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CEO & Founder Helene Auramo:
“Prönö is the biggest, hardest and most meaningful thing I’ve ever done”

Prönö CEO and Founder, Helene Auramo is putting something new and great into motion, and not for the first time. She has been an entrepreneur for more than 10 years, and now it’s time for Prönö, the biggest, hardest and most meaningful thing she has ever done. This superwoman – the real prönö-mama – is on the move again and full of energy to help all the entrepreneurial-minded people out there.

Let’s find out what she has on her mind! We believe she is creating a new world with other prönös. Are you bold enough to have a look into the future? 😉 


Could you tell us about your background first?

I’m a business creative – I have a background in both areas. First, I graduated from Helsinki School of Economics (Master of Economics). Then, I applied to and was accepted by Media Lab (MA, Aalto University). While I did not ultimately graduate, I developed my creativity there and also found the people I started my first company with, Zipipop, the first social media agency in Finland. I’m also Co-Founder of Slush, one of the biggest startup events in the world, and Indiedays, the first blogger platform in Finland.”

And just to mention a few more, last year she ran for the Parliament of Finland, campaigning on the main themes of sustainability and helping entrepreneurs and she was only 500 votes short of winning. She has also completed the “Making corporate boards more effective” course at Harvard and is a board member at the listed company Fodelia Oyj. And the list continues…

At home, speed is not any slower 😀 She has two kids (6-year-old Mila and 4-year-old Uuno), and a husband. Currently, they live in Espoo and quite often spend weeks in Tampere.

Federico Cabrera @As You Are Agency photographing Helene’s Prönö portraits.

How did you become an entrepreneur again?

I realized I was always an entrepreneur at heart after I co-founded my first company when I was about 25. I love to find problems, challenges and solutions. I love to see and think about what is happening and try my best to change the future through my own own actions. 

At the age of 37, I finally found my own purpose and the challenges I want to solve. That revelation became Prönö. 

I think it is the biggest, hardest and most meaningful thing I have ever done in my working life. And every now and then I feel like a crazy person to do this, but I have a deep feeling that I was born to do this. So I had better keep on going.

What has been the best part of creating Prönö?

The best part has been working with the most creative, smart and amazing people. I have learned a lot from them, and I’ve been amazed by their talent. And it has also been a lot of fun.

I especially love the fact that I’m totally free in building this. I can design it the way I think is best. And of course the product itself is designed in the way we think most benefits users. But still, I make sure we do it the best way possible, starting with strong values and our vision. 

I can also see the shift in our world towards companies being more caring, sustainable and fair. It’s not about competition – it’s about collaboration. And now I can build this company from scratch to represent this movement and be an example to other companies.”

What has surprised you?

I think I have been too optimistic in many things. But I’ve also been surprised by how lonely and difficult it was to do this as the only partner/co-founder. Quite early on, I hired Ella Seppälä, Prönö’s first employee, which of course helped a lot – with tackling all the tasks as well as with my mental wellbeing. 

I needed time to build this ship so it could carry more people. I’m happy that that lonely time is over. 🙂 

I was also surprised by all the support I got from people all around me saying ’this is the best thing you have ever done’ and ’you should keep on doing this’. I would never have thought I’d be getting so much support. 

Is there anything you would do differently?

I believe there is a reason things went how they did. I’m happy that I’m now in the place where we are. Because this is not just about business, it has also required me to grow as a person. It took me time to get this project ready and the timing was also better to do this now. We have done a lot of work and research, and some people might say that we did way too much, but I think everything was necessary. So to answer the question, no. I also like to look forward. 🙂 

What has been your most satisfying moment in building Prönö?

After showing the platform to people, I started receiving the best feedback of my career, and the best people were willing to help me. 

I was also so happy when I got grants from Business Finland to develop this.” 

What are your future plans?

Launch Prönö and then a relaunch after relaunching. We will twist it, tweek it, and find the right people to join us. I want to help entrepreneurial people as much as possible. I have been given so much support and love in the past from other prönös (entrepreneurial-minded people) that now it is my time to give back.” 

How do you define success?

I think it is when you feel that you have found your purpose. You can wake up in the morning and feel good about yourself and do what you think is needed. For me, it is living according to my values, being free to do what I want and serving others.” 

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?

The best way is to find the right people who can help you out. I am trying to build Prönö as a platform where you can find advisors, mentors and sparring. So my advice would be to join Prönö. 🙂 

Being an entrepreneur is like riding a rollercoaster, as Ella said in her blog post. You need to be mentally strong. How I see it, the mind is the biggest obstacle. It is so easy to give up every day. So you had better be prepared for starting something that you can give yourself over to – for me, it has been the purpose of Prönö. With a clear focus, you can manage better during the worst days. 

And of course I recommend starting with other great people with the same values. I never planned to start Prönö originally by myself, but it just happened like that.

Helene Auramo
CEO & Founder
helene@prono.fi

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