From the Launchpad to the moon and back – Interview with the winning team of the Moonshot Challenge Competition at FallUP 2018

A few weeks ago, EY participated to Finland’s biggest entrepreneurial event exclusively for students – FallUP. To spar the smart and brave students, we organized for the EY Moonshot Challenge to give them an opportunity to test their pitching skills in a fun and creative competition. After a series of qualification rounds held at the EY Finland head office in Helsinki, the final two teams met each other the day after on the live stage at the FallUP. After the rather demanding grande finale, Aleksi, Sindre and Ahn were the three creative astronauts who won the Challenge. We met them after the FallUP and asked them to share their thoughts about the Moonshot challenge and to give you a few tips and tricks how to become a better pitcher.

Firstly, congratulations on your win! How did you feel after winning the competition?

It was cool to attend for the first time and ultimately win! This competition was a great experience and gave us more assurance on our pitching skills. This was definitely a good experience and we received a lot of valuable feedback on our pitches. We are now more aware that we can also tell effective stories, too.

Sounds great that you learned something during the multiple qualification rounds facilitated and reviewed by our own consultants. From your own perspective, what was your secret formula ultimately to win the whole competition?

We had fun on the stage and we also took it quite easy during the planning and pitching. We concentrated to the output by focusing to speak clearly, slowly and to maintain a good stage presence. This combined with our experience turned to our advantage against the other team in the final, as they seemed to struggle more on the output than us.

You had quite a solid performance throughout the competition and you even improved it in the final. Did you train or rehearse during the night?

As commented previously, we took it quite easy and didn’t rehearse or anything. Two of us (Aleksi and Sindre) knew each other previously, and that helped us a bit to team up for the pitches. Regarding the pitches, we agreed on the roles what each of us would speak during the pitch. In that way, we were more efficient in our time management as the pitches were allowed to be only three minutes long.

As you said that you did not rehearse to the pitches that much, has your background taught you already some lessons on public speaking and pitching?

We all come from different backgrounds – although Aleksi and Sindre are from same university (Aalto), they represent different faculties and Anh is from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. In Aalto, interdisciplinary studies are widely available and it is possible to get hands-on experience on these topics at the university as well. There are no specific “pitch courses” available, but some entrepreneurial courses do include pitches as part of the courses.

Well, I have to say that your performances did not lack entrepreneurialism and drive. What would you describe to be the hardest parts in qualifications and finals? The situations differed quite a bit as the first part was at our EY office in Helsinki and the final happened live on stage at Messukeskus during FallUP.

The time limit made it harder to come up with a coherent story as the words given were not related to each other. Combining unrelated things with known business models is not an easy task, especially in front of the big FallUP 2018 audience. In the short time frame even minor things may feel that they take a lot of time – even handing the microphone to another takes a notable amount of time!

We discussed earlier that you come from different backgrounds, but we also saw difference in the cultures you represent. Did that had an effect on how you teamed up? Were there any cultural barriers?

The start of the qualifications was quite easy as we (Aleksi and Sindre) knew each other from previous occasions. This resulted in a very relaxed atmosphere and presentation in the first round. After Anh was appointed to the group, we opted for more structured way of working and changed our language immediately to English. It was good for the team’s success to get more structure to our work and pitches – combining that with our creativity turned out to be a winning formula J

Indeed it was a winning concept! What do you consider to be the biggest benefits you got from this competition besides the amazing award to Finnkino? Would you do this again, if you were asked to perform again on stage?

The concept differed from other public speaking as it offered unknown challenges along the way. Some of us have already done some public speaking, but this was different to that – but fun at the same time!

Additionally, it was good and also a challenging experience when you are taken out of your old habits – e.g. to a new team and a new situation. Although some of us have some public speaking in school or in other occasions, it was totally different to speak and present your ideas to a real audience. This was so good practice that it would be very useful to attend again in these kind of events!

Great, thanks guys for your time and congratulations again on your win! Finally, what kind of advice would you give to your fellow students how to be a better pitcher?

Especially in a noisy atmosphere, it is good to have the “basics” right. It is important to speak loud and slow enough, so the audience can easily follow your presentation. It is also good to articulate and present yourself clearly and show good energy on stage. If you have somebody to record your presentation, it points out the strengths of your presentation and also the future focus points regarding e.g. body language, energy and the flow of your presentation.


The proud Winners of FallUP 2018 Moonshot Challenge: Aleksi Löytynoja, Sindre Trosterud and Ahn Nguyen.