Power of the Crowd

Modern tools allow enterprises to utilise the power of the crowd faster and easier than ever before. Crowdfunding enables projects and ventures to receive funding through the contributions of many people, usually in small amounts and over the Internet. Crowdsourcing allows organisations to solve problems and innovate by enlisting the input of many people, in person or online.

Angela Lamont Lunar Mission One
60David Nikel

David NikelFebruary 12, 2015

Crowdfunding a Mission to Space

We are thrilled to welcome back Angela Lamont to Trondheim to deliver one of our Technoport 2015 keynotes. Luckily for us, she’s just as excited!

“I love Technoport! It has a unique blend of some unconventional, outside-the-box thinking with the more traditional “enquiring mind” way of examining things. I like the fact that it’s different, almost experimental, yet very pertinent to practical things.”

Angela is an award-winning broadcaster famous in the UK for bringing science to the mainstream through the BBC children’s show “It’ll Never Work”. Since then she’s presented from places as diverse as Buckingham Palace, the top of a volcano in Japan and from a fishing boat in a force 8 gale (whilst doing her own sound recording, as the sound man was out of action below decks).

She’s coming to Technoport 2015 to talk about her newest project, Lunar Mission One, where she works as a Director.

If you haven’t heard about Lunar Mission One, prepare yourself to hear about one of the most inspiring open research projects we’ve heard about in a long time. An exploratory robotic mission, it will use innovative drilling technology to deliver extraordinary new insights into the origins of the Moon and the Earth.

Lunar Mission One will also be a driver for learning more about our own planet and its history. The project will help fund an open digital record of life on Earth – of human history and civilisation, and a scientific description of the biosphere with a database of species. Publically owned and accessible to all, the Public Archive is a hugely ambitious plan that could only be resourced by a project of this scale.

Angela LamontAngela explains what the exploration aspect of the mission is all about:

“Despite being categorised as a space mission, it’s really an incredibly wide project. We need engineering technologies, not just space technology but things like drilling. We need analytics similar to what happened with the Rosetta project but instead of a comet we’ll be doing it on the moon. We’re even seeking new digital storage technology, with the capability to last a billion years. With technologies changing so fast, that’s not straightforward.”

“We’ll be storing two types of time capsule. One is an archive of life on earth, species, technology, culture and so on, with the help of partners such as big museums. Also, anyone can buy a digital memory box and decide what to send to the moon. Some people will send their family tree, some people will write a day in their life, keen photographers will store their photos in it, schools around the world will collaborate, and someone is even sending their top secret chocolate cake recipe!”

But how to pay for this?

Public money for these types of projects has been limited, so Angela and her team have turned to a subject close to Technoport’s heart: crowdfunding.

“Originally, we planned for space agency funding, a small amount of Government seed funding and other traditional space funding routes. As budgets got slashed, things weren’t moving forward so we had no other option. The nature of the project was always to be global collaboration to produce the most interactive space project in history. If it was traditionally funded, people would watch it with interest, but they wouldn’t any ownership. By crowdfunding, people all around the world can buy into the project, feel part of it and stay a part of it forever.”

“By choosing the unconvential route of crowdfunding, we are actually better able to meet our original objectives.”

Hear the full story at Technoport 2015

Angela will tell the Lunar Mission One story, focusing on the crowdfunding process and lessons learned during the project to date. Join us in Trondheim, Norway, on 18 & 19 March.

Live Crowdfunding
60David Nikel

David NikelFebruary 2, 2015

Live Crowdfunding Experience: Four Startups Announced

The jury has spoken and selected the four startup companies that will compete to sell shares to the public during the Technoport 2015 innovation conference.

As part of Technoport 2015 on the evening of 18 March, four startups will get the opportunity to present their ideas on stage in front of a live audience, competing not just their favour, but for their investment too. The audience is invited to buy available shares in the companies, giving the general public the chance to become an investor.

Last year’s success

Halvor Wold from AssiTech AS knows what it takes to succeed:

“We raised almost NOK 600,000 ($100,000) during last year’s event. It was a crucial part of our subsequent share issue that gave us the capital to further develop our AssiStep product.”

AssiTech is developing a new tool that will make it safer for the elderly and disabled to climb stairs. They were recently named one of the 20 most promising startup companies for 2015 by leading Norwegian technology magazine Teknisk Ukeblad.

“Taking part in the crowdfunding event was very important for us because the production of AssiStep is costly. Moreover we got into “smart money”, meaning that money has come from business people and investors with a large network. This provides new opportunities,” says Wold, who is the CEO and co-founder of AssiTech AS.

