After a bad night’s sleep some cold winter day two and a half years ago, the alarm clock rings before six. Taking the yoga accoutrements packed in the evening with me and out of the door as quiet as a mouse before the children wake up. Scraping the iced-up windows of the car and then driving off towards the hall. After the yoga, a rapid shower, clothes on, and then stood still in a traffic jam in a car misted up by the after-sweat. At work after nine, almost on time. Fitting yoga training into everyday life had become a feat in itself and brought as much stress as it took away. This wasn’t how it was meant to be.
When wrestling with the paradox in the morning rush hour, a thought popped into my head. Could you get to the right yoga session without so much trouble and expending so much energy and time on it? If the yoga session came to me instead of me going there, everyday life would become easier and simpler. Perhaps net yoga was the solution.
I started googling and looking for a service that suited me best. All so surprisingly, I didn’t find one. There were some kinds of yoga videos, although not in Finnish, but I couldn’t find real interactive sessions. Strange, because I surely wasn’t the only one to see the benefits of net yoga.
And so what if after all?
One and a half years later I had started out as an entrepreneur. When I had a few free days before me without customer work, I dug up my old notes from the memo book and decided to use a few days to conceptualise the idea. I still didn’t find an equivalent service, so that’s where it started, the thought of Yogaia.
From ideas to action
The next day I happened to bump into someone I knew, who I challenged to think about the net yoga service idea. They said they were going to some start-up event the next week and invited me along. There were dozens of keen budding entrepreneurs at the event and a few mentors. When the time came to let a few willing participants pitch, i.e. present their idea to the audience, I put up my hand and stood up before the audience. I don’t remember much about the speech but the abundant applause and the heap of business cards from those wanting to join up in my pocket made me understand that there was something good lurking within the idea.
After the event, I stayed behind chatting with Jussi Markula. He saw a potential in the idea and after an hour we had greed that we’d go and see together what would happen. The date was the 11th of September, 2013.
Jussi, a serial entrepreneur mentoring start-ups, got me into a fair state of enthusiasm and speed. Two weeks later the first net yoga sessions had been held and the functionality of the idea validated. Before the beginning of October, the first website was up and the first paid sessions had been done. At the end of October, the first investing angel had come on board and there was already more than one person on the team.
Less than a year later, I’m writing this en route to London where we may possibly open up a studio in the near future. The service has already changed its form many times and more functionalities have arrived. In our sessions, we go around the world. We employ more than 20 people, full and part-time. In November, we are going to present ourselves at the globally largest start-up event in Dublin to an international audience. If everything goes well, we’ll be taking Yogaia forward as a global service within the next year with the support of Tekes and private investors.
Well-being for all
Although Yogaia is still very much a work in progress, and will always be, nevertheless we have achieved something. Regardless of what Yogaia grows to become, the greatest pleasure of all is to see so many people getting happy about the same thing that I myself found to be of value. Everyday well-being has become easier and more pleasurable with the aid of Yogaia, Hearing that directly from the customer’s lips feels just amazing.
Mikko, Founder and CEO
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