HUMAN-CENTERED INNOVATION
uplifting startups to transform society
Apply here by 27.9

We are seeking startups solving global societal challenges through technology. Here at Vertical, we are all about supporting brilliant ideas and brilliant people to change the world. Our focus is in areas where technology can improve the quality of people’s lives in the most significant ways, such as: wellbeing, health, education, safety at home and at work, and closing the gap when it comes to accessibility and diversity.

A currently trending subject is responsibility within the tech domain. According to the market-research group Nielsen, adults are spending over 11 hours per day interacting with media. Even though mobile technology has vastly improved quality of life around the globe, overconsumption has caused a new societal problem – screen addiction.

Screen addiction has been a highly debated subject for some years now. There is very little scientific evidence that a high amount of screen time causes extensive harm to one’s physical health. However, mental health issues have been proven. Public awareness around the subject has risen in recent years. An increasing number of schools are opting for digital teaching material, and mobile screen technology has turned affordable and accessible. We need to ask ourselves, how can we ensure that future generations don’t grow up to be screen addicts?

Even though screen addiction is widely discussed amongst adults, it’s often over-exaggerated. The signs of a screen-addicted person are very similar to those of, for example, an alcoholic. When a person starts to actively hide their screen usage, feeling a sense of guilt, or making up excuses to look at their screen, signs become more alarming. However, using your phone as a way to escape boredom on e.g. a train ride is in no way a sign of addiction – it is comparable to reading a book or a newspaper.

The most common symptom of too much screen time is lapsing quality of sleep. Especially millennials are having an increasingly harder time falling asleep – the common denominator being extensive screen time. There are some simple fixes to this – turn on the blue light filter of your device, turn down the volume of whatever you are watching, or simply don’t use a media device for some time before going to sleep.

We are offering startups a tailor-made part-time program for validating your product/solution, making your service offering more compelling, and developing a demo with Samsung. All the interaction in this program is designed around the individual characteristics of each startup. Our venture analysts, designers and wide network of experts and industry professionals guide each team on their unique, personalized journey. Throughout the process, our team encourages a human-centric approach: we believe that technological features should be based on the needs of the end user. One-on-one sessions with seasoned technology & business experts will provide you with an opportunity to test and prove your product/solution, polish your service offering, and strengthen your go-to-market strategy, all with the support of Samsung.

Key Dates

The current application period: 1.09 – 27.09

Kick-off workshops in Vertical in Helsinki: Week 39-41 (26.09 -8.10, agreed individually with each startup)

Visit to Samsung Nordics in Stockholm: TBD 

Slush in Helsinki: Week 49 (3-4.12)

This is a rolling application! The new round will be open in October 2018.

Apply here by 27.9






What you can get out of this program will depend on your startup and your product readiness.

High-achieving startups could get:

All participating startups will get:

How does it work?


Step 1
Apply for Human-Centric Innovation support

Step 2 Kick-off workshop with Vertical (Helsinki)

Step 3 Work on improving your service together with Vertical and Samsung (Helsinki or remotely)

Step 4 Present your demo at Samsung Nordics HQ (Stockholm)

Step 5 Possible participation in major international tech conference(s) together with Samsung and Vertical

Step 6 Further collaboration, mentoring and support

We review your progress after each step, to see if you will proceed to the next step of the journey.

Conditions & time allocation

Is your startup a good fit for this program?

Here is the checklist:

To date, Vertical has worked with more than 60 startups from all around the world, helping them to achieve their business goals, create innovative solutions and collaborate with larger enterprises for mutual benefit.








How to apply

Check out the FAQs  below and the Application Form for more information. If you like what you see and find yourself wondering whether you could be among the leading global teams making an impact on society through technology — let us know! We will get back to you within a month after your application is submitted. If we see a good fit, we will invite you for an in-person or video-conference interview.

Apply here by 27.9




Bogdana Gamburg Project Lead, Venture Analyst bogdana@vertical.vc +358 45 112 0064

Pontus Vepsäläinen Senior Service Designer pontus@vertical.vc +358 40 670 0067





Who can apply?

Here is the checklist:

Where and when will the program take place?

We are providing a full flexibility to startups. the program could be taken in Helsinki or remotely with a minimum of two visits to the key events.

Can startups outside of Finland apply?

Absolutely. We and our clients have worked with startups on co-creation projects from all over the world.

What are the selection criteria?

Startups should meet the checklist requirements. We are especially interested in seeing how your technology is unique and how you can make a positive impact on human lives. Make sure to read through the checklist above to see if other requirements are met. 

Who will own the IP?

You. Neither we nor Samsung will have any rights to your IP.

Will it cost me anything?

No. We support startups for free and we take no equity for that. In return, we ask for your dedication, willingness to cooperate, and the ability to follow all the assigned tasks on time.

How many startups will you select?

We only accept a few startups at a time, but the application runs throughout the year. If we see that your startup is a good fit, we’ll make sure that we support you at some time in the future.

When will the next application period be open?

After the application period closes, we will reopen the next one straight away.