Getting ready for TINC Spring 2017

By Katja Kotala, Community Coordinator and Program Manager at Nordic Innovation House

Picture: TINC Spring 2017 participant companies at the kick-off event in Oslo, Norway


This is what we've been waiting for...

The sun is out and flowers are blooming, this must mean it is spring - TINC Spring 2017! In a week Nordic Innovation House is going to be buzzing with an energetic group of Nordic entrepreneurs who are ready to make a difference. They have done a lot of work to be here, but the best (or worst) is yet to come. TINC is an intensive 4-week accelerator program, designed to take Nordic startups for a ride after which they will never be the same.

 

“It’s like a crash-course for startups”
“It influences your mindset and energy”
“Nothing seems impossible when you’re here”

 

These are just some of the ways previous TINC participants have described the program. We see it everytime, the entrepreneurs get pumped up with the Silicon Valley vibes and go through a transformation of bringing their product, business, and mindset to the next level. Nordic Innovation House serves as a hub for these innovative ideas, and we are always excited to get the TINCers distrupting life in Palo Alto. If you have a Nordic startup and want to join the fun, apply for the TINC Fall 2017 here: http://www.nordicinnovationhouse.com/tinc

Meet the startups

Here are short introductions of the nine amazing TINC Spring 2017 companies. Rest assured, you will be hearing a lot more about them during the upcoming weeks - not to mention once they have taken over Silicon Valley!
 

 

1928 Diagnostics’ SaaS is a one system approach for hospitals to trace and diagnose antibiotic resistant bacteria. The SaaS ALEX revolutionizes infection diagnostics by enabling complete diagnosis in hours instead of days or weeks. www.1928diagnostics.com

 

Authenteq eliminates identity fraud and scams online by issuing you a government grade biometric digital passport on your smartphone. The Authenteq ID is kept on the blockchain and only the user has access to it. The user has total control and ownership over his own ID and data.

 

Data Dwell equips sales teams with enablement tools to close more deals. Data Dwell provides sales reps with the automated intelligence to match the most targeted marketing collateral at each stage of the sales cycle.

 

Mavenoid helps organizations troubleshoot machines in minutes, with super-human accuracy, by combining sensor data with asking people intelligent questions.

 

Shoreline automates their customer's mission critical daily operational planning with their smart AI platform, increasing profits by millions of dollars every year.

 

Smart Plants is a full-stack IoT company working with industrial IT-solutions. They empower buildings owners to make better business decisions by collecting and processing data that already exist in their physical assets.

 

Vibble is a music app that helps people stop listening to music and start playing with it. Vibble let's you add cool sounds and effects from popular artists and genres, mix between songs and have fun with your favorite playlists, just by swiping a finger.

 

Winningtemp is an app that visualizes people’s development and wellbeing in an organization. By using artificial intelligence Winningtemp can identify and intervene stress, anxiety and depression. Winningtemp helps managers to save time by getting insights on what to prioritize in their leadership.

 

Wiral is making amateur filming look professional, by introducing new angles to filming in challenging environments. This camera system runs on a rope with the help of an remotely controlled motor. It gives you close up, follow camera shots in locations where drones are impractical, dangerous or worst case illegal. Wiral helps action sport athletes and videographers capture their most extreme moments in a dynamic and easy way.

 

Stay tuned to follow these amazing companies as the program goes on!

Traveling Sauna and the Ambassador of Finland Kirsti Kauppi at Nordic Innovation House

By Thuong Tan, Director Tekes Silicon Valley

@TeamFinlandSiliconValley

Traveling sauna blog pic 2.jpg

Finland celebrates 100 years of independence in 2017 with centennial events throughout the United States. On March 27th, Ambassador of Finland, Kirsti Kauppi welcomed the crowd to experience Sisu Traveling Sauna and celebrate Finland’s centennial year at the Nordic Innovation House in Palo Alto.
 

There were almost 100 people who gathered at Nordic Innovation House to hear about Finland’s 100 year journey and where it is going next - speech given by Ambassador Kauppi. Finnish delicacies such as Karelian pies, salmon pie and cream puffs were served to boost up the Finnish vibes.
 
Sisu was parked in front of the Nordic Innovation House, accompanied by local Finnish startup community’s own Silicon Valley Sauna Bus. Team Finland Silicon Valley managed to host yet another event without a visit by City of Palo Alto’s police or fire departments - despite the smoke coming from the saunas and all the people in the street wrapped only in towels. It might have helped a bit that one of us invited the fire marshal to attend the event while in line for coffee at Coupa Café.
 
The Traveling Sauna is a centennial mascot that travels across the entire continent, from West Coast through Mid-West to East Coast, over 12,000 miles in one year. Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi inaugurated the sauna in January in Minneapolis. The project is executed by Ice Cold Marketing representatives Jouko Sipilä and Risto Sivula. The sauna is built and donated by the Finnish-American company TyloHelo, one of the world’s leading sauna manufacturers.
 
