Vídeo: empresários mergulham no gelo para obter investimentos na Finlândia

Claudia Wallin, de Oulu (Finlândia) para a Rádio França Internacional

Em tempos de superação de crise, os finlandeses apostam em um jeito exótico de quebrar o gelo entre startups e investidores internacionais: uma competição em que os empreendedores têm que entrar em um buraco no gelo, com metade do corpo imersa nas águas de temperaturas subárticas do Mar Báltico, para apresentar sua ideia de negócio a uma plateia de “tubarões” – empresários consolidados e com disposição para investir.

É o Polar Bear Pitching (“Pitch do Urso Polar”), que reuniu nesta quarta-feira 18 finalistas de 15 países na cidade finlandesa de Oulu, 600 quilômetros ao norte da capital, Helsinque. Perto do Círculo Ártico, a competição se desenvolve em meio a temperaturas que nesta época do ano costumam variar entre 15 e 20 graus abaixo de zero.

Trata-se de uma espécie de versão glacial dos reality shows “Dragon´s Den” e “Shark Tank” (“Negociando com Tubarões”), em que empreendedores fazem apresentações-relâmpago de seu projeto de negócio diante de investidores inclementes – um método conhecido como “pitch”.

Mais do que mero espetáculo, porém, o Polar Bear Pitching é parte de uma estratégia comunitária que reinventou a pequena Oulu como a capital tecnológica da Finlândia, depois do trauma vivido na cidade em 2012 com o fim do negócio de celulares da gigante finlandesa Nokia. Com 200 mil habitantes, Oulu abriga hoje mais de mil empresas de alta tecnologia e cerca de 600 novas companhias startup – muitas delas fundadas nos últimos anos por ex-funcionários da fábrica da Nokia na cidade, com apoio do governo local.

Desafio abaixo de zero

No buraco aberto no gelo do Mar Báltico, a temperatura da água é de um grau. No palco erguido sobre a neve, os finalistas do Polar Bear Pitching se preparam para desafiar o próprio terror. A cobrir seus corpos, apenas um roupão. Uns esfregam as mãos para criar coragem, ou pulam para aquecer o corpo. Outros olham com certo pavor para o buraco no gelo que os espera.

Ao contrário das apresentações-relâmpago de outras competições de pitch, no Polar Bear Pitching não existe limite de tempo. Os finalistas têm o que tempo que quiserem – ou aguentarem – para fazer suas apresentações diante de cerca de 100 investidores finlandeses e internacionais. Poucos vão além de dois minutos. Há quem suporte apenas os parcos segundos necessários para gritar três frases.

Encerrada a proeza, os finalistas comemoram, aliviados, nas águas mornas de um ofurô instalado na neve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prêmio, investidores e viagem à Califórnia

E o júri chega a um veredito: a vencedora do Polar Bear Pitching é a startup Virta, da Finlândia. Os empreendedores arrebataram o prêmio com uma plataforma que fornece ferramentas para operadores de carregamento de carros elétricos.

O vencedor da competição anual sai literalmente do buraco com um prêmio de dez mil euros, além de ofertas potencialmente milionárias de investimentos. Ganha ainda uma viagem de duas semanas ao Vale do Silício, o pólo mundial da inovação – na ensolarada Califórnia.

“Graças ao Polar Bear Pitching, consegui levantar 1,3 milhão de euros em investimentos até agora”, conta o norueguês Didrik Dege Dimmen, da startup FlowMotion, que venceu a competição no ano passado. Didrik, de 24 anos, voltou a Oulu este ano para continuar a promover junto a investidores a sua criação: um estabilizador para a câmara GoPro.

“É um evento extraordinário para encontrar investidores”, atesta Didrik.

Até quem perde a competição pode sair ganhando: o Polar Bear Pitching é transmitido ao vivo para todo o mundo, via internet – sob o olhar atento de investidores.

“A visibilidade global do evento garante investimentos para pelo menos 60 por cento dos finalistas que enfrentam o buraco no gelo”, diz Simo Kekäläinen, um dos organizadores do evento.

Estratégia para superar a crise

Esta foi a quarta edição do Polar Bear Pitching – um evento criado por um esforço comunitário que une voluntários da cidade de Oulu, o governo municipal, empreendedores e a comunidade acadêmica local (Universidade de Oulu e Universidade de Ciências Aplicadas).

Oulu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

É o mesmo esforço comunitário que superou o espectro da crise provocada em Oulu há cinco anos, quando a venda da divisão de celulares da Nokia para a Microsoft levou à demissão de metade dos funcionários da fábrica da Nokia na cidade – além de abalar os negócios de centenas de empresas locais que forneciam serviços à gigante finlandesa.

“Decidimos nos unir para enfrentar a crise”, conta Alpo Marilä, assessor da agência governamental de fomento aos negócios da cidade, a Business.

“Nossa primeira providência foi evitar que os funcionários que trabalhavam em diferentes divisões da Nokia se separassem, diz Marilä. “Assim, criamos as bases para o surgimento de novas empresas startup com know-how específico, a partir de ex-funcionários da Nokia que já trabalhavam em diferentes projetos.

“Fizemos isso com o apoio financeiro das autoridades locais e de investidores privados, em cooperação estreita com nossas universidades de ponta”, acrescenta ele.

A união de esforços em Oulu, que nos últimos anos possibilitou a transformação da cidade em um renovado centro de referência de tecnologia e empreendedorismo, contou com um ingrediente fundamental: a qualidade da educação pública – e gratuita – oferecida aos habitantes de Oulu, que chegam a aprender inglês já na creche.

“A resiliência de Oulu é resultado do caráter nacional e da determinação finlandesa de priorizar a excelência do nível de educação da população”, diz Juha Ala-Mursula, ex-diretor da Nokia e atual diretor executivo da agência governamental de fomento aos negócios da cidade.

A própria Nokia também se reinventou: concentrada agora no setor de infraestrutura e distribuição de dados, a empresa lidera em seus laboratórios de Oulu a criação da quinta geração de tecnologias móveis – o 5G. E fez questão de pôr um de seus próprios engenheiros dentro do buraco de gelo do Polar Bear Pitching.

16 de Fevereiro de 2017

 

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