Wold believes crowdfunding is here to stay and believes it is a very effective way to reach out to many stakeholders simultaneously.

The Four Participants

Ads want to personalise advertising solutions for TV channels to the individual viewer to generate increased revenues for advertisers. This will be made possible using a software solution developed in collaboration with the College of Nord-Trøndelag and Innovation Norway during 2015. The company plans to take advantage of the increased use of mobile devices to browse TV channels and provide ecommerce directly via streaming.

Apraxim is a spin-off from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. The five former NTNU students have developed the business simulator JetSim to supplement the teaching of economics and accounting. The simulator offers students the opportunity to manage businesses and compete against each other in a virtual marketplace, and to win they must put academic theory from the curriculum into practice. It is web-based and flexible, which means it can be adapted to different finance and accounting topics.

Telemotix have developed a mini computer, Telemotix TAG, which collects information about driver speed, acceleration, braking and more, to build an overall picture of how safe a driver is. This is intended to make car insurance cheaper for motorists and for insurers to avoid the most risky drivers. The company is about to begin a pilot project with one of Scandinavia’s largest insurance companies.

Vepak have developed a prototype machine to automate the filling of 40-litre bags with firewood. The innovation they have developed can pack a sack five times as fast as by hand and just as accurately. The developers have a background in mechanical engineering and mechatronics, as well as personal knowledge from the firewood industry. Vepak is starting to sign agreements with pilot customers.

Stay tuned to be first to hear when the crowdfunding campaigns go live.

Be there and see the action unfold

The Live Crowdfunding Experience is part of the Technoport 2015 conference. Join us in Trondheim, Norway, on 18 & 19 March as we seek to awaken the entrepreneurial mindset.

Live Crowdfunding
14Hermann Ørn Vidarsson

Hermann Ørn VidarssonDecember 8, 2014

Live Crowdfunding Experience: FAQ

Just like last year, the Live Crowdfunding Experience has sparked interest from startups the length and breadth of Norway.

We’re receiving many questions from curious entrepreneurs, so we took contact with Aleksander Langmyhr from FundedByMe, who in collaboration with Technoport, Innovation Norway, Kunnskapsparken Nord-Trøndelag and NTNU Accel, organises The Live Crowdfunding Experience.

Hello Aleksander. We have many exciting companies that have expressed interest in the event, while being a little unsure of the process. Can you explain how it works?

Hey, I can! The concept of equity crowdfunding is the still new so it’s understandable there are many questions. One can look at FundedByMe as a very good tool for companies considering raising capital to test interest in the market.

Let me take you through our process step by step.

Firstly, the company creates a presentation on the FundedByMe website. Those startups chosen for the Technoport event will be closely monitored by us to ensure they create the best possible presentation.

Do companies need this help?

Often they do. We have seen many good (and not so good) presentations on our site. I have personally worked with creating this type of presentation when I worked with the purchase and sale of large businesses, so the startups get a high level of help.

After companies have developed their presentation and are happy with it, they can publish it on the website. This is what we call “go live” on our site.

When your company is live on our site, anyone can view the presentation. If they think it’s interesting enough that they will consider investing, they can indicate their interest. This is done by pressing “invest” and indicating the sum they wish to invest.

So money is not transferred straight away?

Correct, there is no money transferred. It is only an indication that you are interested if the company chooses to fetch money at a later date. We see that almost all investors who express their interest do join the share issue, if and when the company implements it.

This leads me on to the next phase. When the company is “finished” on our platform, we have 45 days by default, so they see how many people have expressed an interest in investing.

And for how much …?

Yes that’s right, how many are interested in investing, and how much they have collectively indicated that they want to invest.

Sometimes the interest is very high and sometimes the interest is lower than we hoped for. Either way, the use of FundedByMe gives the company a good basis for deciding whether they choose to raise money or not.

After this process we come to the last step. When companies are finished on the platform (after about 45 days) they will decide whether to accept the investment offers or not.

So the startups can pick and choose?

Yes. If the company chooses to follow through with a share issue, they invite only the people they want to have as investors. If they are not experiencing enough interest and choose not to pick up the money, this of course is entirely up to them.

One last question, would you recommend companies to apply as a participant to Technoport 2015 in March?

Hehe, leading questions, but of course, yes! Normally, FundedByMe takes a percentages of money that companies choose to retrieve. For companies that are selected to participate in the Technoport event there is no charge at all, it’s completely free!

Everything is free?