The sauna includes a shower, changing room, front porch, as well as a wood-burning sauna stove and it fits up to 5 people. Companies can reserve the sauna for private events, and the general public has an opportunity to bathe in the sauna during many centennial events throughout the country. Besides in Palo Alto, Sisu was also in Albany, Sonoma and San Francisco while in the SF Bay Area.
 
You can follow the sauna’s journey on social media by using @TravelingSauna.
For more information about the sauna and its route, as well as pictures of the sauna, please visit: http://www.travelingsauna.com/ and http://travelingsauna.blogspot.fi/
Press inquiries: Chief Sauna Ambassadors Jouko Sipilä and Risto Sivula, info@travelingsauna.com, tel. +1 (203) 918-9920 or +1 (651) 278-1398

New Cleantech Initiative for collaboration between Silicon Valley and the Nordics

By Katharina Paoli, Program Manager for Nordic Cleantech

Photo: Thinkstock

Photo: Thinkstock

The Nordics are ranked as global leaders on innovative climate solutions and sustainable development. The five countries of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland are home to one of the most forward and innovative cleantech sectors in the world. Thanks to close collaboration between industry, academia and government the Nordic cleantech sector is blooming and features an innovative and attractive opportunity for international collaboration and growth.

Nordic Innovation House are happy to announce that we will be launching a new Cleantech Initiative 2017.

The new program aims to promote and strengthen Nordic cleantech solutions connecting the Nordic ecosystem for cleantech with Silicon Valley.  The Nordic countries have over the years many times sought to join forces rather than just act as individual nations when promoting our countries in the Bay area.

By focusing more industry specific we hope to form a collaborative platform for Nordic Cleantech and leverage the impact and opportunities for business, innovation, networks and growth. Both for Nordic cleantech startups, the Nordic cleantech industry, government supported initiatives and the ecosystem surrounding it all.

Would you like to take part? We are open for ideas, collaboration and to hear how we can support you. Please contact us for more information and join our facebook group link to join the network.

Contact our Program Manager, Katharina Paoli for more information. paoli.katharina@gmail.com
+1 408-610-0336 
+46 (0)31-3609009

#NordicMade GDC Breakfast: The possibilities of E-Sport

By Per-Arne Lundberg, Senior Wallenberg Fellow at Nordic Innovation House

GDC Breakfast pic.jpeg
 

Nordic Innovation House gathered up at K&L Gates San Francisco office for our annual #NordicMade GDC Breakfast, on Tuesday, February 28th. The topic this time was E-sport and the lineup was amazing, both from the audience and panelist. Over 120 people, not counting the panelist had registered to take part in the breakfast.
 
E-sport is not just showing signs of a global mainstream market, it is growing uncontrolled. Media rights for broadcasting the sport are projected to 7-fold within 4 years. Non-endemic brands like Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas are signing sponsorships with teams, leagues and events.
 
All these signals are showing that we are in for a disruptive moment. Traditionally the normal viewer of sports is considered to be a formal practitioner of the sport itself. This won't be the future. Now we will see more people than ever both engaged in spectating as well as active practitioners. Studies have shown that more than 60% of the spectators are active players themselves. This is way higher than for the average sport spectator. In addition, there are trends like Paris SG and Dallas Cowboys moving in and acquiring their own teams in the household E-sports names like League of Legends (LoL) and Defense of the Ancient (DOTA).
 
Asia being the biggest player in E-sport isn't actually a shock to anyone. E-sport has been relevant industry for well over 10 years in Asia, but it is interesting to see that this will shift when it comes to revenue. The US is estimated to be the largest monetary market - still outperformed by Asia in headcount of course.
 
With this back drop, Patrick Walker from Eedar entered the scene with absolutely latest data from VR / AR and E-sport. Besides the usual run downs in numbers, Eedar also confirmed that VR didn't take off in 2016 and the projections for 2017 are probably still too high, waiting for that killer app to boost the hardware sales. As a side note, less than 30 VR games on Steam has generated more than 250K USD in revenue!
 
Veli-Pekka Piirainen and Juri Juskevits from Critical Force gave us a good overview on the industry focusing on their awesome growth and scaling, with the closing quote on E-sport: “It will be huge”!
 
Tom Giardino and Erik Peterson from Valve held a discussion on their new Steam Direct-service. They have an interesting idea of letting game developers “buy” a timeslot that will guarantee a release. The flipside of this is that for quite a big audience the threshold to afford this slot might be too high. As a consequence, we will most likely see less games published on Steam. Is it good or bad? In my opinion, it could be bad for the early independent game developers out there, and maybe good for the some that can afford it. Steam has never considered having too many games in the store a bad thing. Or as Tom said it: “You’ve never heard of a library that has too many books - have you?”
 
