Prönö’s Founder Helene Auramo has some words of wisdom for people looking to launch their own businesses: “If possible, don’t start your company alone. But sometimes it is the only way to move forward. Then you just need to do it. If you are doing a great job, others will follow.”
It can be frightening to start something alone – and often it is scary, crazy and overwhelming.
Then, if things go well, you get to the point where you can hire people (like Helene hired Ella), and hopefully you also bring in some other partners, if the circumstances are right.
And if you are ready to take people in, as partners, that can be a tough situation. In many cases, a business partnership is not going to last. But it is easier if you have already worked together in the past. Then you know each other better, all the good things and bad things. Like in any other meaningful relationship, you need to be ready to be there for the good times and not so good times.
In the unfolding story of Prönö, an exciting thing happened when Kalle and Helene said “yes” to their latest business partnership. So, how did it happen and why?
The story of Helene and Kalle started back in 2015. Helene was looking for a person to launch a video production team for her company Okimo Clinic (now Marketing Clinic). Kalle was recommended by a friend, and after a few meetings, they started to work together. Quite soon after, Kalle became a partner at Okimo Clinic and later at Marketing Clinic.
After Marketing Clinic, Helene wanted to do her own thing, and once she had thought about Prönö to the point that she felt ready to talk about it, she called Kalle to set up a meeting. “I have something I need to tell you. This is the biggest thing I have ever done”, she said on the phone.
But why Kalle?
Helene has a simple explanation for why this partnership made sense: “I think Kalle is smart, creative and nice, and he knows me very well. I love him, because he thinks fast, creatively and is reliable. After talking with him for a bit, I knew that it was time for our paths to join again. I needed to get him onboard.”
But let’s ask the big questions: who is Kalle Kaskinen and why he is a key part of Prönö?
Kalle, Helene says your background is interesting. So who are you?
Kalle: “My name is Kalle. I’m a hybrid of many sorts – a husband, nature-lover, food-enthusiast, visualist, jurist, sales director, creative… the list goes on, but most importantly I’m a prönö. I’ve been a partner at Marketing Clinic and Okimo Clinic.“
Helene: “Kalle’s background is very interesting. If the people you talk to and meet are diverse, you get many new ideas and perspectives. As he has a legal background, I can always ask him for legal advice, but as he is also a very hands-on-creative. He can manage all aspects of production super well too. Actually, I don’t think there is anything he couldn’t do. That is always a good thing in a startup.”
Kalle, you have an interesting background in criminal law, but you have worked in sales and creative sides of businesses too. How have you been able to utilize your schooling background at work?
Kalle: “That is quite true. I have studied general legal studies and specialised in criminal law at the University of Eastern Finland.”
Helene: “Although Kalle has this very interesting background in criminal law, I really hope we will not need to use this expertise in the future! :D”
Kalle: “At the same time I have worked with marketing, content production and visual storytelling for a decade. The creative tasks have always been the part that I really love about my work and the legal studies have made me a structure-loving and argument-oriented worker.
“Being part of sales was also a natural part for me, and working with partners and searching for the best solutions requires a lot of understanding in order to solve the actual challenges they are facing. Understanding the law opens up the possibility to both organise the implementation and negotiate the terms that enable collaboration as fairly and smoothly as possible.”
When did you first hear about Prönö and what did you think about it?
Kalle: “I think the first time was in the beginning of 2020. I had talked with Hele now and then before, but that was actually the time I saw the first pitch deck.”
Helene: “That the pitch deck was just full of ideas, nothing too concrete at that time, but because Kalle had seen my ideas before, I knew Kalle could see further than my sketches.”
Kalle: “And I was blown away by the enthusiasm and passion Helene had in her eyes while she was talking about Prönö.
“She talked about how social media was broken and how we need to fix it. I witnessed the early stages of Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms, and I feel that my networks in these services are not put to their best use at the moment. Let’s take a practical real-life example. Random people ask to join my network, which escalates into a situation where my LinkedIn feed becomes their marketing platform. Where’s the sociality in that media?
“The whole idea that we could actually change the evolution of social media was really inspiring. If we are able to take a few steps back and focus on the things that really matter, like trust, we can take bigger leaps in the future. That is what I feel we’re making. We’re creating a better trust-based network that truly helps people, but we need you all to make this happen.”
You have worked with Helene in the past. Tell us how that was and what made you want to work with her again?
Kalle: “Helene is definitely one of the most inspiring individuals I have ever met and that is the main reason I am eager to rejoin our forces. I feel that our chemistry is excellent, and we complete each other’s way of thinking. Hele has taught me lot, and I really appreciate that she is honest and treats people equally. Those are traits that I value in people a lot.”
Helene: “I am happy and thankful to be teamed up with Kalle, again. Amazing things can happen when we join forces.”
So let’s see how this journey continues. Other partner and advisory board member announcements will follow.
Partner at Prönö