More well-being, less sitting down

Oct 25, 2021

Cuckoo was born out of a random exercising session. The growth entrepreneur believes in the international opportunities of the well-being business and is not afraid to take risks.

Cuckoo, operating in the field of well-being at work, is growing rapidly. Although the speed and goals are high, CEO Veera Lehmonen’s head is not spinning. She says that high-growth entrepreneurship suits her.

– “I dare to take risks. I’d be more afraid if I stayed put.”

Established in 2014, the company grew by 77% last year, reaching a turnover of over one million euro for the first time. More than 21,000 people are using Cuckoo’s gamified app, which reminds them to take breaks and exercise during the working day. Exercising is rewarded and companies can compete with each other in staying active.

Veera Lehmonen made a bold transition from a student to an entrepreneur when she came across an interesting business opportunity. An office workout routine, which was spontaneously created with a colleague, introduced joy and energy to the working day and improved team spirit. The mission of Cuckoo, which was born out of a workout session, is to get people to stay active and to do small, smart things in their everyday lives to increase both well-being and communal spirit.

Building a business together with customers

Veera Lehmonen

Veera Lehmonen

In order to set up the company, Veera Lehmonen took out a personal loan, which was guaranteed by her parents. In addition to funding from Business Finland, investors are accelerating the journey of Cuckoo.

– “We have had two funding rounds, as a result of which we received 300,000 euros from angel investors,” Lehmonen says.

– “Obtaining funding is a huge success. It’s a sign that someone believes in you.”

From the outset, Cuckoo has been built together with customers. Veera Lehmonen sees it as one of the key success factors and she encourages launching to customers as soon as possible.

– “It’s not worthwhile to harbour your product for too long. It’s easier to get funding when you can show at least some kind of sales. On the other hand, sales give you confidence. When you land the first customer, the threshold for landing the next one is much lower.”

Finding the right people

Finding the right people is one of the greatest challenges of being a CEO, according to Veera Lehmonen. Cuckoo has a total of 15 employees, and she is thrilled to witness their successes.

Veera Lehmonen

Veera Lehmonen

– “In a growth company, we are constantly learning what kind of skills are needed. As the company grows and needs change, people have to grow with it. Sometimes it can be agonizing.”

In entrepreneurship, Lehmonen is motivated by the opportunity to make a difference and change the world. She wants to make people’s lives and working lives happier. Having fun and avoiding being stationary are an integral part of both the Cuckoo brand and Lehmonen’s mindset.

The company is in the scale up phase and has been included in Business Finland’s Young Innovative Company programme. It helps in developing international business and accelerating growth.

– “It was one dream that come true. Another one was appearing in morning television. We’ve been there seven times now. In the future, I want to see Cuckoo on the big screens in Times Square,” Lehmonen says.

Veera Lehmonen’s tips for an entrepreneur’s well-being

  • Think about what kind of entrepreneurship suits your level of ambition. Not everyone needs to be a growth entrepreneur.
  • Try to find a balance between work and leisure time.
  • Learn to say no and to let things go.
  • Define your own role in the company.
  • Daily and weekly to-do lists help you see successes.
  • Take enough breaks during the working day to exercise at least a little. They give you energy and also improve your sleep.
  • Improve your well-being with small, regular actions. Do not bite off more than you can chew.
  • Go easy on yourself; tomorrow is another day.

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