A closing panel with Tim Ebner from Supercell, Heini Vesander from Super Evil Megacorp, Rickard Frisegård from Stunlock Studios, Siw A. Hødnebø Espeland from Encircle Games and Patrik Nybladh from Gumbler talked enthusiastically about the challenges and upsides on E-sport. All of course convinced that E-sport will conquer the world. The entire panel shared the belief that the challenges for any E-sport startup is the same as for any game startup. It is a game about customer acquisition, customer retention and monetization.

Feminism 4.0

By Anita Krohn Traaseth (CEO) and 40 female colleagues at Innovation Norway. 

Photo from original article in Norwegian VG.

Photo from original article in Norwegian VG.

For the twelfth consecutive year UN reports have shown that Norway is the best country in the world in which to live. We top the list of countries that are ranked by the possibility of a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and standard of living. In 2016 we came second best in The Economist's glass ceiling index, which combines data on higher education, labour force participation, wages, child-care costs, maternity leave, paternity rights, representation in management positions and more. 

These indicators tell what generations of Norwegian women and men, politicians and organisations have fought for, not only ensures the rights of women in Norway and the strength of our economy: it puts Norway in a unique position.  It is a competitive advantage. 

Feminism has never been "just a women's thing". 
In Norway, we have to a large extent basic rights and conventions in place. This is something that so many other countries lack. But it is not that long ago that women in Norway could not vote or matriculate. A completely unimaginable scenario for our daughters. We should consider the story of Ida Cecilie Thoresen. After attending Nissen Girls School until 1879, she wanted to take the examen artium (the qualifying exam for admission to university studies), but it was not possible as women were not admitted to universities. She then applied to the Ministry of Church Affairs for admission, but was refused. She allied herself with the left-wing politician Hagbard E. Berner, who proposed a private bill in the Norwegian Parliament.  On March 30, 1882, the law was passed and in the same year Ida Cecilie took the examen artium with honours. Hagbard Emanuel Berner was also one of the people behind the foundation of Norway's oldest feminist organisation, the Norwegian Association for Women's Rights (NKF), which was established in 1884. Along with Gina Krog he brought together 171 famous women and men, including five Norwegian prime ministers,to, "work for securing the future rights and place of women in society". One of our greatest feminist heroes, Betsy Kjelsberg, was very engaged in economics and leadership. She was not only involved in establishing voluntary associations, but also made the decision to take on senior management roles in the public sector. In 1909 she became Norway's first factory inspector.  She had both domestic help and childcare for her six children. 

None of this would have been possible without strong pioneering women in collaboration with powerful men in established positions and at home. Feminism has always been about cross-gender collaboration. It has never been just a "women's thing".

Are we done with equality and feminism in Norway?
It takes generations to shape and change women's social roles and status in society.  This includes Norway, where on paper we have largely adapted. We are still stuck in gender roles that mean that after finishing education we make traditional employment choices. Norwegian women take more sick leave than men and work more part-time. This has consequences for the Norwegian economy.  Very few choose to go into senior management or follow a path in investment or entrepreneurship.  We lack women with decision-making and investment power in the private sector.  It has consequences for the balance of power in society.  Norway is also a society that is constantly evolving, where we are welcoming new girls and women from very different nationalities and cultures who also get the same basic rights that all other women in Norway already have. Their struggle to live out these rights is also our struggle. 

What does feminism mean in 2017?
“The most dangerous thing we do is to define feminism as a term applicable to all with content defined by few”, wrote one of my female colleagues when I asked what feminism means to them personally. I could have asked men too, but fell straight into the trap, of thinking that this is about women's views. We are still there.  It is women who are interviewed on the front pages of Norwegian media on women's day; very few men.

- “Feminism in 2017 must be understood in the context of many individual cases, moving forwards step by step.It's not about the one big campaign alone, we have many small, important steps to go now”, said one colleague. 

- “Feminism is to see the world through glasses that do not distinguish between genders”, said another, “And the most important thing we can do now is to teach our children to have this as a fundamental attitude.”

- “Not going back on the struggle for women's rights and the rights that women before us have fought for, is one of our most important tasks. It is everyone's responsibility to vote, raise their hand, and show that someone cares about the way the world goes”, said a colleague.

None of my colleagues disapproved of the term feminism. But some believe it is more difficult for them to be engaged than it was before. This is both because the fundamental struggle for voting rights and the right to education has been achieved, but also because it is perceived as if the debate is reserved for the few, and to bring in their own "wrong" perspective is a risk. Therefore they stand back.  


