For today's entrepreneur interview we sat down with Matias Kukkonen and Ossi Numminen of FitWood. FitWood makes ecological and sustainable home fitness equipment that fits every home. FitWood's funding round is currently open, click here to see more.
1. Why did you become an entrepreneur?
Matias: I was after freedom, and I wanted to be able to express myself. I wanted to achieve more than a regular employee normally can.
Ossi: It’s in my genes! Comes from the motherline.
2. What are you like as an entrepreneur?
Matias: I’m goal and growth driven. I want to be a part of something that will make something new, and take me forward as a person. Goal driven describes me pretty well, and I try to be practical — if I have an idea, I just go and do it. Don’t overplan. Ideas come to life in practice, not in the boardroom.
Ossi: Two words — growth oriented.
3. What makes the story of your personal career interesting?
Matias: I ended up as an entrepreneur and for a short time even a poker pro after becoming a sprinter at the age of 23, which led me to the Finnish national level in the 100m. My first motivation to become an entrepreneur was to save time, but that hasn’t been the case for the past several years [laughs].
Ossi: Versatility: combination of experiences in academia, the public sector, entrepreneurship, and venture capital.
4. What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
Matias: Probably getting through the first 3-5 years of Kuntokauppa.fi, my sports retail company, and being successful there. The first years were very tough. I started to focus on the sports business around the same time as the most recent financial crash. During the time I’ve been in sport equipment retail, the failure rate has been about 70% -- it’s a crowded market and not so profitable generally. My career has been a survival story in difficult circumstances.
It’s always interesting, always challenging, and has really developed my character.
5. What is your biggest professional blunder?
Matias: There have definitely been some blunders, but I don’t dwell on them. It’s all a learning process. I will say that the most difficult task has been finding the right people.
Ossi: I could say the same. I had the wrong partners in one company.
6. What is your dream for your company?
Matias: For FitWood the dream is that it will be a global, well-recognized and successful company. I don’t just want to make good products, I want to help people get into a more active lifestyle, so that they feel better in their homes and their bodies. That’s the current dream.
Ossi: I’d like it if FitWood finds its place in the international market and gains recognition in the target community.
7. Who is your role model and why?
Matias: Jesus Christ is my role model. I think he is the best role model for everyone — he did not put himself first, he put God and others first. I like winning, and he’s the ultimate winner [laughs].
Ossi: Not any single one. But I admire Aira Samulin, the Finnish dance teacher and entrepreneur. Already 90, and still going!
8. What motivates you?
Matias: It motivates me to use the gifts that I have and try to make the best out of them. It makes me happy when I see I’ve helped someone else and made the world a little bit better. It’s not really about a big house, nice car, etcetera. Those things are nice, but more than that I want to make a mark on the world that will outlast me.
Ossi: Creating something new.
9. Why crowdfunding and why with Invesdor?
Matias: Invesdor has a process of going into the backgrounds of the companies it works with, so it creates some transparency for us. By using crowdfunding we’re able to gain some publicity in addition to the actual capital we get. Working with Invesdor has been a great experience so far and we share similar values.
10. Why would you invest in your company? Give three reasons.
Matias: Actually, I did invest in this round!
- There is great potential to create a global, profitable business with FitWood.
- We are creating something new in a very traditional industry.
- I really believe in the values in the business and our concept. Sports and working out are close to my heart.