Celebrating International Women’s Day: Meet The B-School Female Founders

Outi Somervuori went to Aalto University and created Cambri, an advanced, easy-to-use consumer insights, and concept testing tool

Outi Somervuori, Aalto University School of Business, Cambri 

Name: Outi Somervuori

Hometown: Helsinki, Finland

Business Degree: Doctor of Science (Economics), PhD in Management Science 

Why did you choose to study your course at Aalto University School of Business?:

I completed my Master’s degree at Aalto University School of Business. After that, I worked for a few years and grew interested in learning more about pricing. I originally looked for courses to further develop my knowledge, but at that time, I was unable to find a suitable course. A familiar Professor at Aalto University then suggested I should start researching the topic myself, which is what inspired me to apply to become a doctoral student at Aalto University. 

Aalto University offers unique opportunities for students, as well as high-quality education. I had an amazing opportunity to conduct research at Stanford in California, and Aalto has a strong variety of other international collaboration opportunities as well. Building strong networks is also an advantage at Aalto.

Tell us more about your company/organization and what you do: 

Cambri is an advanced, easy-to-use consumer insights and concept testing tool. It empowers brand and product teams to take consumer research in their own hands and innovate in an iterative test-and-learn manner. The teams work with premium quality insights as Cambri’s advanced methods are running under the hood.

The company is of Nordic-origin with teams in Finland, Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands, and Spain. We serve our clients globally.​ Our customers are mainly established international consumer brands such as Nestlé, Danone, Carlsberg, Lantmännen, Fiskars, and Electrolux, as well as innovative start-ups, such as Solar Foods and Oura Health. 

I am one of the founders of the company and my current role is Head of Research. My role, like any other role at a start-up, includes multiple tasks from sales, product development, customer service to HR tasks.

Was it always your goal to found a company?:

I was always fond of the idea of becoming an entrepreneur. Before Cambri, I founded a few companies but struggled to find a team with the same goals and ambitions as mine. What intrigued me about entrepreneurship was the freedom as well as the possibility to decide the values and effort that is put into the company. 

What advice would you have for other entrepreneurial women that want to found a company?:

My advice is to find a good team, test and adjust your offering, and start selling as early as possible. In my previous companies, I have struggled with finding a team that has a shared passion and dream. In addition, it’s important to find individuals in your team that have high skills. 

Once you have an idea, it’s important to be flexible and iterate. You should spar with experts to adjust and develop your idea. The idea should be also tested with potential clients. Some ideas may be wolves in sheep’s clothing, and it is important to find the things that work, as well as the things that don’t work, and develop the idea. 

Finally, you should start selling early on. Even if the product or service is not ready, it is important to start selling to co-creation customers for example to make sure the idea has real business potential. 

As for women more specifically, use your strengths to your advantage. Women tend to be more empathetic, supportive, and collaborative, which are all valuable traits in a leader. Don’t undervalue yourself and your skills, and with good prioritization, you can combine your work with your values, whether it is building a sustainable world or finding a good work-life balance. 

How did your experience at business school help you with your venture?:

Cambri team combines domain knowledge from academia and practice. The Cambri business idea strongly leans on academic knowledge, which I acquired during my time at Aalto. 

In addition, Aalto provided me with a great network of like-minded and hardworking business professionals.

What are your hopes for the future of women in business?:

I hope that women will include their values more in their work, whether it be the environment, family, or hobby. Business should not be only calculative and about hard skills, so I hope women would also help lead the charge to more value-based business decisions.

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