So what do we do now from a feminist 4.0 perspective? Here are seven suggestions from my colleagues:

1. Each of us must take responsibility ourselves. Both in our choice of career and in everyday life. We must escape the control many of us still face both at work and at home. Drop your shoulders. Lead forward with ambitions, emerge from the "comfort zone" and sign up for demanding tasks and roles.  

2. Each one of us also has a responsibility to share with our children as early as possible, what Norwegianfeminist history has given us and the shoulders we stand on. 

3. We have legislation and basic rights in place in Norway. But not all women in Norway are experiencing this in their daily lives.  

4. Let more men participate in the debates; let them speak as leaders, investors, directors, grandfathers, fathers, brothers, husbands. 

5. "Senior management feminism" must also be socially acceptable. It is about power-sharing. 

6. Accept that different countries have not come as far as us and that our solutions are not necessarily the right ones for all countries. 

7. We have to move forward and set a good example. 

We are constantly striving to move forwards in our own organisation. We have 54 percent women in the entire company and 50 percent in senior management. 26.5 percent of our colleagues originate from a different country. On March 7, Innovation Norway enters for the first time a global innovation partnership with UN Women and on March 8, we are promoting female technology entrepreneurs with the prize Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Trondheim. 

But we also have areas for improvement.  We can use our international offices as ambassadors for value creation amongst women. According to McKinsey, full female participation in the labour market could give rise to a global growth of up to 26 percent by 2025. We can also introduce better rights ourselves, especially in countries where local laws do not provide good rights in connection with maternity leave. 

It is a commitment to be a world leader on feminism and gender equality. We must also move forward and demonstrate equality. We really only have to listen to our own king, said a colleague: 

"My greatest hope for Norway is that we will take care of each other. That we will continue to build this country - on trust, fellowship and generosity. That we shall know that we - despite all our differences - are one people. That Norway is one,” and maybe we can dare to add: That the world is one.

Expansion part 1: Before you go

Guest Blog Post by Carl Fritjofsson in Creandum
fritjofsson.com | @fritjofsson | @creandum

This post was originally posted on fritjofsson.com/blog.

Starting a company in Europe comes with its particularities. Many of the domestic markets are not large enough for big ideas, and European entrepreneurs generally quickly think about expansion and internationalization. This is especially true in the Nordics. And when it comes to expanding your tech startup, the most important market for many of us is still 🇺🇸 . Partly because of the commercial appeal of a large (and reasonably) homogeneous market with high purchasing power, but more importantly because it’s the home of most major tech platforms and dependencies. At Creandum, we have seen many times that in order to become the world-leader in your domain, you need a US presence in one shape or form. This is why parts of our team, including myself, are based in the San Francisco Bay Area where we can support our portfolio on the grounds and tactically help you grow your business into this market.

Having scaled Wrapp into 18 markets across the globe myself, as well as getting inputs and leveraging insights from our awesome portfolio founders and friends, we have been fortunate enough to have learned a couple of things along the way. And since we invest a lot of time on this topic, in a 3 blog series during the following couple of weeks, I’m going to share some of the learnings and best practices to think about when expanding your company and setting up operations abroad. The structure follows a timeline and things to consider before, during and after you set foot into another market. The outlook is expanding from Europe and setting up operations in the US, although I believe most of these learnings may work just as well when entering into any foreign market.

This post is probably the most important one — 5 things to think through and do BEFORE you make a decision and start your expansion.

❓Understand why. First of all understand that splitting up a company across multiple locations adds A LOT of complexity. Therefore it’s not something to take lightly. Don’t be vain, and just expand for the sake of expansion. Instead try to figure out what part of your business goals you cannot accomplish from your local market. What can you achieve from home? Why do you even need to expand? Are you truly a company who needs local operations or can it be managed centrally? Why do you want to go to US and not China? With global distribution channels available from anywhere, many startups can come a long way and establish a large international customer/user footprint from their domestic market.

📆 Decide when. But many of us have international ambitions from the get-go with a business requiring local operations. In such cases you instead have to start considering the timing. Don’t expand too soon. Many companies who are successful in early fundraising fall into this. I did it with Wrapp. Finding the perfect timing of your expansion is a combination of product-market-fit, organizational maturity and financing. Until you have truly proven product-market-fit with sales or user growth, there’s no reason to start thinking expansion. The reason is simply because you don’t know your business and its requirements well enough yet. With traction the benefit is that you will have data and fundamental understanding about your business, but it also help guide your prioritizations. Huge customer interest from Germany, none in the US. Where do you go? Data is reliable, and can help your decision making. Furthermore, make sure your home market’s organization is ready for expansion. Any expansion should be spearheaded by senior leadership (more on that below), which means you have to ensure that your domestic organization is able to run day-to-day ops when such leadership go elsewhere. Organizational empowerment and a fair amount of processes and structure is key. And finally, setting up international operations costs a lot of money (especially in the US). Make sure to have the financing needed. Don’t expand with a slim wallet expecting to raise money in your new geography. Make sure you have enough runway to take a real stab at it, and prepare minimum 6 months before seeing any business impact. Create a budget, and multiply it with pi to get a rough estimate.

