Posts Tagged ‘NTNU’

Dirtybit DinoDash
60David Nikel

David NikelJune 5, 2014

Trondheim’s Dirtybit Release Dino Dash

Their recent success at the Nordic Startup Awards crowned an exceptional few years for the three NTNU students behind Dirtybit. Today, things could get even better for them.

The mobile app developers struck gold when their multiplayer game Fun Run shot to the top of Apple’s download charts. To date, Fun Run has been downloaded over 40 million times. The follow-up to Fun Run has been eagerly-awaited by its fans, but also by those of us who monitor the goings-on at startups around Norway.

Today that moment has arrived as Dirtybit, whose staff has swelled to 8, launch Dino Dash:

“Race your Dinos and compete against 5 of your best friends! Who will win? Dino Dash is a multiplayer racing game where you compete in various game modes against other players from all over the world.”

“The Fun Run creators are back with a new, addictive multiplayer racing game! Dino Dash has beautiful cartoony graphics and introduces elimination and boss fight game modes. The goal is first and foremost to have tremendous fun with friends, and secondly to collect Dinos, gain new skills and powerups in order to be the best among your friends. By giving players the option to create custom leaderboards, they can host engaging tournaments and share the fun.”

“Are you up to the challenge of training your Dinos to become the best? Join the fun and race others in three different types of races: Climb the leaderboard by beating the others to the finish line; Try the Egg Hunt where you can win Dinotastic prizes and the losers are eaten alive; Beat the Boss to open up new and adventurous zones.”

How will Dino Dash fare?

Game development is a notoriously tough industry, and the explosion of mobile devices has made things even tougher. Even the biggest success story of them all – Rovio’s Angry Birds – was followed by a ton of titles that didn’t make it. So much so, that Rovio is no longer a games company:

“After reporting flat profits last year, Rovio has a busy year ahead of them with more game releases, and most notably more noise being made on the entertainment side. Rovio is has planned a 2016 movie release and is growing up its own distribution channel for animated content, called ToonsTV, which is just starting its second season, among more theme park openings” – Arctic Startup

The folk at Dirtybit have given themselves every chance though, taking and further developing the popular multiplayer format from Fun Run.

“We’ve taken what we’ve learned from Fun Run and the feedback from our users into the core of Dino Dash. With Dino Dash we aim to show that Fun Run wasn’t just a one-­hit ­wonder, and that we’re able to innovate with our games. Large gaming companies are trying to create the same multiplayer system, so we’re really excited to set the standard and continue to be the market leader in this space”, says Nicolaj Petersen, co-founder and COO of Dirtybit.

Watch this space!

DIGS logo
60David Nikel

David NikelNovember 29, 2013

DIGS brings co-working to Trondheim

Innovation and entrepreneurship in Trondheim is dominated by academic influence. NTNU’s School of Entrepreneurship churns out eager graduates year after year, while their Technology Transfer Office looks to commercialise the institution’s extensive research.

Of course, this is no bad thing.

Academic strength has positioned Trondheim as Norway’s knowledge capital. But what is there for people outside the academic bubble?

The answer – until quite recently – was not very much. The Leiv Eiriksson Nyskaping (LEN) R&D incubator provides valuable assistance to entrepreneurs but in a traditional working environment. Little other infrastructure existed, driving many of those talented NTNU graduates down to Oslo, or even abroad, to grow their business.

The global co-working phenomenon

Co-working provides a professional yet relaxed work environment for people looking for a creative, affordable way to work, collaborate, and innovate. It’s nothing new, variations exist all over the world with a range of aims, from supporting hip tech startups in NYC to driving social change across Africa.

Oslo’s MESH is the flag-bearer for Norwegian co-working, but up until now, Trondheim lacked anywhere similar.

Introducing DIGS, a versatile and highly-visible space on Olav Tryggvasons gate. It’s only been open for a few months and is a long way from completion, but has already attracted high-calibre visitors such as Liv Signe Navarsete, the Minister of Local Government and Regional Development at the time.

DIGS street-front entrance

Open-plan office space

When the renovations are complete, DIGS will offer 1,000m² of offices, open-plan desks, event spaces, and even a street-facing cafe. Co-founder Arnstein Johannes Syltern told me about the concept and what “success” would mean:

“We spent a year travelling as far as San Francisco looking for inspiring co-working concepts. But one thing was important – we couldn’t just lift a concept from Berlin or London and expect it to work in Trondheim. With DIGS we’ve tried to design a concept that will work for a smaller town and our unique environment.”

