Founder Wellbeing: The Importance of Psychological Support - Case Maki.vc

Recognising the significance of founder wellbeing, Maki.vc has partnered with Laavu to offer psychological support to its portfolio company founders. This collaboration aims to provide founders with the necessary tools and resources to navigate the ups and downs of entrepreneurship while prioritising their psychological well-being and performance.

May 22, 2024
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Founder Wellbeing: The Importance of Psychological Support - Case Maki.vc

Understanding the Challenges Faced by Founders

Founders face a unique set of challenges that can take a toll on their mental and emotional well-being. The pressure to secure funding, make critical decisions, and ensure the success of their venture can be overwhelming. Reetta Heiskanen, Head of Platform and Marketing at Maki.vc, emphasizes the importance of psychological and leadership skills for a successful founder journey:

“Understanding one's strengths and weaknesses, as well as being open to addressing difficult topics, are crucial factors in achieving long-term success”

The Winning Recipe: Laavu’s Expertise Combined with Peer Support

Maki.vc’s collaboration with Laavu stems from the recognition of the need for comprehensive support for founders. Laavu's freshness and agility appealed to Maki.vc, leading to the initiation of a pilot program which received positive feedback from coachees. The decision to continue with group coaching sessions was driven by the belief that peer support plays a vital role in the personal and professional growth of founders.

Empowering Founders Through Group Coaching

According to Lotta Tiitto, one of Laavu's Performance Psychologists, group coaching provides a unique opportunity for founders to receive peer support while benefiting from the expertise of a psychologist.

“The sessions enable founders to reflect on their thoughts, emotions, and behaviours, ultimately enhancing their self-knowledge and leadership skills”. 

By participating in group coaching, founders gain valuable insights from individuals who are facing similar challenges, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared experiences.

Jarna Hyvönen, the co-founder of Volare Solutions, and one of the coachees, highlights the value of peer support and professional guidance in Laavu’s group coaching sessions. She emphasizes that the discussions go beyond solely business-related matters, delving into emotional and psychological topics as well. This holistic approach allows founders to address the underlying factors that impact their performance and overall well-being.

The Impact of Psychological Support on Founder Wellbeing

The results of the coaching sessions have been transformative for the coachees. By equipping founders with tools to make changes in their daily lives, Laavu's coaching sessions enable them to align their actions with their values and support their overall wellbeing. The peer support provided in the sessions not only offers validation and empathy but also serves as a source of inspiration for founders facing similar frustrations and challenges.

Jarna emphasizes that the coaching sessions helped her identify challenges, set goals, and achieve lasting changes in her life:

“The opportunity to engage in open and honest discussions with other portfolio-company leaders has allowed me to gain valuable insights and perspectives outside of my usual business-focused conversations”,

By taking a deep dive into their thoughts and emotions, founders like Jarna have been able to develop a greater understanding of themselves and found ways to reach their goals.

A Case Study: Maki.vc & Laavu Performance

The Issue: Prioritizing Founder Wellbeing

Maki.vc recognized the need to prioritize the well-being of their founders, understanding that their success is closely tied to their mental and emotional state. The demanding nature of entrepreneurship often leads founders to neglect their own well-being, which can have detrimental effects on their ability to lead effectively.

The Solution: Laavu's Psychological Coaching

To address this issue, Maki.vc partnered with Laavu to provide psychological coaching for their founders. Laavu's expertise in leadership coaching and their focus on psychological wellbeing and performance made them an ideal partner for supporting founder wellbeing. The coaching sessions offered founders a safe space to address their challenges, gain self-awareness, and develop strategies to enhance their mental and emotional resilience.

The Results: Empowered and Resilient Founders

Through Laavu's coaching sessions, founders like Jarna improved their self-awareness and found tools supporting psychological performance and well-being. They were able to identify and overcome challenges, set and achieve goals, and establish a lasting change in their lives. The peer support and professional guidance provided in the group coaching sessions proved invaluable in navigating the complexities of entrepreneurship.

Another coachee, Maija Itkonen, founder of Onego Bio, emphasizes the value of gaining an outsider's perspective through the coaching sessions. This fresh outlook allows founders to see themselves and their thought patterns from a different angle, enabling them to identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments.

The Value of Psychological Support for VCs

Reetta Heiskanen highlights the value of Laavu's service for venture capitalists. By dedicating time and resources to psychological support, VCs can provide founders with a valuable opportunity for self-reflection and peer support. This support helps founders recognize that they are not alone in their challenges and fosters a sense of community among entrepreneurs.

“By offering comprehensive support, VCs can contribute to the long-term success of their portfolio companies.”

Says the coach and Performance Psychologist Lotta Tiitto,. She believes all VCs who prioritize founder wellbeing and invest in early-stage firms would benefit greatly from Laavu's psychological coaching. In these high-stakes environments, the success of a company often hinges on the mental and emotional resilience of its founder.


The journey of a founder is filled with both triumphs and challenges. Prioritizing founder well-being is essential for long-term success and sustainable growth. Maki.vc’s collaboration with Laavu demonstrates their commitment to supporting founders in all aspects of their journey. Through group coaching sessions, founders gain valuable tools and peer support to navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship. With psychological support, founders can cultivate resilience, enhance their leadership skills, and ultimately achieve personal and professional fulfillment.

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