👉👈“Feel it out”. There’s a lot you can do before you actually move over to a new market. You start by going there…not once but many times. We see this a lot in Silicon Valley where people from all over the world frequently and regularly come here to network, learn and even grow their business before they have set up any local operations. The great thing about the Bay Area is that people are very helpful, and truly wants to help you if they can. And the unique thing about the Bay Area is that you have people who have done and seen it all. Also being an immigrant is part of America’s DNA, meaning it feels really natural to connect with people here. So get on a plane and start building your network and business before expanding. Go to your target market at least every quarter. Meet with your potential partners, investors, customers and even competitors. Start to understand the market in depth. Find out how it is different from your home market, because it will be. Understand what the major challenges in your new market are. The ambition is to learn and to gain momentum locally, so you can hit the ground running once you set up shop. Pro tip in case you’re visiting the Bay Area on a budget, is to get a motel close to the airport (right in between San Francisco and Silicon Valley) and rent a car. And when you do hit me up and let’s connect!

🙋 Decide what and who. As soon as you set up a new location, you will have two teams and they will from day one start growing apart. To manage this you will require strong leadership in the new location, ideally one of the co-founders. By moving one or several people from the management team you also help bridge the cultural gap that will exist, and it signals importance of the expansion to the domestic team as well as builds trust between the offices. Don’t feel like you should optimize to move people over to the new location because of their domain expertise about the market. It is much more important to have someone leading on site that knows the company, than someone that knows the market. And don’t simply consider seniority of the person(s) to move over but also functions. It’s really challenging to split the same function across two different locations, hence, move the co-founder who is destine to build and manage the function you expect to build in your new market. Keep everything else in your home market, and make a clear distinction between what belongs where and how the overall teams will operate. Because of the tremendous competitive market in the Bay Area for talented developers, I strongly believe in keeping engineering (and probably product) outside of this region and rather focus on building your sales and marketing in this part of the world.

💬 Communicate early. Communication is the holy grail of any organization spread across multiple locations. In fact it’s the most important aspect of any company. Be prepare to communicate more than you expect. Much more. Before you expand and when you start considering these plans, be very transparent to the entire team about what lies ahead and how it’s progressing. Make sure the whole founder/management team is 100% aligned in this story. Also start preparing the organization for more asynchronous communications than previously. Different offices, different time zones and different people means there will be very different and more disciplined requirements to the company’s communications. Start to document decisions, meeting minutes, status updates, and push communications into the open and in writing. Slack and the likes are kings to facilitate this. As founders, take the lead and set an example. Get ready for the ride!!!

Best practices during the actual expansion phase follows soon. Mad shout-out to these impressive founders, entrepreneurs and friends who contributed with input to this article series: Patric Palm of Hansoft, Heini Zachariassen of Vivino, Caroline Ingeborn of Toca Boca, Christian Wylonis of Fitbay, Oskar Kalmaru of Narrative, Emil Eifrem of Neo Technology, Louise Fritjofsson of Vint, Alex Arias of Omniata, and Jonatan Littke of Lookback. I’m always available to connect and discuss on Twitter at @fritjofsson. 👊 💪

TINC Fall 2016: From Kickoff to Graduation

If you have followed our previous posts about TINC Fall 2016, you would have got a general impression the participants and their experience of the program.

But in this post, we will outline in more detail what the program entails, from the initial kickoff in Oslo to the final Pitch Graduation and Reception at the Norwegian Consul General.

The response from participants during and after the program has been overwhelmingly positive and we are very proud to have been able to spend the last weeks working with such a talented, diverse and ambitious group of people.

Read more about the TINC Fall program and participants here:

Get Ready for TINC Fall 2016!
TINC Fall Profiles Ch. 1: TINCing about Media and Entertainment
TINC Fall Profiles Ch. 2: TINC for the new and experienced
TINC Fall Profiles Ch. 3: TINCing Head


We are also making preparations for TINC Spring 2017, with details about the application process available here. And keep in mind, the application deadline is January 10.

It has been absolutely mind-blowing. Being here has widely surpassed my hopes.
— TINC Fall Participant Deborah B. Lygonis, CEO and Founder of Friendbase

TINC Fall 2016, an Overview

For this program, we were pleased to work with 10 different companies. Four from Norway, four from Sweden and two from Iceland. The companies were involved in many different industries and products, but united in being tech startups with traction and ambition to reach the global market.

