Changing our mindset from owning to borrowing
Hey there, this is Emily from Red Brick. Welcome to “Founders’ Stories” series, where we celebrate and showcase different startup founders who were taking part in Red Brick Accelerator. Hope you enjoy reading them!
The idea of entrepreneurship wasn’t new to Antti; it was something he thought about since high school. However, taking the step towards becoming a startup entrepreneur happened after taking a survey for Kimi Siefen’s thesis — his co-founder, and that was the initial sparkle. Together with Aukusti Eskola and Nea Liikamaa, they form Lainappi’s core team.
For the Lainappi team, their main goal is to develop an easy and sustainable way of renting everyday items.
We sat down with Antti who gets real about his startup life, the journey so far, and the green values Lainappi stands for.
Emily: How was the Lainappi team formed?
Antti: In 2020, Kimi, Lainappi co-founder, was writing a thesis about renting household items in Finland. The objective of the thesis was to figure out if there is a potential of individuals interested in a renting application. I took part in his survey, and so did our other co-founder, Aukusti. Both Aukusti and I found the topic very relevant, and we excitedly hopped on to provide a solution for the problem Kimi was exploring in his thesis.
Nea joined a bit later. She herself had a similar startup idea called bowit, “borrow it” shortened. She wrote us a very interesting email, and we could see that we shared the same vision and values. That’s why she is a valuable addition to our team!
As for the name, “Laina” is Finnish for borrow, and “appi” is short for application. If translated, Lainappi would be “borrow-app”.
Emily: Sounds like a values-driven project. What about Kimi’s thesis topic resonated with you?
Antti: I’m not a hippie, but I do have green values. Our planet has limited resources and the biggest problem I see is people going nuts and buying more and more. It looks like consumers want to buy all the time and I think it should stop.
I believe that our planet has limited resources. There is no benefit from over-consumption. We’re normalizing renting and borrowing.
There is no need to always buy something new. Sometimes, renting is enough.
Whether it’s for temporarily testing equipment, using tools, or even occasional clothes — renting is sustainable. People can also earn money by leasing items they are not using. Lainappi provides a safe space for a circular and sharing economy, while steering away from overconsumption.
Emily: Could you tell me about the highs and lows so far? How has the journey been?
Antti: There are a lot of those. Sometimes bigger highs, and sometimes bigger lows. Usually, there are quite many lows in a row, and then you get one high that makes it worth it. So, you enjoy it as much as possible, and then the cycle continues.
There are a lot of things happening behind the curtain that people don’t necessarily see. You mostly show the positive achievements. But what people don’t know is how many “no”’s you had to go through… before getting that one “yes”. That’s why you make sure to enjoy that Yes, because you know it’s going to get windy soon.
You learn during the process. In the early stages, it gets mentally challenging. It’s not for everybody. It requires setting up the right mindset. But once you accept it, you go with the flow.
What I love the most is the experience. Learning new things, a lot of new things, and growing at the same time.
Creating solutions that work makes all the lows worth it. From a customer perspective, being able to make a product that people use and then getting good ratings and feedback give us the motivation to keep going.
Emily: What is the team’s secret sauce?
Antti: Open communication, shared values, and finding harmony. One very important thing is not to give up. We move together towards a goal or a vision in harmony and accept compromises if they come. Even if things don’t go exactly as planned, the most important things are the journey and destination, and you will make it if you don’t give up.
Emily: What would be your advice for first-time founders?
Antti: Follow your intuition. Go and do it. First-time founders should jump in and enjoy the ride.
Emily: How did participating in a startup accelerator help you during your ride so far?
Antti: Red Brick came into the picture very early on, in 2020. We had a prototype at that time, and Red Brick gave us the tools and what to focus on as a next step to prepare for the MVP.
Emily: When not working on Lainappi, what do you fill your free time with?
Antti: I like golf. I do some fishing occasionally. And hanging out with friends.
Emily: Do you have a favorite startup quote?
Antti: Selina Kustula from Red Brick posted this meme once on Linkedin. It had a picture of three people driving a car, and it said, “It doesn’t matter where we are going, as long as we’re moving on.” The timing of Selina posting this quote was spot-on, it was really needed.
Red Brick Accelerator is supporting the growth of early-stage startups, ready to make an impact with their ideas. Check out the programs from our website and apply now!💚