Prönö’s Ella Seppälä: ”Being the first employee is like sitting in the first row on a roller coaster.”

When you’re starting your own business, one of the first exciting events is hiring the first employee. With Ella, everything happened quite fast after the first meeting with Founder Helene Auramo. The papers were signed within two days, and then she took the bold step of starting work with a company without a website – or anything except big ideas and sharp graphic design guidelines. But now she is also the COO of Prönö.

Helene, before we hear from Ella, can you explain how she became a partner and the COO?

Ella started when we had basically nothing – just the logo from Kokoro & Moi. However, she believed in us – or me. And she decided to take the jump without knowing me at all. I’m so thankful that she did it. She learned quickly and became a big part of Prönö. And I couldn’t think of Prönö without her.”

We decided that it would be fair to ask her to join as a partner. At the same time, we also looked at her title and what she had done – which is basically everything – and we decided COO would be a better title for her. And since we are now growing, that position would be available. I’m happy she accepted it. 

I believe that people who do a good job should always be rewarded. That is fair. 

Ella, what has been the best thing about working at Prönö?

Joining this startup was one of the boldest and best steps I have taken. When I first met Helene, there was no clear plan about what Prönö would be, but the idea behind Prönö was so absorbing that I felt I had to make that big move. Some might have thought I was a bit crazy, but I’m glad I said YES to Prönö.

When working at Prönö (and with Helene in particular) you can’t avoid all the positive energy, curiosity and enthusiasm in the air. Even for an anti-morning person like me, it is always nice to come to work because you never know what that day will bring. That is one big reason I love working at Prönö. Of course, there are tough days too, but our bad jokes make those days better. Humor is standard equipment in our survival kit.

Photo by Kasperi Kropsu

Ella, what have you learnt?

A lot. Being the first employee is like sitting in the first row on a roller coaster. You can really enjoy the speed and the bumpy road in the front, but you still never know what is coming next. Creativity and new skills are truly tested when always searching for fresh ways to tackle the challenges ahead.

I have learned so much from all the different aspects of business: about marketing, social media, branding (thank you Kokoro & Moi), HubSpot, product development, communications, strategy, values, mission and vision. And the list goes on. At Prönö, you can learn every day if you want to. 🙂 

What has been the worst memory?

Covid-19 changed our days, as it did for people in every company. Carrying our screens to our home offices didn’t make me jump for joy. But after a few days, things started to get rolling almost normally. Such a small team – of just two – was pretty easy to handle and organize though 

How do you see the future of Prönö?

We dream big at Prönö. There are crazy ideas and slightly less crazy ideas that have been thrown in the air. It is amazing how you can stretch the idea behind Prönö into so many concepts. I can’t wait to see which ones see daylight in the coming years.

In the near future, I see our team growing and new teammates arriving regularly. I hope Prönö can be a place for others to learn and boldly try new things, like it has been for me.  

Photo by Kasperi Kropsu

Describe your normal day.

‘Normal’ is not the first word I have in my mind when thinking about my work. As I have said before, there have not yet been two similar days. There are many different hats you have to wear in an early-stage startup. But that keeps my mind fresh and the ball rolling, which suits me!

And now it’s time to head to the next un-normal day at the Prönö office!

Ella Seppälä
Growth & Marketing Specialist
Prönö Oy

Psst. Did you get the impression that you might be a good fit for Prönö? Be a Prönö and send us your open application at info@prono.fi.


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