The program began with a kickoff in Oslo that gave participants information about what to expect and essential preparations necessary to get the most out of the program.

Next, the trip went to Silicon Valley where companies had four weeks of workshops, mentoring sessions, meetings and events. The topics covered were diverse, and gives companies solid knowledge of business model and product market fit, investments, PR, marketing, growth and story telling . All in all, the companies gained a solid understanding of what it takes to create a scalable business ready to tackle and achieve success in the domestic as well as global market.

We have received valuable feedback that has challenged us to think new and bigger.
— TINC Fall Participant Lars Flesland, Co-founder of FlowMotion

Mentors and Workshops

Our TINC mentors are experts in entrepreneurship, startups and Silicon Valley. To give participants the best and most hands-on experience possible, the program offers one-on-one mentoring sessions where feedback and advice is tailored to the goals, experience and progress of each company and participant.

Our program is one of the few that offers access to multiple mentors but also repeated sessions with the same mentors. This allows mentors to get a good understanding of what is necessary for each company to succeed.

In our workshops the companies take a practical approach to develop concrete goals for their startup and a tangible business plan. The information and approaches are varied and gives participants multiple perspectives.

Participants also attend talks and presentations by industry experts and investors. They learn about business and investor relations in Silicon Valley and the global market. The talks and presentations cover a range of the specialized knowledge gained from years of experience with entrepreneurship tailored for Nordic companies.

We have learned to communicate directly with the big players in the market and we now have a better company and product.
— TINC Fall Participant Karl Lillrud, Founder and CEO of Lizer Group.

Pitch Graduation and Reception

At the end of the four-week program, the companies tell their stories in front of an investor panel at our pitch graduation.

Companies have a chance to answer questions and gain feedback from the expert panel. The event is good training, but in many ways also the ‘real deal’ and provides companies with a chance to network and mingle with investors.

To finish of the program, the participants attend a reception at the residency of Norway’s Consul General to San Francisco. In addition to the TINCers, the event is guested by other people affiliated with the program .

If you are interested in scaling your company and enter the global market, remember to apply for next round of TINC before the application deadline on January 10! 

“It influences your mindset and energy. Nothing seems impossible when you’re here.”
— TINC Fall Participant Jon Anders Aas-Haug, Founder and CEO of Bluestone

FRAM Internet of Things

With TINC Fall 2016 taking up so much attention, it is easy to forget the range of other activities and happenings at Nordic Innovation House and with our partner organizations.

Earlier in November, eight Norwegian companies attended their final gathering as part of Innovation Norway’s program FRAM Internet of Things. The 15-month program was designed to enable and facilitate more efficient, successful and de-risked market access in the U.S. by leveraging leading local experts, networks and ecosystems.

“It’s a result driven ‘go to market’ project,” said Tom Albrigtsen, Chairman and Senior Partner of Advance and a driving force behind FRAM.

Through multiple meetings in the U.S. and Norway, FRAM contributes to help companies develop innovative growth and business strategies to speed up and de-risk their entry into new markets.

In particular, the focus has been on moving into the U.S. market, said Albrigtsen. In this case, FRAM has focused especially on education, networking and how to implement ideas.

“These are companies that have the potential to really make it big,” said Albrigtsen about the participants. “They can become significant employers in Norway.”

Choosing to focus this round of FRAM on the growing field loosely known as ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) was not accidental. This area of technological development and innovation is under rapid transformation and is expected grow significantly in the next few years.

Internet of Things

“We have just began developing new solutions and there are huge possibilities and market estimates,” said Albrigtsen. He pointed out how IoT will affect every arena of people’s lives and be a massive influence in both the professional and private sphere.

One such example is eSmart Systems’ solution for smarter energy systems. By using monitoring sensors, eSmart can help to significantly reduce power consumption and increase the efficiency of the system, said Intern Thomas Nergaard.

“It will optimize the use of energy,” said Knut E. Gustavsen, COO and Co-founder of eSmart. “It will be a revolution for the end user.” But he also emphasized how it will have a significant affect on infrastructure, governmental decisions and the power industry in particular.

“IoT is developing extremely fast without people really thinking about it,” continued Gustavsen who thinks the concept will become so engrained in society that it in many ways will become obsolete as a term.

Petter Quinsgaard, CEO at Abax agrees. “IoT is a trend not a market,” he said. “Everything we own will become interconnected. You won’t really have a choice about adopting this technology.”

Abax is the market-leader on Vehicle tracking and focuses on providing solutions to in Triplogs, GPS tracking, fleet management platforms and Equipment and Vehicle Control systems.

For Quinesgaard, IoT is best thought of as a social change rather than a market or technological development and even the term IoT does not sit easy with him.

