Last Thursday, Nordic Innovation House was packed full with our friends who joined us for a fabulous celebration of our second anniversary as a Nordic tech incubator in Silicon Valley. We would like to give a huge thank-you to all the people who took the time to stop by and help us make this celebration special.
And there were many things to celebrate. The occasion also marked the one-year anniversary of our wonderful Community Manager Paula Salomaa, the launch of our new webpage, and a great chance to catch up with our growing network of friends and partners in Silicon Valley.
A growing community
“We feel like we have been able to truly build a community here,” said Innovation Norway Director Gro Eirin Dyrnes. “Interesting companies are able to really get so much more out of integrating with each other.”
The celebration gave us a great chance to reflect on the last few years. We have quadrupled the amount of companies hosted at the house and have welcomed more non-Norwegian companies into our family. Participants in our accelerator programs REACH and TINC are increasingly from a larger range of Nordic countries.
“We see that working together as Nordics provides us with better companies in our group, a bigger network, and increases the interest from the local network here,” said Gro.
She added, “I want to emphasize the importance and the utility of cooperating when we can and competing when we have to.”
Accelerator programs and cooperation transcending national boundaries
Our Nordic project is unique in its success in facilitating international and inter-regional cooperation across national boundaries. We have increasingly gained recognition for our innovative work from a range of countries and many people from all over the world take the time to visit us to gain insight into how we work.
“We don’t really think about how unique it is,” said TINC’s Program Director Åse Pettersen Baily, “but we have received a huge amount of positive mentions and feedback.”
Åse is particularly busy this period with the new session of TINC starting up on 24 October. She has been part of building up the program since 2012 and has watched going from solely Norwegian to Nordic.
“I think we have a great group joining us this session,” she said. “And it’s extra exciting that we for the first time will have Icelandic companies participating.”
Steady commitment over time
In addition to TINC, the Reach program led by Arne Tonning has just completed its first session.
“The first round was very successful,” said Arne, “so we can just hope that the second round will be as great as that.”
Concerning the growth of Nordic Innovation House, Arne is a firm believer that the secret to the success is nothing less than steady and hard work over time. “There’s no magic to it,” he said.
For Arne, the most exciting thing at Nordic Innovation House is the big results some of the companies are beginning to experience.
“I really believe some of the companies will begin to get the really big breakthroughs soon,” he said.
The real meaning of community
The party on Thursday was a way to celebrate our efforts, companies, network, and staff. And the occasion was especially important to mark the one-year anniversary of Community Manager Paula Salomaa.
“My first big party here was our first anniversary,” she said. “It’s really fun to celebrate again.”
Joining Nordic Innovation House one year ago, Paula noticed how much the House differs from regular co-working spaces in its emphasis on being a softlanding community.
“It really gives more to the companies than just being a regular co-working space,” she said.
But the rapid expansion has also given her something to think about in terms of including more companies while maintaining the flexibility and support that individual companies need when they establish themselves in Silicon Valley.
“One interesting thing to think about is if we need more space,” she said.
But expansion doesn’t just mean more companies. In the tight-knit environment at Nordic Innovation House, expansion is synonymous with more friends, more contacts, a bigger network and more opportunities.
“The real meaning of community,” said Paula, “is a wonderful new thing that I have learned here.”