We’re Henrik Helenius and Johannes Salmisaari the co-founders of Droppe, and we help Nordic manufacturers and retailers to connect with leading European equipment manufacturers via an online wholesale marketplace.
We’ve both been entrepreneurial from a young age – something that led us to meet each other in the end. Henrik started building websites at the end of elementary school and launched his first mobile app in his teens that spread unexpectedly to over 140 countries and half a million people. It showed how inspiring the internet is as a platform for creativity and getting something you built for yourself in the hands of hundreds of thousands of individuals.
Johannes fully stepped into entrepreneurship after becoming an active Aaltoes member. After his time spent leading events in the community, he became a first time CEO to a socially responsible Airbnb hosting startup.
Finland is a particularly fun place to start a company.
We met in Aaltoes during our first year of university, Henrik studying computer science and Johannes economics at Aalto. After spending time together in the student entrepreneurship scene, we decided to create something together.
We initially built our venture as a hackathon project over the weekend to help a few Nordic companies get access to hygienic supplies such as hand sanitiser until we realized the deep underlying issues in the wholesale market and that we could actually help.
So far, we have done three hard pivot’s with our product offering and we have been able to become stronger out of each cycle of change. Now after the first year, we’re serving over 350 companies with their equipment purchases and making their day-to-day purchases smoother.
One of the biggest learnings so far has been that having a strong core team is key. The founding team should be able to overcome – even praise – change, be radically open and help each other grow.
Advice for all entrepreneurial minds: just to go out there.
As entrepreneurs, building together with a very ambitious team and finding the right people to push forward on something you all collectively believe in 110%, is the best feeling. It only gets better with every new client, when you can see clearly how the solution that you have been building with your own hands helps them forward.
Finland is a particularly fun place to start a company. People are willing to help you and give advice if you just ask them. In a small country, everyone is reachable with one email or one call. You just need to dare to ask for help.
For us, Aaltoes, Slush, Junction and similar groups are perfect playing grounds for exploring what kinds of things, solutions and people you enjoy working with. It’s also super helpful to know people that will found companies at the same time as you’re doing it, and getting peer support for similar problems you’re struggling with.
Our biggest advice for all entrepreneurial minds is to go out there, share your vision, ask for help and just keep on building together with paying customers. Good things will come.