Although Abax is already an international company with offices in numerous locations around Europe, Innovation Norway’s program and the time spent in Silicon Valley has been a valuable experience, said Abax’s Chief Project Officer Håkon Grønn-Weiss.

“We have learned how American companies think and received feedback on technical issues,” he said. He added, “There is a very special atmosphere here.”

Participants

eSmart Systems
A revolutionary Operational Intelligence solution that accelerates energy savings, optimizes energy investment and minimizes carbon footprint through faster, better, safer energy decisions. 

Nornir
Provides ad-hoc radio frameworks and coverage areas that enables advanced bidirectional data caption solutions for the Internet of Things. Through a Real Time Web marketplace, Nornir enables their customers to interact in a more direct, easy and safe way with clients, partners and consumers, saving money and effort in the process.

Abax
Develops and supplies Vehicle Tracking Systems, Fleet Management software and Equipment Control technology, to businesses who operate company vehicles, reduce the overall fuel spend eliminate the risk of tax penalties.

QiCode
The world's first machine-centric approach to managing the lifecycle of products currently focusing on giving easier, on-site access to operations, training, maintenance and cleaning information for the horeca vertical.

HP Vistech
Big Data visualization and Business Intelligence for industry and retail business. Adaptable solutions beyond traditional boundaries of visualization of large data sources. Cutting edge technology in large scale data management based on dynamic modelling of data flow.

Masterloop
Infrastructure cloud platform that connects devices with humans, other devices or automated computer systems. The platform provides developers with a single API for all hardware devices.

HomeControl
Deliver smart home control and management systems and devices.

APX Systems
Scalable systems integrator with current focus on logistics, traceability, processes and labeling in multiple market segments.

TINC Fall Profiles Ch. 3: TINCing ahead

And just like that, TINC Fall 2016 is over and the companies are getting ready to leave Silicon Valley. But although this round of TINC is completed, the work doesn’t stop.

The TINC Team are already now beginning to prepare for TINC Spring 2017, which will take place in from April 24 to May 19 with kick-off in Oslo in March. Take a look at the TINC page if you want to know more about the application process and information about the program. But keep in mind, the application deadline is January 10.

For the companies, their journey has just started and it is time for them to consolidate and implement the knowledge and ideas they have gotten under the four intense weeks of TINC. Some will stay in California, whereas others will be heading home to the Nordics.

And just as TINC Fall is at an end, this will be the last post outlining the participants. In this chapter: Lizer Group, Spintr, Watchbox and HR Monitor

Karl Lillrud and Fredrik Bolander,
Founder/CEO and Partner Lizer Group

Big Data is one of the hottest topics in the Valley, as well as the technology industry. Conversely, innovative ways to get that data is becoming increasingly important.

Bridging the gap between e-commerce and data collection is Swedish Lizer Group, represented at TINC by founder and CEO Karl Lillrud and partner Fredrik Bolander. And with Fredrik and Karl’s respective backgrounds in e-commerce and investment banking, the guys seem to have found their niche. 

The company works to simultaneously increase retailer’s online sales while collecting and analyzing consumer behavioral data. Lizer group hence offers solutions that help online retailers sell more at the right price.

Attending TINC was a way to “test ideas and hypotheses and get feedback from people in the tech industry,” said Fredrik. But he pointed out that even from the first day at the kickoff in Oslo, he realized that TINC has more to offer. And after four weeks in Silicon Valley, the company has undergone drastic changes that were needed to scale and expand the company.

“We have learned to communicate directly with the big players in the market,” said Karl, “and we now have a better company and product.”


Daniel Hagenfeldt,
CEO and Founder Spintr

Improving communications is one of the most important elements of streamlining a company and improving efficiency. This is not only true in customer relations, but also within a business.

For organizations and collaborators there are a multitude of tools available to share information, but information overload can sometimes be a problem. This is what CEO and founder Daniel Hagenfeldt of Swedish Sprintr has set out to change with an innovative way to improve intranet solutions.

“It’s a way for companies to communicate, collaborate and do less emailing,” said Daniel. He has over 20 years experience within software development and building user-oriented solutions.

“The goal is to reinvent the intranet and change the digital workspace.” He said. And in a world where online collaboration is becoming increasingly important, his product is ready to fill a big gap in the market.

Attending TINC has also helped Daniel develop a clearer vision on how to make sure that his product is noticed and a clear plan on how to navigate forwards.

Being in Silicon Valley, he said, has also helped him better understand how he can tap into the ecosystem, resources and knowledge available. He said, “Even as a modest Swede you can get really good perspectives from the networks here.”


David Simonarson and Kristjan Mikaelsson,
Co-founders Watchbox

Making companies a better place for employees is also the goal for Icelandic company Watchbox, co-founded by David Simonarson and Kristjan Mikaelsson.  Watchbox provides a fun and innovative way to increase employee engagement at the workplace.

