Interview With Helsinki Discovery Startup Grafetee

The discovery business is a shrewd business these days. It seems every time we go to a pitch event there is the next best discovery app, not to mention the discovery apps we saw at South By Southwest.  Discovery is a hot startup space in the US. It’s also hot in Europe but Helsinki startup Grafetee seems to have a new spin on discovery that should help them pull ahead of some of the competition.

Grafetee isn’t just about discovery it’s also about real world location bookmarking. For instance if you’re out and about and you see an interesting landmark you can find out more about it and bookmark it for later. Grafetee also lets you bookmark websites to comeback to later to actually check out in real life. The founders behind Grafetee seem to have a grasp on not just discovery but that online, real world fusion that a lot of startups are targeting as well.

Grafetee is actually the first discovery app startup out of the 10 person team called Rakettitiede. Grafetee adds in elements of augmented reality to make it easier to share, not just the fact that you’re at the local pub, but that you’ve found a new local pub, museum, shop or other place worth checking out. The team considers it a more data driven alternative to FourSquare.

The Rakettitiede team has attracted the attention of the local police department called the Poliisi who are using Grafetee to increase public safety.

“We’re extremely excited to have the Finnish Police on board. Their testing and the ensuing refinements to the app will help us create truly useful location based services on our Grafetee platform.” The company told

We got a chance to talk to the team. Check out the interview below.

What is Grafetee?

Grafetee  is a mobile app for local discovery and real world bookmarking. It offers you location specific content from multiple sources like Yelp, Foursquare and Wikipedia and even more local sources in some locations. This makes Grafetee a very powerful tool for local discovery regardless of if you’re in your hometown or a new city.

Grafetee also enables the user to bookmark places and events to the app from any website so that if you’re browsing the web and find something you want to locate later when you’re out and about you can just mark it down to Grafetee and it’ll guide you there. No need to register to the website you’re bookmarking from or our app.

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds

Founders of Grafetee are Juha Huttunen, Arttu Ylärakkola and Kalle Lundahn, startup veterans from Finland. We met while doing another startup, Tripsay, and after that founded Grafetee. Arttu and Kalle take care of software development and Juha takes care of the business side of things.

Where are you based?

We’re based in Helsinki, Finland.

What is the startup culture like in Helsinki?

Well, Helsinki is one of the most active startup hubs in Europe, right up there with London andBerlin. Still far away from the Silicon Valley though, but getting better all the time. We’d need more active seed stage investors though.

What problem does your startup solve?

Traditional search doesn’t help you find what is current, interesting and near your current location. We do that. Local discovery is the term usually used. On top of that we enable mobilizing the location based content different organizations have.

What is one challenge that you’ve overcome in the startup process?

We succeeded in securing some very early stage funding to build our prototype. It makes things considerably easier.

Who are your mentors and role models?

We don’t have any specific mentors but do talk a lot to other entrepreneurs to learn and exchange experiences. For role models I guess it depends on who you ask in the team. I personally like Steve Jobs, even if it is perhaps a cliché of sorts. His love for great products and unwillingness to compromise to achieve greatness is something to admire for sure.

Whats one thing the world doesn’t know about you or your startup?

Well, most of the world doesn’t know we exist. Other than that they probably don’t know we’re from Finland.

What’s next for your startup?

We continue adding locally relevant content around the globe as well as try to make the app easier and more intuitive to use. We have a pretty heavy focus on partners as well, so we’re trying to close a few major partners soon. We already work together with the Finnish Police which is great, but we want to continue adding such partnerships elsewhere as well.


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