“You realize that you too can shoot for the stars”

By Ida Kleinau Anderson, Junior Vinnova Wallenberg Fellow at Nordic Innovation House,

and Kristian Rindheim, Intern at Innovation Norway San Francisco and Silicon Valley, Nordic Innovation House.

TINC panel.jpeg

The latter half of the TINC program just flew by! The program schedule was full of valuable content, and on top of that the teams were occupied with their own booked meetings. The teams also had a pitch graduation and a reception to end the program, where they received participation awards. Here are some of the highlights from the two last weeks of the TINC program, at the end you will find info how to apply to the program yourself!


The latest mentor addition to the program Han Jin had a founder talk and shared his inspirational entrepreneurial journey. He talked to the teams about the importance of dreaming big but focusing small when starting a company. He also emphasized the skills that he thought should be found in every start-up team. These were

  1. Understanding of the market
  2. Deep tech
  3. Product design
  4. Hustler

The teams also had a possibility to get insights from inside of the Creandum venture firm by Carl Fritjofsson. He went through the main issues that startups should consider before starting to look for venture capital. Firstly, it is important to consider if the company you want and aim to build will be a company worth more than half a billion dollars. This is what a venture firms looks for in order to get their investment back. The second parameter is to be sure that the market opportunity you are going after is big enough.


Our amazing mentor Julie Hanna also shared more of her experiences in her final session with the teams. She focused on soft skills and highlighted the importance of being relational instead of transactional if you want to keep your employees. Moreover, she shared her insight for being a good leader: be yourself, be a learning machine, be coachable, and be humble.

In the end the program culminated in a pitch graduation. The teams got a chance to do a 3-minute pitch in front of an investor panel and selected guests. The investor panel consisted of some of the top US VCs, Nordic VC, and angel investors.


The level of improvement the teams had made with their pitches during the program was impressive - all teams had done great progress in how they told their story, explained their value proposition, and how they presented themselves.

Read more about the thoughts of one of the participants, Locatify, below.

  Sam Liddell, Steinunn Anna Gunnlaugsdóttir and Leifur Björn Björnsson of Locatify.

Sam Liddell, Steinunn Anna Gunnlaugsdóttir and Leifur Björn Björnsson of Locatify.


Sam Liddell is the marketing director at Locatify and has been a part of the company for two years. Locatify has recently attended the TINC Spring 2018 accelerator program.

- Coming to Silicon Valley you will get the mindset and framework to help you scale internationally.

In addition to Sam, Co-founders Leifur Björn Björnsson and Steinunn Anna Gunnlaugsdóttir were also attending. One of their main goals in Silicon Valley was to refine their business model and focus. They also wanted to increase their sales by establishing a network in the U.S. market and grow rapidly.     

Locatify is a platform for creating geo-location apps for storytelling. It is an easy-to-use platform where anyone can create an app and send content to people based on their location. Before the team arrived they expected to meet a lot of interesting people and to learn a lot, according to Sam.            

- These expectations have been met well and truly exceeded. The level of the mentors has been amazing. They were inspiring and intelligent – very willing to help and offer their services and network. So it has gone well and truly above. It has been amazing! 

What has been the most valuable part of the program?

- It may sound like a cliché, but it’s the Silicon Valley mindset. Coming from the Nordics or like myself, New Zealand, our mindset is to think local. The horizon is so far away and your goals might seem unrealistic. But when you come to Silicon Valley and you hear people talking about their goals and seeing what they’re creating, you realize that you too can shoot for the stars or be the unicorn. Once the mindset has changed, it brings the next steps much closer.

What were your opinions about Silicon Valley before you came here and what do you think now?

- People are much more open and willing to help then I expected. You get told that this is a part of the culture and the mindset, but actually the experience is quite eye opening. Even in a competitive environment, people are genuinely open to talk to you about anything and they want to pay it forward.

What is your advice to a company thinking of applying for TINC Fall 2018?

- Do it! But come here with an open mind. We all have assumptions about our businesses and you have to be prepared to challenge those assumptions and take criticism on board to make positive changes.   

If you want to learn more about the TINC program and would like to apply for TINC Fall 2018, click below. Applications are open until May 25th!