TINCing on

By Ingvild Sørlie, Intern at Innovation Norway San Francisco

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“The TINC program is about the people. No fluff, they all speak from real experience.” – Vala and Stefania, Viska

If you want more wisdom from Viska and the other TINCers, keep reading!


It is week 3! How everyone made it through the two first weeks packed with challenging, confusing, inspiring workshops and mentor meetings, no one knows. It seems we have all adopted the necessary motto, just keep on TINCing on. But before we dig down into TINC week 3, here is last weeks recap.

TINC week 2 started out with a workshop on PR and communication with funny and direct Aoife Kimber from Kimber PR, who was there to help the companies tune their message and spread it to the world. Monday was continued by the expert sales guys Scott Sambucci from SalesQualia, the ball of energy that is always a great highlight for the TINCers. Teaching the companies how to scale and grow while generously handing out highfives, this Monday really kicked off the week with a lot of TINC energy.

It had only been four days since last time we saw her, but we were all ready for another round with Julie Hanna. This time we started out with an inspirational video of a memorial speech made for Steve Jobs by his colleague and friend Jony Ive, before we segwayed into other inspirational stories and what they all have in common. The short answer is; they were all disruptive and never stopped breaking the rules of the hierarchy. On a final note, there is a tsunami of exponential development coming our way. Or actually, it’s already here. We can always count on Julie Hanna to challenge our TINCing.

 Shomit Ghose

Shomit Ghose

Wednesday was investor day with two investors with different experiences. Their insight from the other side of the table and view of the ecosystem in Silicon Valley is always a great input to the TINCers, fundraising or not. Shomit Ghose, managing director and partner at Onset Ventures gave us the American perspective of a VC. With Shomit’s great humor he also gave the TINCers a reality check, it’s a scary world for both founders and investors, but the rewards are great.

Arne Tonning, partner at Alliance Venture, brought the Scandinavian perspective of a VC’s role to the TINC table. He gave valuable insight to how investors make decisions. And even though it might seem like investors use a crystal ball to make decision, according to our in-house investor Arne that is not always the case.

In the middle of all this investor talk we also managed to fit in Nir Eyal, author of the Hook, to teach the TINCers how to get their customers hooked on their product. But Nir also wants the TINCers to hook people responsibly, because with great TINC-power comes great responsibility. Also eager to join the TINCing fun was also Peter Eriksson, Swedish Minister of Digital Development and Housing, who got to hear about the program and a short pitch from all of the companies.  

For Wednesday evenings fun, we had invited this week’s founder Lasse Andresen from ForgeRock. He inspired the TINCers so much that there was no need for a presentation. The questions kept coming thoruhg the hour and beyond, and after two beers we were all best friends with Lasse. When asked if his idea has changed through the years Lasse joked that they started with an idea and lots of Gin&Tonic, and both the drink and the idea has stayed the same. The Norwegian success story of Lasse truly inspired the TINCers, and gave hope. If you just keep on TINCing on, your dreams just might come true.

Again, we wrapped up the week with Nathan Gold, our rock and guide to lead us safely into the weekend. Story telling is a tricky thing, but with Nathan’s help the companies are improving rapidly. And we all can’t wait for the TINC pitch graduation.


Viska is the youngest company attending TINC but Vala Halldorsdottir and Stefania Bjarney Olafsdottir are not rookies. Their previous company gathered a lot of traction and money, from among others Sequoia. But no matter how skilled they are, they still feel like they’ve benefited loads from TINC.


“It was not easy making the decision to put our company on hold for four weeks to come here, we felt like we didn’t need to learn more generic things about start ups. But talking to an alumni of TINC convinced us, and TINC is not like other programs. We are so happy that we came!”

The ladies say the program has exceeded expectations and they would recommend everyone to attend TINC.

“Through our entire process, we have been focused on avoiding the traps that we could fall into, but we still fell into them. TINC has reminded us of the traps, but also inspired us to think big and return to our original vision and be more focused.”

Now the weeks of intense workshops are coming to an end, now the important meetings should be booked and the right people should be hunted down. “The first two weeks you throw everything up in the air, you start to doubt everything. We hope that for the remainder two weeks we maybe start to pull somethings together so we have a better understanding for going forward. “


Prindit In our second week, it is time to meet the brainiest people attending TINC. With more than ten years of research experience within innovation between the two of them, Anders Wikström and Stefan Cedergren really know what they’re talking about with Prindit. So, what have these smart human beings thought about TINCing the first two weeks?

“TINC has exceeded our expectations! At home, we focus more on the product, here the focus has really been on the business model, and that is great for us. And it is less specific to the US than we thought coming here, which is a positive thing.” They emphasize the mentors when asked what is so different from what you can get back home. “Here you really meet the experts, they’ve been involved in many successful startups and are still active. They have so much real experience to share, and they all have a different point of view. And when you get so much different input you get challenged on a different level.”

Even though the first two weeks have been wonderfully chaotic, the TINCers are now ready for things to settle down and maybe they can start to process some of the many inputs they have gotten the first week. “For these two weeks we have really scrambled everything, now we are ready to turn over the puzzle pieces and start putting them together in a new way. “