Student journey from a Finnish start-up to San Francisco

From left to right: Brendan Goubin, Ruud Visser, Mikko Virkkilä and Tuomas Ilola.

Ruud Visser is excited! He’s just submitted his thesis to Aalto University and is now on his way to work in San Francisco. “I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurship, that’s why I also wanted to study at the EIT Digital Master School,” explains Ruud. He majored in Digital Media Technology, studied his first year at the Delft University of Technology and the second in Finland at Aalto.

Ruud and his student colleague Brendan Goubin both did their thesis for Nimble Devices, a start-up hosted at the Helsinki Co-location Centre. “I worked on indoor navigation assisted by augmented reality. With this technology the user can navigate inside buildings by looking through the camera of their mobile phone. By displaying the navigation route on top of the real world the navigation becomes a lot easier,” tells Ruud.

Working in a start-up

According to Ruud you often get more responsibility in a start-up and more insight into the company. He is interested in starting his own start-up, therefore more experience is never bad. In Ruud’s opinion focus is very important in a start-up. To keep focus and make decisions on what to do and what not is often very difficult. Nimble Devices is still very small, therefore every employee has many things to do at the same time, which all seem important.

“There are no strict protocols, everybody just does what he thinks is the best. Moreover, the direction of the company shifts all the time. I really like this, because every day is different,” explains Ruud.

Benefits for Nimble Devices

Mikko Virkkilä, CEO of Nimble Devices, is happy with how EIT Digital Helsinki helped him meet Ruud and Brendan. “In September last year EIT Digital Helsinki organised an event where companies and 2nd year students met and we were lucky to get to know Ruud and Brendan, since our interests were clearly aligned,” says Mikko.

“Both thesis provided us with a great amount of insight into their topics as well as brought to the front several new topics of research. The work they did is likely to act as the foundation of some future development within our company. Ruud and Brendan also wrote a business thesis, which allowed us together to delve deeper in non-technical subjects,” continues Mikko.

Bye bye amazing Helsinki, welcome San Francisco

Ruud had a wonderful year in Finland. “I am really positive about Aalto and Helsinki. Helsinki is a beautiful city with amazing people. The campus is close to the city center, so going for a drink in the weekends is no problem!”

Ruud was accepted to an internship programme Startup Life that helps talented people in Finland to get work experience in a start-up in US. Ruud was chosen by a start-up in San Francisco and starts working there in July 2015.

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