"It’s the best investment you will ever do"

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

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It’s not always easy to simplify things. Imagine if every word in your next sentence was worth 1 million dollars. Daniel Caetanya Fossum, Co-founder and CEO at Mingl tried to choose his words wisely when he had to describe the idea behind the company.

- We basically want to remove all the headaches that people face when it comes to exchanging contact details and building relationships.

Frida Rustøen, Co-founder and COO, responded: - Yeah, you didn’t nail that one…  

In other words, Mingl is to people what CRM is to businesses. It works as your Personal Relationship Manager and helps you better build, organize, and leverage your networks. The energetic Norwegian duo became a part of the TINC Spring 2018 program to get useful input on their product and also to understand how they could visualize the road map ahead. When they finally were accepted they said: Yes, lets do it! And they are not disappointed.  

- I’m really impressed by the program. It has been super fun to get to know the mentors and the other companies. Having so many different people who really challenge you and go into the details has been one of the most valuable parts of the program, Frida says.

As a founder in an early stage company she also thinks its important to build robustness and figure out who you really want to be. To summarize she looks back to something mentor Julie Hanna said:

- You need to always stay true to your values and your vision for where you want to go. But be flexible and open to get there.   

According to Daniel the program would not be the same without the mentors who bring a lot of unique value to the program.   

- I think the mentors have been brilliant in terms of guiding us and getting the best out of us. We need to be the best versions of our self, that is also something Julie said, and its extremely true.

He expected an intense program but he didn’t expect it to go by so quickly, or as he says, in a blink. According to him, everybody is always talking about the Olympic level regarding the combination of talent and how fast people work. Also, the sense of urgency is something he thinks is a crucial part.     

- If you are going to build a global company you need to have that urgency. There is always someone who is trying to do the same thing as you and you are going to compete against talented people. It’s like sports.

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

- If you are going to run a startup and run into this crazy life, without being guided early on, you will possibly do more mistakes. Being guided in the early stage is key. I don’t want to think about where we would have been without this program.

He also adds:

- People might be in doubt because it actually costs money to come here and its expensive to live here and you have to leave operations at home. But I think it’s the best investment you will ever do, Daniel says.

- If you are fortunate enough to get into the program my advice would be: Try to prioritize a good preparation for yourself to maximize the benefit, and try to limit the amount of work you need to do at home while you are here in Silicon Valley. I think that is important to fully appreciate the experience and be present, because it is intense and stressful. It’s important to prioritize living that experience and try to live that to the fullest, Frida says.


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!