“It’s important for us to widen access to Trondheim’s innovation scene and give thinkers and creators an independent place to meet and mix. I’d love the city of Trondheim to be known for knowledge and innovation more generally, not just because of NTNU.”

Success through collaboration

While remaining independent, close co-operation with academia will of course be essential to DIGS’ success. The early signs are positive. In fact as I write this, DIGS tenants AssiStep just announced receipt of an NTNU Discovery grant of NOK 900,000. The news was greeted with congratulations and back-slapping from every single member, highlighting the collective spirit that’s quickly developed here.

Collaborative environment at DIGS

Marine technology startup Searis was one of the first tenants at DIGS. Co-founder Bernt-Johan Bergshaven is in no doubt of the benefits to his company, and the city in general:

“DIGS is a very healthy environment for us as we can instantly speak to other members with totally different skillsets. Each week someone new stops by who asks us challenging questions from a private-sector perspective.”

“After I finished my Cybernetics degree, 70% of my class left Trondheim, and many others stayed on to do research. People are already seeing DIGS as a reason to stay and are starting to think about possible ventures they can start.”

As a tenant myself I am somewhat biased, but I’m in no doubt that DIGS will provide a place for Norway’s expert engineers to create value for Trondheim long after their studies are over. Work is ongoing but you are welcome to pop in for a tour. Get in touch via digs.no.

Palo Alto
60David Nikel

David NikelNovember 19, 2013

Learning in Silicon Valley – The Norwegian 11

Eleven Norwegian startups recently completed a one-month intensive program of development at Innovation House in Palo Alto, California.

The TINC (Technology INCubator) program is designed to develop the international potential of Norwegian startups by plugging them into the Silicon Valley community. The chosen startups at various stages of development get access to accommodation and office space, the very best advisors and mentors, and a trusted environment designed for learning and networking.

It’s a terrific opportunity for all Norwegian innovators with global ambitions. Here are the 11 startups that were on the latest program:

Zwipe

Zwipe enables integration of fingerprint authentication on contactless cards. They sure made the most of their time in Palo Alto, signing a global OEM distribution deal and signing a lease on their own office in the Bay area.

Founder and CEO Kim Kristian Humborstad said: “Innovation House … have been instrumental in helping to guide and mentor us not only on industry and technology issues, but also on regional and global issues such as regulation and legislation. All of this support and advice no doubt helped us in signing the global OEM distribution agreement – it’s made all the miles travelled worthwhile.” (read more)

TapBookAuthor

TapBookAuthor helps authors and publishers digitise and enrich their children’s books. Norwegian publisher Samlaget has used the tool to produce a series of apps for the children’s book Jakob and Neikob.

Founder and CEO Sondre Skaug Bjørnebekk was looking for connections over investment and seemed pleased with what he found, writing: “Ironically one of the most promising meetings the coming week for me will be over Skype with a Nordic publisher that I was introduced to after attending the Nordic Entrepreneur of the Year awards event in Los Altos.” (read more)

CrayoNano

Trondheim-based CrayoNano is one of the long list of startups to be born out of research at NTNU. Their mission is to develop and commercialize new hybrid semiconductor technology – a material obtained by growing semiconductor nanowires on graphene. The international potential here is obvious.

OneTraffic

OneTraffic founder and CEO André Eilertsen is a former helicopter pilot and traffic reporter, so it’s no surprise to learn his startup is focused on solving the world’s traffic problems!

The global traffic collaboration system has a dual aim – to save its users time and money, but also to help people use existing transport infrastructure more efficiently, reducing pollution too.

Databeat

Databeat count Elkjøp, Lefdal, Bunnpris and Platekompaniet among its customers, so travelled to California hoping to develop their retail-focused digital media business beyond the Norwegian border.

Kikora

Innovation within education is evolving rapidly and the 13 staff at Kikora‘s Oslo HQ are at the forefront. Their cloud-based mathematics learning tool is already used in Norwegian schools, with high-profile supporters such as former Minister of Education Trond Giske, who said: “This might lead to bigger changes in Norwegian schools than we’ve seen in decades, maybe ever.”

Explorable

Staying on the education theme, the Explorable website attempts to make scientific research easier to understand. Future plans to develop the business include research tools for scientists and tools to help students learn about scientific methods.

Vippy

Vippy offers an easy-to-use video platform to customers including NHO, PwC and Hafslund. Their smart video player solution is designed for today’s mobile-first world, automatically detecting the user’s device to ensure flawless playback.

ConceptoMed

Innovations from ConceptoMed are designed to enhance efficiency and safety during everyday work-operations in the medical workplace.

Their ConceptoShield technology is designed for the 10% of people with a phobia of blood or needles, helping medical professionals do their job safely and efficiently.