Watchbox is an interactive screen for employees to easily share photos in the office. The solution operates in the same space as teambuilding companies, but is a low-cost and less time-consuming way for companies to improve social interaction amongst their staff.

87 percent of companies struggle with culture and “disengaged employees,” said David. Watchbox is a way to tackle this problem by creating engagement amongst staff. “We bring coworkers together,” he said.

Joining the TINC program is a way for the company to get a foothold in Silicon Valley but the decision to join the accelerator program was made easier owing to the fact that TINC does not take equity in participating companies.

Overall, Daniel and Kristjan are very pleased with the experience. In particular, the duo noted the extensive networking opportunities and the ability to gain local knowledge from people who have in-depth knowledge about how Silicon Valley really works.

“We are ready to sit down and take everything in and refocus,” said Kristjan.


Trausti Hardarson and Daniel Sigurdsson,
Chairman/COO and CTO HR Monitor

This was the first time Icelandic companies have taken part in TINC. In addition to Watchbox, the Nordic island was represented by Trausti Hardarson, Chairman and COO, and Daniel Sigurdsson, CTO, of company HR Monitor.

Taking a different approach to both efficiency and worker relations, HR monitor offers a way to monitor and gain information about the internal workings of a company.

TINC has worked as a “milestone,” said Trausti. “It’s the first step for us to touch Silicon Valley and the U.S. Market.”

“It’s like a crash-course for startups,” said Daniel about experiencing TINC. Coming from a technical engineering background, the program has been a valuable way for him to learn about the business, marketing and investor relations that are so crucial for companies aiming for international success.

Trausti is very happy about Iceland’s integration into TINC, which he also believes works to strengthen the tie between companies in the Nordics. Experiencing Nordic Innovation House has additionally inspired HR Monitor to take advantage of our ‘Softlanding’ space and set up a permanent presence in Silicon Valley.

Considering TINC over all, Trausti said, “Every software company in the Nordics should try as hard as they can to be a part of this program.”


But as the last few posts have shown, TINC is open to companies from a range of tech industries. Take a look at our requirements and application process if you and your company want to be a part of TINC Spring 2017. And remember, the application deadline is January 10.

TINC FALL Profiles Ch. 2: TINC for the new and experienced

TINC’s mentors and presentation holders have experience from every level of the business development process. This includes the initial development of product and investment relations, to growing and scaling a well-established company with existing market validation and traction.

This makes TINC suitable for startups in several different situations and with different experiences.

This chapter of TINC Profiles gives a glimpse into the different approaches TINC takes depending on the situation of each participant.

In this chapter: FlowMotion, Bluestone and Learnifier.

Julie Bauge and Lars Flesland,
Co-founders FlowMotion

Julie Bauge and Lars Flesland are multitasking. In addition to being busy with TINC, the FlowMotion co-founders are also in the process of launching their new smartphone stabilizer, which will be available on November 22.

Safe to say the Norwegian duo are busy. But even though they are in the final stages of product launch, participating in TINC has helped them refine their product and focus their goals.

“We signed up to learns about the American market and how to scale our company,” said Julie. Who pointed out that even in the later stages of development, TINC has been a valuable contribution to product development.

“It’s been very good to get out of the bubble,” added Lars, “we have received valuable feedback that has challenged us to think new and bigger.”


Jon Anders Aas-Haug and Borgar Hestad,
Founder and CEO Bluestone

Unlike the Flowmotion team, which is relatively fresh to the entrepreneur-scene, Jon Anders Aas-Haug of Norwegian company Bluestone is a veteran in the business.

Yet, despite 20 years experience in tech entrepreneurship, the Bluestone founder and CEO Borgar Hestad are still finding significant value in TINC.

“It is helping us to accelerate our new product to the international market,” said Jon Anders. He pointed especially to the program’s ability to offer both a physical and temporal space to buckle down and direct all focus on the business.

Jon Anders is also very happy about having returned to Silicon Valley. “It influences your mindset and energy,” he said. “Nothing seems impossible when you’re here.”


Mattias Borg and Jerker Klang,
Co-founders Learnifier

Jon Anders and Borgar are not the only veterans seeking new impulses through TINC. Co-founders of Swedish company Learnifier, Mattias Borg and Jerker Klang are TINCing for many of the same reasons.

Having already validated their business model in Sweden, Learnifier is looking to become a “global niche player,” said Mattias.

Learnifier offers online training tools for business clients, partners and employees in several segments ranging from leadership to software. As a new and dynamic approach to knowledge-sharing and learning, the product holds many of the same qualities that define both TINC and Silicon Valley.

“I am very impressed by some of the mentors,” said Mattias. “There’s a big difference in being able to experience something and not just knowing about it.”