side and how can we make a true change"

What can people ask you that you love to talk about?

I am super passionate about startups and innovations, and how they are disrupting the way we live, work, eat, communicate etc. As I used to work with topics focusing on future of work and 21st century skills and having a master degree in Political Science, I tend to see things with a larger perspective and spot the connections between different industries and think how innovations affect our societies, what kind of changes do we need from the political side and how can we make a true change. Also, purpose-driven companies are very close to my heart. I am also a fan of the Nordics’ and convinced that this northern part of Europe is THE place to be and live.

Which Sting initiatives are you most impressed by this year? 

We are currently running some new activities that I am very excited about: our thematic program for Climate Action startups and our Health Action initiative filled with a number of different webinars and action points. Healthcare is a very exciting sector, especially female health and personalized health. Can’t wait for it to become mainstream that you can get your personal health plan, work-out plan and dietary plan based on your genes, needs, life situation and so on.

Why is A house the place for you?

A house has focus areas that I think are very exciting: music, food and innovation in general. Also, I love the people, vibe, lobby, breakfasts and of course A Yard. Can’t complain about the coffee and Mr. Cake buns either 😊

What are you looking forward to in 2021?

Summer! Can’t wait to be able to be outside, swim in the sea, eat ice cream, meet friends and family. And perhaps be able to have some small activities at A yard. I guess we are all curious to see how the world looks like after summer – how are we working. Can we organize events, go to concerts, travel? All that is still a big question mark and now we just have to wish for the best and enjoy these longer days and sunlight ◾️