TINCing Hard

By Ingvild Sørlie, Intern at Innovation Norway San Francisco

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Having a great product is necessary but not sufficient for success.
– Julie Hanna

If you would like to tap into more of Julie Hanna’s fountain of knowledge, join us at TINC Spring 2018 - applications open soon!

Week one of TINC has come and gone, it has been a fast-paced and energizing week with a lot of hard work. The companies quickly learned that there is no ordinary nine to five in Silicon Valley. Here, jet lag is utilized to close a funding round at 5am, get a reality check from a mentor by lunch, and still have time to make new connections over dinner and a beer. No wonder the days fly by fast when you’re TINCing hard. 

For you poor souls not being able to experience this, let me paint you a picture. Monday morning, twenty new people walk into the Nordic Innovation House. They are served coffee, KIND bars and fruit. The smell of excited nervousness is in the air. We are ready for lift-off. Nathan Gold, our long-time pitch coach and mentor was as always there to welcome the companies. But today it’s not about the 3-minute pitch, it is about storytelling. The stories you tell people in line for coffee, and the stories you use to draw in new people by telling them something memorable. In a sea of startups, it’s all about who remembers you, and for what. 

So what do the TINCers want to be remembered for? You would probably remember the guy who had his first startup by the age of 8. And you would never forget the guy who was the heaviest baby born in Sweden. And you might remember that one of our talents that turned down Y-Combinator, and is now attending TINC. This was just a teaser for all the interesting people you will hear about on this blog, so stay tuned for more!

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Tuesday was the day to meet the mentors, an intense day with lots of input. The perfect lead up to Wednesday, the day for creativity and lean TINCing. Nick Noreña from Kromatic, held the full day workshop forcing our companies to TINC outside the box, focus and prioritize.

After a full day of focus, the time had come to relax. Just kidding, it was of course time for the first networking event! Alliance Venture had graciously invited their local network and TINC to a fireside chat with Borge Hald from Medallia over fancy wine and great food. This gave the TINCers an opportunity to introduce themselves to the SV community, finally!

It is hard to sufficiently explain the setup and value of Julie Hanna’s workshop that took place on Thursday. What everyone tells you, is that it’s simply the best. The companies were told to come with an open mind, to be ready to take advantage of the brilliant brain of the woman who was appointed by President Obama to be the Presidential Ambassador of the Global Entrepreneurship. As the workshop goes on, more and more people understand. But still, it is not something you can explain, it is not something you should even try to explain, it is something you need to experience. 

So these are the team’s take-aways and impressions of the first week. But what do the companies really think about their first TINC-week?

 Jonas & Marco

Jonas & Marco

Droshi does dropshipping for e-commerce, but is probably the least Swedish company at TINC. Jonas Salminen and Marco Real are more comfortable in the fast pace environment of Silicon Valley than back home in Sweden. They have high ambitions and the goals is to become a competitor with Amazon and Alibaba within the next ten years. As the founder Jonas says; if not then why even do this business. They are great guys with big dreams. And they have really gotten into a flying start.

“The first thing we felt was energized, everyone here is continuously working passionately. For us Jet lag is no problem, we are using endorphins as fuel rather than sleep.“ And they have no plan to slow down. They say the energy that comes with Silicon Valley and the TINC program just fuels their ambitions. “We have no problem keeping up the pace for the remaining three weeks of TINC and when we get home we just have to keep going.” In fact, one day after landing back in Sweden they are launching Droshi 2.0 on the 15th of November. Sleep they have scheduled for two days of January in 2018. 


Learnlink is the youngest company at TINC and therefore claims the best stamina. Which is a good thing, as they sleep in bunkbeds at a hackerhome. “It not the best quality sleep, but we really feel like we’re living the Silicon Valley lifestyle.”

Learnlink is an online platform for tutoring and since all the platform they use on a daily basis come out of the Valley they figured there was something to learn from coming here. “Right now we are just six guys who do a lot of things we don’t really how to do. Through TINC we want to become more professional, learn how to do things the right way.”

The three young guys, Johannes Berggren, Andreas Ferstad, and Aleksander Røe Strømshoved, were surprised by the high level of the presenters and mentors in the program. They knew the volume of work but didn’t expect the quality to be so amazing.

The most valuable portion of the first week for Learnlink has been the lean startup workshop with Nick, helping them focus and prioritize, putting all the less important stuff further down on the todo-list. “And I actually hate workshops, but this was great value. The other guys are going to be really surprised when we get home and I say “Today we’re gonna have a workshop.” Cause we are going to start doing workshops in Learnlink now.” Already, TINC has changed the way of life for Learnlink.