Yes, everything is free, from our assistance to prepare a good presentation to the use of the platform itself. There are no direct costs for the startups, because our event partners Innovation Norway, Kunnskapsparken Nord-Trøndelag and NTNU Accel cover the cost.

In addition, participants will get a lot of attention through pitching on stage at Technoport 2015, in front of hundreds of people, just look how it went with Assistep Last year. Their participation did they subsequently received investment from a seed fund, in addition to over half a million kroner from investors who had expressed interest via the platform.

The deadline for applications is 15th December. See full details of the event and how to apply here.

Skjermbilde 2014-11-20 kl. 11.38.12
14Hermann Ørn Vidarsson

Hermann Ørn VidarssonNovember 20, 2014

Call for Pitches

The Live Crowdfunding Experiment last year was a success. More than 1MNOK was raised for the 4 companies participating last April. And we are ready for a second run, but not as an experiment, this time it is an experience.
At Technoport 2015, you have the chance to get attention from investors, valuable investments and the network to accelerate YOUR business.

What is equity crowdfunding?
Funding a company by selling shares to crowd investors
in exchange for partial ownership. Equity crowdfunding
investors are entitled to dividends from future profits
and receive a share of the value when shares are sold.

Why live crowdfunding?
Your company will get valuable exposure through the presence
at Technoport 2015. You get a forum to speak
to potential investors, and the opportunity to pitch
in front of a crowd ready to commit. In addition, your company will be featured on FundedByMe,com, a European funding platform.

Who can participate?
Startups that wish to participate should
– Be technology related.
– Be registered as a limited company (Aksjeselskap)

How do I apply?
To register your interest, simply send an application to
aleksander(at)fundedbyme(dot)com. You can also send him
questions or call him at +47 45 15 32 85

The application must include:
A one-pager describing:
● Your business
● How much capital you are seeking
● The valuation of your business
● What you will achieve with this investment
After the deadline an independent jury will pick the most
promising companies with the best/highest potential for
success in the Live Crowdfunding Experiment.

The chosen startups will receive:
● A free campaign on FundedByMe and counseling throughout the campaign preparations
● Two delegate passes to Technoport 2015
● Stand at Technoport 2015
● Participation in “pitch camp” to perfect your pitch

Skjermbilde 2014-11-20 kl. 11.02.17

Share the Problem
60David Nikel

David NikelOctober 5, 2014

The Power of the Crowd in Copenhagen

Regular readers of the Technoport Playground will know how proud we are of our Share the Problem concept. Our latest event was held last week at DIGS here in Trondheim, all about the future of the transport system in Norwegian cities. A full report is coming soon!

Our Share the Problem concept is one example of what is commonly referred to as crowdsourcing.

Definition of crowdsourcing

Definition via Google

Of course, we’re not the only organisation out there to embrace the power of “the crowd”

There’s a whole bunch of private sector companies, governmental organisations and charities doing similar things.

Introducing Crowdsourcing Week Europe

Crowdsourcing Week EuropeCrowdsourcing Week Europe 2014 explores the best practices in crowdsourcing and the collaborative economy that are fundamentally changing society, mindsets and possibilities across all industries.

Taking place from 14-16 October in Copenhagen, CSW Europe follows a successful global conference in Singapore that saw forward-thinkers from 31 countries converge to learn, network, and engage. CSW Europe’s program will provide an equally in-depth look at the impact of the crowd economy, crowdfunding, and crowd technologies—and what it means for you. Learn from 30+ crowd­sourcing experts at the frontier, discover what this shift means for your industry, and learn how to leverage the crowd for your organization.

Speakers comprise of pioneers that are leading disruptive, crowd-driven transformations in their industry. Nathan Waterhouse, openIDEO; Troels Lange Anderson, Lego; and Ken Webster, Ellen MacArthur Foundation are just a few of the speakers who will be highlighting how crowds are driving ideas, innovation, and acceleration.

A nice feature of this conference is the themed approach, allowing you to pick and choose the days most relevant to you:

  • Tuesday, October 14 – Crowd Economy: Big Picture Impact
  • Wednesday, October 15 – Crowdfunding: Invest, Innovate & Accelerate
  • Thursday, October 16 – Crowd Technologies & Business Models

Here at Technoport, we work with crowdfunding (Live Crowdfunding Experiment) and crowdsourcing (Share the Problem) on a regular basis so we’re confident this conference will be of interest to our crowd.

Check out the full agenda here.

pioneers14
14Hermann Ørn Vidarsson

Hermann Ørn VidarssonAugust 22, 2014

Waltz with Investors?

