By Katja Kotala, Community Coordinator and Program Manager at Nordic Innovation House.
This week TINC got HOT. The participants learned about how to identify risks, but also how to deal with investors and set up their funding models. And the reason why they were hot - there was a comfortable 90 degree (+32 Celsius) heatwave hitting the SF Bay Area.
Tristan Kromer put the companies to work straight away on Monday morning with a Lean Startup workshop. With a hands-on approach, Tristan walked the companies through customer development and segmentation, risk evaluation and channel development.
The main theme of the week was funding models and working with investors. The TINCers got to talk with Carl Fritjofsson, an entrepreneur turned into an investor at Creandum. Carl answered questions about how startups should prepare for trying to get funding and how to stand out and beat the competition.
Julie Hanna took the discussion deeper into the relationship entrepreneurs and investors have - and how to cultivate it. She emphasized the importance of trust, credibility, and relationship in making business. It is all about the people, because they stay the same even if ideas and markets change.
Many of the companies have experience in seeking funding back in the Nordics or in Europe, and now try to figure out the setting in the US. Arne Tonning, a partner at Alliance Ventures, was there to answer these questions with his experience in working in both markets.
To top it off, Shomit Ghose, a partner at Onset Ventures, digged even deeper to the Silicon Valley VC mindset. He made the group understand that it is not just startups who have to face challenges and risks - also VCs can end up eaten by the sharks. The way to convince an investor starts with understanding their realities and constraints.
There is not one right way to make it in Silicon Valley, and pleasing investors is only a part of it. That is why we invited Samir Smajic, the CEO of GetAccept, over for a dinner at Nordic Innovation house. He shared his experiences from starting the company, attending the renowned Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator as well as getting funding and running a company both here in San Francisco and in Sweden. After a week of investors giving the TINCers a hard time about the challenges of getting funding, it is great to see that some actually make it.
Read below more about how some of the TINC participants are doing after the second week.
Olafur Thorkelsson and Skarpi Steinthorsson
For Data Dwell applying to TINC was all about the timing - and the location. When you are having a product launch and your main customer is Salesforce, what a better place and time to be in Silicon Valley.
They have also taken advantage of the mentors in the program by getting answers to some burning questions.
“Everybody can get something out of this, but you should help yourself too. Go and get that information while you’re here”
According to Skarpi the mentors back in Europe tend to have an outdated way of thinking. “Here the approach is so different. Back home there’s a more product heavy focus, here it’s all about distributing, selling, marketing, and doing it fast,” Olafur adds.
But it’s not just the mentors, the program offers also great peer support. “There’s been really helpful collaboration with the B2B companies in the program and we have been learning from that,” Skarpi says.
Data Dwell Sales Athlete empowers sales teams to succeed with the best marketing content in real-time-- directly in Salesforce. Track key insights of your highest performing marketing content and match it to the opportunity stage. Read more at www.datadwell.com
Shahan Lilja has been pleased by the value that the mentors in the program bring to the companies. He was looking for getting something more than you can get by just reading books and watching videos, and that is what he got.
“I am really happy about the non-obvious knowledge transfer”
- Shahan Lilja
“For example Julie Hanna gives great anecdotes that make subtle distinctions and then she gives these hacks sometimes,” Shahan says.
For Mavenoid Silicon Valley is a great place to be since they work with AI. Whenever they get a chance to demo their product to a potential partner or a customer, things start happening.
What they are doing is more about amplifying human beings instead of replacing them. Shahan explains that “it’s a deep principle that permeates all levels of our products and our company and why we started it.”
Mavenoid is an intelligent troubleshooting assistant that helps industrial organizations repair any machine in a few minutes, for the least amount of money. It's the fun, smart, interactive way to fix complex machines. Read more at www.mavenoid.com