Overcoming setbacks & approaching breakthroughs: How being selected to SILTA changed my perspective by Annika Lundström.

Overcoming setbacks & approaching breakthroughs: How being selected to SILTA changed my perspective by Annika Lundström.

I stumbled across SILTA by accident, which now in hindsight couldn’t have felt more right. In November 2023, when I had roughly hit my one-year mark of working on my MedTech startup, ReMinded, I received an email about an introduction session to the SILTA program through my university email (which I rarely use by the way). The statement “transition of groundbreaking research into successful global ventures” was convincing enough for me to join, and soon after, I sent in my application and got accepted.

For a while, I had already felt that Helsinki might not be the place where I could drive operations forward for ReMinded at the pace I wanted, nor did we see the amount of traction needed to sustain it in the long run.

Reflecting on my previous experiences of playing sports at a Youth Olympic level and resiliently working through a health condition that could have led to hospitalization if not managed in time, I know that life doesn’t wait around for you unless you truly go after it. I needed a change of environment, a shift in perspective, and an opportunity that could turn the current struggles with ReMinded into a period of growth and flow instead. So, nothing was holding me back when I left Helsinki Airport.

January 2024 in my apartment in Helsinki, wondering if this SF adventure will be wise to do.

Chasing Milestones Through Uncertainty

My main objectives for this trip were to acquire investments for our Pre-Seed round, establish research partnerships, gain substantial feedback and valuable contacts within the MedTech industry, and incorporate ReMinded Inc. in the U.S. All the goals were met. 

At the same time, I’ve probably never worked harder in my life or faced more discomfort. Managing a 10-hour time difference with the team back home and taking calls at 5 a.m., building a network from scratch while simultaneously knowing that ReMinded would quickly turn into thin air if we didn’t get funded soon, is not the easiest headspace to be in when you are getting dropped off in the Bay Area.

But it is a part of the game when building a startup for the first time, and the risks you need to take to drive progress forward. The biggest shoutout goes to my team and my parents for their immense support and patience throughout this period. It helps when you are surrounded by a team of high-level individuals, willing to face challenges head-on together and fight through various setbacks, alongside having just a few core people in your life who truly believe in you.

As a startup founder, I don’t believe complaining will ever take you anywhere since you have chosen this tough journey for yourself for some excellent reason. Battling through these three months, I’ve constantly reminded myself that if I know I’m doing the correct things, even if it doesn’t show immediate results, it will pay off eventually. And this is exactly the feeling I have as I step on the plane, heading home from San Francisco.

Finding a Community, Bittersweet Realizations & Future Steps Ahead

Seeing a different perspective on how business can be done was an eye-opening experience. In my personal opinion, the biggest differences here in the United States are:

1) the speed of execution

2) level of ambition

3) people’s openness to help or refer you to someone valuable

Hearing how people relentlessly pursue their goals here has been an uplifting experience. Focusing on the success of your own startup is cherished, not seen as weird or as being part of a conceited group of people trying to gain social status (to be honest most of us are just simply ‘nerding’ out on a subject that we truly love). I’ve also noticed that the more you dare to present yourself, the more exposure, leverage, and resources you’ll eventually get here.

Being surrounded by a community of people struggling through similar issues and continuously figuring things out has been the aspect I’ve missed back home. Suddenly, I found myself supported and understood to an extent I didn’t know was possible before, which I highly value.

Finding activites outside of work in the Bay Area has been great and aligned with my lifestyle. I joined a weekly ”plunge club” of startup founders jumping in the ice cold sea each Sunday morning at 8:30am

While I believe the place you grow up in holds a special place in your heart, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be where you thrive the most on a personal level or where you can gain the most traction for your startup’s success. I want to maintain an open attitude toward exploring possibilities and opportunities that are presented to me, which usually requires a new level of discomfort or an extended period of uncertainty.

But that’s the paradox, right? Testing your limits and putting both feet forward without knowing the outcome. So yes, heading back to the Nordics is bittersweet for me. But it’s not for long.

My experience here in SF has definitely exceeded my already high expectations, and I’m eagerly looking forward to coming back at the end of summer to start preparing for our next investment round in the fall and to maintain the partnerships we’ve already established. With the recent success, our team at ReMinded is swiftly moving forward with the technical development of our medical device, aiming to be ready for pilot tests in the behavioural health space to gain pre-clinical data in the fall of 2024.

A huge thank you to the whole team and everyone behind SILTA for providing me with an opportunity that has now led us to be able to move substantially faster, and what might now turn into a long-term adventure for all of us in the U.S. I am truly looking forward to seeing what the future has in store and will continue to take action.

All smiles for the awesome 3 months I’ve had here. Can’t wait to come back and build further success for ReMinded.