By Johanna Skalman, Junior at Vinnova, Wallenberg, at Nordic Innovation House
We are already halfway into our accelerator program - TINC Fall 2018. It has been two busy but highly valuable weeks for the participating companies with workshops, mentoring, events, meetings and networking.
The participants have had the chance to take a deep dive with the VC Shomit Ghose into ‘How startups can leverage Data’ and with Sean Percival into ‘Growth and Product Positioning’. Of course, it would not be an accelerator program without pitch training with Nathan Gold. Other speakers have included our very own, Investor in Residence, Arne Tonning, and Julie Hanna, who was named ‘Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship’ by President Obama.
With such experienced mentors and inspiring speakers, it is hard to not be affected in one way or another by this program. This is how three of the participating startups describe their first two weeks of TINC:
Marie Jacobsen Lauvås, CEO, and Ole Andreas Haley, CPO, from Capeesh
Capeesh is an intelligent language learning software that can tailor the learning content towards any industry, company or employee’s unique needs in a fun way. They use machine intelligence to automatically tailor gamified learning in vocabulary, listening and pronunciation for a foreign language.
Describe the first week in three words: Challenging. Adventurous. Insightful.
The most valuable input you have gotten so far: There are so many talented people and so much valuable input from all of them. But if we had to pick one, it would be how much you can do before the product is even built, from testing the initial market response to collecting actual commitments and payments.
The highlights from the first two weeks: The one-on-one mentor meetings have been the most useful; as you sit down with your specific case and try to solve any challenges you might have. The mentors are varied and have their own strengths; so make sure you understand their strengths. The workshops also offer a lot of great learnings and useful frameworks, to help you frame any questions you might have on your business or product. There are also workshops that are on a higher level and introspective, which are great for reflections on why you are doing this.
Advice to companies thinking about applying to TINC: Make sure you do some research ahead of arriving and start reaching out through the Nordic Innovation House network to book meetings. Make sure you follow up with the team at home on a daily basis with updates on your learning. And try to have a flexible product schedule, so it’s easy to shift resources around within the team, based on new input from TINC. Also, make sure you have a lot of fun and just enjoy the Silicon Valley-atmosphere.
Christian Löfvendahl, Founder and CEO of Leader Island
Leader Island is an all-in-one platform to manage and engage private communities. Leader Island help users to gain & share opportunities and connect with people who contribute unique insights. Their users choose them as they provide a private & personalized platform with easy-to-use features that improves user engagement and reduces information overload.
Describe the first week in three words: Networking. Useful. Strategic.
The most valuable input you have gotten so far: When asked; “What is it about your solution that is so strong and valuable that people are willing to throw money at you?”. That was really thought-provoking!
The highlights from the first two weeks: Connecting with amazing talent (mentors, participants etc.) and just being in the Valley and breathing the entrepreneurial air. Silicon Valley is a high-paced environment - it feels like time travelling.
Advice to companies thinking about applying to TINC: Just apply! In Silicon Valley there is a lot of focus on the team and the talent. TINC will absolutely help your company realize what you should focus on. You will make more costly mistakes if you don’t come here - I have learned so much already.
Heidi Frost Eriksen, CEO and Co-founder of Technebies
Technebies measure and verify programming skills to give every developer who loves to write great code a seat at the table. With the help of our cloud-based platform, developers can demonstrate the ability to handle complex programming environments through authentic programming tasks and get benchmarked towards developers globally. Technebies is using rich data to verify the programming skills a candidate brings to their prospective employer and by that also help companies predict work performance when hiring developers.
Describe the first week in three words: Learning. Networking. High Speed.
The most valuable input you have gotten so far: Getting input on our business model from a lot of highly competent people.
The highlights from the first two weeks: Top mentors, meeting great VCs, getting into the Silicon Valley mindset, networking, and a steep learning curve.
Advice to companies thinking about applying to TINC: Just do it. You will never regret!
We at Nordic Innovation House are excited to follow and share the journey of all the nine startups in the TINC program; next week you will be able to read about three of the other startups in the program.
Are you interested in joining the program in Silicon Valley?