How does it sound to pitch your start up on the red velvet in a Vienna Ballroom?

Last year we visited  a quite intriguing conference in Vienna called Pioneers. Its been going for few years and has established it self as one of the leading Central European events for Start ups.
What really impressed us in 2014, besides the beautiful venue its held, was the quality of the pitches and start ups that got presented. The thickness of the wallets in the panel reviewing them wasn’t a drawback either. Long story short, its quite an opportunity for getting attention outside of scandinavia.

It is closing in on this years conference and the deadline for start ups that wish to present at the event is already on the 1st of September.
This year they also added a few more rewards to those who win the major pitching competition (the Pioneers Challenge 2014).

Among other things, the winner can pocket a $50k seed investment from SpeedInvest and a complete travel package to meet VCs in Silicon Valley and London.

So if your idea is ready for the big world out there, check out the application website

 

Share The Problem - Transnova
4Rob Moore

Rob MooreAugust 11, 2014

How we shared the problem

The dust has settled on Technoport 2014 and we’ve had plenty of time to contemplate on the outcomes and learning opportunities of the conference. During my time at Technoport, I served as the project manager of the Share the Problem sessions, a series of inter-disciplinary workshops where we attempted to find solutions to innovation challenges by sourcing expertise from different fields.

Working on the Share the Problem project allowed me the opportunity to develop, witness and participate in an exciting series of workshops with a huge number of talented people. The beauty Share the Problem’s crowdsourcing philosophy is that it can be effectively applied to any innovation challenge in any industry – it is difficult to paint a scenario in which some crowdsourcing isn’t beneficial.

This was reflected in the diverse challenges we faced at Technoport 2014, where our problem owners and their respective problems each varied widely from each other. Ericsson wanted to discuss how future telecommunication networks would effect society. A-Aqua wanted to harness the expertise of students and researchers to help improve their emergency sanitation system. Trasnova wanted participants to design the electronic transport system of the future, and OMC wanted ideas for apps which could help rural communities in rural India.

The session outcomes were as mixed as the challenges.

Share the Problem

Ericsson’s abstract problem of mapping out a future society was always going to be speculative, based more on what could potentially happen than what would definitely happen. OMC intended to discuss potential avenues for app developers, enabling them to perform further research into feasible ways of enhancing the social benefit of their energy networks. The workshops that I was more heavily involved with, A-Aqua and Transnova, were more practically defined with specific obstacles for participants to overcome.

My personal highlight was the practical creativity during Monday’s Transnova workshop. Armed with a seemingly endless supply of cardboard, markers, tape, scissors and ideas, participants (including psychology professors, industrial designers and NTNU students) created a prototype of the electronic vehicle and transportation system of the future. Ideas varied from a revolutionary transition of the national transportation system away from individual transportation and towards a rail/car hybrid system, to simple but practical solutions to overcome challenges associated with vehicle battery life. Transnova’s representatives were particularly impressed with one participant’s suggestion that car batteries could be attached to mobile chargers that could replenish the battery whilst on the move.

This idea was an example of a pattern which was consistent throughout the sessions: solutions that are relatively simple can be overlooked because they do not fit in with the field of expertise of a company or the trajectory of development of a technological product. This is not the fault of the company or organisation facing the problem – it is a more deeply engrained challenge of modern society which can be overcome by improved multi-disciplinary communication.

This was best demonstrated in a solution proposed by an NTNU student to one of A-Aqua’s challenges – to find a way of communicating how their emergency sanitation system can be maintained by end-users in the field. This is particularly difficult as these users may have little familiarity with the system, no access to lab equipment and may be from a variety of cultural/language backgrounds. An NTNU industrial design student suggested the straight-forward solution of using principles of graphic design to represent instructions for system maintenance on the system itself. Just one of several excellent ideas in the room (including a group of industrial ecologists’ suggestion that insects could be used to digest waste), A-Aqua left the workshop knowing that they had secured a viable solution to one of their problems.

Share the Problem was a celebration of collective knowledge in a world in which ideas are often isolated. Sometimes this led to exciting new ideas, and sometimes it meant asking new questions from a different perspective. It was a microcosm of everything we wished to practise at Technoport 2014 – innovation, idea exchange, overcoming boundaries, hoping to succeed and daring to fail.

Technoport shared the problem, Trondheim rose to the challenge.

Until next time.

Assistep Live Crowdfunding
60David Nikel

David NikelJuly 8, 2014

Catching up with Equity Crowdfunders AssiStep

It’s been some weeks now since AssiStep stole the show at our Live Crowdfunding Experiment. I caught up with CMO and co-founder Eirik Gjelsvik Medbø to find out his thoughts about the whole crowdfunding process now the dust has settled.

