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Forward: From living in a van to founding a startup – Marko Reponen, CEO of Neubit

Neubit, a newly founded Finnish startup, develops biofeedback technology to help people thrive in an increasingly demanding and stressful environment – something that might ring a bell with many of our readers as well. The startup’s mission in its core is simple: help people to live a healthier life. This mission has led them to for example collaborate with A-klinikka, a Finnish company known for its services for people with substance abuse or mental health challenges. With A-klinikka Neubit is aiming to find solutions to solving substance abuse, an increasingly important issue around the world.

Neubit’s CEO Marko Reponen was one of the people voted as the most positive Finnish entrepreneur in our Fall survey, and after our interview, I can wholeheartedly agree. And after reading this interview I think you can as well.


What is the challenge that Neubit is solving and why?

Neubit is turning personal biosignal data into actionable insights to change how people think of their wellbeing and health. In a world where health data is easily reachable, the biggest challenge still remains the individual deployment of that information. Seeing your stress level raising doesn’t really help, but actionable insights just might.

In practice, we are developing biofeedback technology that can be used for stress management and cognitive performance improvement – and for example, help with treating addictions which are often related closely to stress.


As a Founder, what is your biggest dream?

As a fan of anecdotes, let’s start this answer with one – a few years back I was working as a raft guide in Nepal, using my days mostly on the kayak. On top of great life experience, I was left with a piece of advice from my then colleague. He told me to “let life surprise you, and let it do so again and again”.

So, honestly, instead of locking the 5-year goals and strict plans, I try to keep my eyes open for life’s surprises and moments. When you’re open to the unexpected, life can bring you something much greater than you could be dreaming of. For me, that greatness was founding Neubit with the help of my team.


Where do you want to be in the next 5 years?

I want to be in a position where I could say that we’ve helped over 100,000 people with Neubit’s products and looking forward to helping millions more. I would also want to see that we’re a responsible, high-growth company.


Where do you find happiness?

I find it in balance. With this, I mean my personal life – I’m known for my constantly smiling face. I also find happiness in constantly challenging myself physically and mentally. For example, a few years ago I signed for a contact improvisation dance course – also known as the deep end of improvisation. Even the thought of attending the dance class completely paralyzed me, which made me do it. In the end though, after six months of intense dancing, I gained so much confidence.


What’s the best thing about the Finnish startup ecosystem?

As Neubit just got started before the coronavirus, we’re yet to experience the full Finnish startup ecosystem – but we’re excited to dive deeper and get to know everyone when the pandemic is over. But even from the outskirts it’s clear that our ecosystem is open and ready to help others when needed. The capability of cooperation should not be overlooked – it’s great. 


I heard you have quite the unexpected Founder journey – care to dish a few words about your van life?

I lived almost a year in a van to make Neubit happen. I was at the end of my studies at Tampere University while the idea behind Neubit started to form in my mind. Because of this, my life was pretty much all over Finland (and sometimes in the valleys of Norway as well). For me, the van life made perfect sense in my situation, where I had the opportunity to wake up in a different place each morning – one morning in the Finnish seashore, next morning somewhere in the beautiful Swedish countryside. 




Forward is a 6-part short blog series highlighting inspirational founders in the Finnish startup ecosystem. In every post, we ask these founders to share their perspectives, hopes, and biggest dreams with others – all in 6 questions. Our goal is to uplift and inspire the ecosystem – now more than ever, we need great, positive entrepreneurial stories that make us look forward to the future. The series is co-created by Slush and Maria 01.


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