The Boardman Silicon Valley Experience 2023 was an unforgettable adventure, offering growth entrepreneurs and leaders the opportunity to explore trends, innovations, visit companies and meet local entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.



This blog is about the Silicon Valley Experience 2023 program.



Participants had the option to book flights for recommended travel or choose alternative flights. Most arrived well before the official program to explore California.

The day started with breakfast at a local diner next to the hotel. After that, participants joyed a city tour, “Taste of San Francisco Sightseeing,” providing insights about San Francisco’s key attractions with a local guide. It was a perfect introduction to the city and a chance to feel the atmosphere and culture in San Francisco.



In the evening, participants were welcomed to a dinner at Perry’s restaurant, joined by local Finns working in Silicon Valley. The dinner featured inspiring stories and experiences from Silicon Valley, including speech by Mårten Mickos (HackerOne CEO), Senja Larsen (journalist, Helsingin Sanomat), and Risto Lähdesmäki (investor).

Participants enjoyed a delicious dinner, mingled with fellow travelers, and heard about current business life in Silicon Valley.



Monday began with a visit to PwC’s San Francisco headquarter. During breakfast, participants received insights into IPOs and current markets from Alan Jones (Managing Partner, PE Lead, and National TMT Deals Leader) and Eric Watson (Deals Director). They discussed about market developments and future prospects.

Later, participants moved to the Salesforce Tower, where they heard from Lars Schulman (Regional Sales Director) and Bart Panneceoek (RVP Strategic Customers) about Salesforce’s recent initiatives, the role of AI in business growth, and leveraging data and AI for acceleration.



The day concluded with visits to Elo Health and Refood, where participants learned about the growth stories of these companies from Ari Tulla (Elo Health founder) and Kirsti Chou (angel investor) on a sunny terrace.

In the evening, participants had free time to arrange dinner meetings or enjoy the city.



Tuesday started with a walk to Dottir, where participants learned about starting and expanding businesses in the U.S. from Petteri Grohn (Legal Counsel, Startup and venture attorney, Dottir SF), Katriina Salomaa (Paralegal, Dottir), and Roman Lee (Immigration Attorney).

Discussions focused on challenges related to the U.S., such as legal matters and visas.



Lunch took place on the sunny terrace of Ferry Building, followed by a visit to WeWork’s Sales Force Tower, where participants immersed themselves in the Silicon Valley spirit, networked, and heard two fascinating business growth stories from Pekka Pärnänen (COO, Verge Motorcycles) and Juha Lahtela (CEO, Logmore).

In the evening, participants were transported to Palo Alto for a new hotel stay.




Wednesday started at Palo Alto’s Nordic Innovation House, where participants learned about Nordic collaboration in Silicon Valley.

The participants heard insights from Hartti Suomela (Senior Advisor, Startups & Technology & Maritime), Gro Dyrnes (Country Manager XPlora), and Thuong Tan (Noodelist founder).



The day continued with a visit to Google’s office, exploring how the tech giant operates and learning about AI’s future and its potential. Speakers included Antti Järvinen (Country Director at Google Finland), Vanessa Ginman (Customer Experience at Google Maps), Sina Nek Akhtar (Technical Lead at Google), and Erin Drane Kajioka (Head of Applied Game Design at Google Research).



The evening concluded with dinners in small groups with local entrepreneurs, providing more opportunities for networking and discussions on the day’s topics.



Thursday involved a visit to Sumeru Equity Partners, offering insights into the healthcare industry and investing in technology companies from George Kadifa (Managing Director, Sumeru Equity Partners).



Later, the bus transported participants for lunch and a visit to Cisco’s headquarters.

Participants heard the company’s story from Johanna Vihervaara (Sr. Product Manager at Cisco), Pratibha Vishwakarma (Technical Projects Systems Engineer), Reed Kojic (Director, People & Communities), and Jim Grubbin (Cisco Technology Evangelist).



The day concluded with a gathering at Santa Clara’s club, hosted by Pia Falck (Director of Operations at OptoFidelity) and Jani Sarviluoma (Manager, USA Operations at OptoFidelity), allowing participants to hear about OptoFidelity’s operations in the U.S. and enjoy the Palo Alto sunset.



Friday morning started with a visit to Stanford University, where participants gained insights about technology programs and entrepreneurship from Lasse-Mathias Nyberg, a startup entrepreneur with an MBA from Stanford. Nyberg also shared lessons on innovation models.



From Stanford, participants took a shared bus to visit Meta, learning about Meta’s new innovations from Ville Vihervaara (Manager, Customer and Supply Chain Solutions Global) and Irene Hjelt (Head of Global Customer Marketing) and touring the Meta campus. The visit concluded with a shared lunch on the Meta campus.

Next, participants attended the Boardman Grow Silicon Valley Experience wrap-up event, where Risto Lähdesmäki led a discussion on the best takeaways.



The Boardman Silicon Valley Experience 2023 was an unforgettable journey into the world of technology and innovation. Participants had the opportunity to learn, network, and be inspired.

Thanks to all participants and organizers for this memorable experience. The next Boardman Silicon Valley Experience is already around the corner.

Read more and sign up to Silicon Valley Experience 2024 here!

Text, photos and video: Julia Ruotsi