It’s been a hectic time for AssiStep since Technoport 2014. I sit in the same co-working space as them (DIGS here in Trondheim) and have seen first-hand how much effort they are putting into product development.

“We have worked a lot with product development since Technoport. We are trying to put things into production, there are still some small issues that come up once in a while that we need to solve and it takes time solving problems, ordering new parts. Our technology is now able to turn corners. This worked in theory before the crowdfunding event, but now we’ve been able to check it actually works in practice, which is a big milestone for us as it makes us unique in the market.”

It may surprise some of you new to equity crowdfunding that AssiStep hasn’t yet received a single kroner of the investment pledged at the Live Crowdfunding Experiement. In fact, the funding round hasn’t even closed yet.

The funding round was over-subscribed, and the Assistep team is busy working out which investors to take on board.

“Since the Technoport event we’ve had an offer from a seed fund who wanted to join in the funding round. This has been a bit more work and things are taking a bit more time than we expected, so we haven’t been able to close the round yet.”

“It is a case of probably accepting the larger investments, because this makes it easier to have good communication with all our investors, but it’s also the result of a thought process. Do we want friends and family to invest? After some thought we decided it’s probably wise not to have friends and family on board, so we don’t feel like we are always working when we spend time with them.”

“FundedByMe enables the communication really, the process beyond that is more governed by us and how we want to act. We’ve had some hints and tips from FundedByMe on what to do next and how to run the process with our potential investors, which has been really helpful.”

AssiStep hopes to close the funding round very soon, take the investment and put their product into production. With some deals already made in Norway and interest from potential partners in Sweden and Denmark, the future looks bright for AssiStep, thanks to equity crowdfunding!

“It would have been more difficult without the crowdfunding process. We’re sure we would have used more time finding the investors if it wasn’t for the Live Crowdfunding Experiment, and not even sure we’d have found the investment by now. It was a great opportunity for us and saved so much time by not having to sit through all the potential meetings with investors, one at a time.”

Share The Problem - Transnova
60David Nikel

David NikelMay 27, 2014

A Look Back at Share The Problem

The Live Crowdfunding Experiment wasn’t our only experiment at Technoport 2014.

We also launched a series of crowdsourcing workshops, following a successful pilot event with Statoil earlier this year. The concept is simple. Partners describe a real problem specific to their industry and look to source solutions from a diverse group of participants with “fresh eyes”. We called these workshops Share The Problem.

It is fair to say there was a mixed bag of results from across the sessions, but one thing was clear from the feedback: participants enjoyed the process and learned something new.

I caught up with Erlend Solem, Director of Transnova, just before he was due to meet the Norwegian Government’s Transport Committee. He was so excited about the results from the Transnova Share the Problem that a one-minute chat turned into fifteen. Sorry if I made you late, Erlend :)

By providing grants and advice for pilot and demonstration projects, Transnova encourages new and future-oriented sustainable mobility solutions. Their focus areas are:

  • New technologies
  • Increased use of climate-efficient means of transport
  • Reductions in transport

In their Share the Problem session, Transnova asked that if we free ourselves from basing the electric car on the traditional fossil-fuel powered cars, what would the electric car of the future and the system within which it functions look like?


 

How was your Share the Problem?

Erlend Solem Transnova“We were very excited by the process and the methodology. We had no real idea what to expect so we felt the whole event was an interesting experience. The group was very well mixed, it had a perfect balance of competence, even a Professor in Psychology!”

“We were limited to what we could achieve in two sessions of three hours though, it is a short time to set the groups up and have them deliver results.”

Did participants grasp the concept?

“We tried to have them break out of the box completely, which is especially hard in just a few hours, but I felt that the icebreaker and the presentation of the problem was done very well. The group responded very well.”

“I joined some of the groups as they were working and from the bits I observed, each group worked differently. I spoke with several of the group members during the break and they understood there were different processes across the three groups which was very interesting.”

“The results weren’t ideal, but as we were discussing a totally new system we hadn’t expected that. However, they managed to bring three ideas to a concept description stage, which we felt was fantastic.”

That’s something Transnova can take away?

“Absolutely! We discussed with Technoport during the process if it’s possible for us to use the same method with a combination of our own staff and external participants, as we felt the process and method was very clever and effective.”


What did you think?

  • Should we repeat the Share the Problem concept?
  • How can the process be improved?
  • What industries and companies would you like to work with?