Dossier Solutions

Dossier offers technology for HR departments, such as Onboarding, designed to assist in the process of welcoming and training new employees.

AppsCo

AppsCo was one of the youngest startups in the program, only founded in April this year. They provide an all-in-one platform to create, sell and use web based applications.

Photo credit: Jorge Luis Zapico

Photo: Lillian Eidem, from “Eksperter i team”, NTNU 2013.
3Eirik Gjelsvik Medbø

Eirik Gjelsvik MedbøOctober 24, 2013

Experts in Teamwork – the melting pot of NTNU

The key to make even better solutions for the future, is to make people with different skillsets join forces. The course “Experts in Teamwork” lets master students from all disciplines at NTNU learn about interdisciplinary teamwork and collaborate to create innovative solutions to the big questions of our time.

As Annette wrote in an earlier blog post, sourcing ideas from people with different backgrounds is seen as an important way to make better solutions for the future. With more points of view in problem-solving, solutions can emerge that are more well-adapted to all stakeholders, and good solutions can spread across traditional disciplines.

NTNU has since 2001 let master-level students from all disciplines cooperate to find new solutions in the mandatory course Experts in Teamwork (EiT). Groups of around 5 students from different areas work with a self-defined group project from real-life problems within different areas. After half a year, each groups delivers both their proposed solution within the area, as well as a report of reflections on the dynamics of the teamwork.

The benefits for the students are two-fold; firstly, it gives experience in collaborating with others with widely different perspectives, opinions and skillsets. Secondly, it gives the opportunity to work with real-life problems, and see how their skills can be successfully employed in practice. Experts in Teamwork acts as the “melting pot” of the university, both giving good proposals for new solutions, as well as preparing the students for the increasing use of collaboration and teamwork in the industry.

For the third year in a row, Technoport collaborates with a set of EiT villages (classes) to add another dimension to the cours. Technoport will work to help groups focus even more on innovation, and inspire to put in the extra effort to make truly great solutions come to life. If you’re a student planning to do the EiT course in the spring of 2014 and want to work with the big questions of our time, consider applying for one of these villages, all collaborating with Technoport;

  • CO2 capture
  • Sustainable affordable housing for all
  • Rent drikkevann
  • Folkehelsa
  • Smart Grid
  • Havenergi
  • Smart energibruk
  • Waterworld
  • Forvaltning og bevaring av økosystemtjenester og biomangfold
  • Miljøpåvirkning og helse
  • Verdiskaping og samfunnsansvar

And finally, check out the video we made from last year’s Technoport Students campaign, in collaboration with EiT

BusinessModel
3Eirik Gjelsvik Medbø

Eirik Gjelsvik MedbøOctober 1, 2013

Sparking student innovation

“A little less conversation, a little more action please”. Elvis Presley probably didn’t write the song intending to describe innovation, but he actually sums it up quite well; innovation needs action! Spark is a new initiative at NTNU aiming to help students take action and be innovators and entrepreneurs themselves.

What do you do when you think you have a good idea? How do you begin? What should you say, or can you say anything at all? How can you develop your idea? These are questions that often remain unanswered, stopping creative students from exploring their ideas and being obstacles toward innovation. Employees at NTNU can get help answering them using the Technology Transfer Office (TTO), whereas students haven’t had that opportunity. Until now.

Spark was created in cooperation between NTNU and TrønderEnergi, and has one main goal: to nurture and help students who think they have a good idea, to actually do something about it. Spark employs students having started companies themselves, as mentors for students with an idea, to help sort out where to begin and what path to take. Also, the initiative can help by providing that small amount of cash that is often needed in the nascent stage, to make the first prototype or get meetings with potential customers. All mentors are hired by NTNU and have signed a confidentiality agreement with NTNU, so they cannot say anything about the idea to anyone unless the student wants them to.

Spark was soft-launched this September, and it has already gotten a massive feedback from students with ideas. The number of students contacting Spark every week since the softlaunch has shown that the initiative, being unique in Norway, actually answers to a real problem. We have people coming to us wanting to make various types of initiatives, from board games, via apps, to new organisations for different purposes.

NGA

Photo by: Start NTNU

 

So, why should you become an entrepreneur already before you graduate? There are many possible answers to that question, but some of them are:
● It’s some of the best experience you can have applying for a job later on, or you could actually create your own job.
● If you ever want to do it, now is the time where almost no-one else depends on you, and you even get a student loan and scholarship so you don’t have to work. When you have a mortgage, family, spouse and a paid job, you will find it much harder to try. Do it now.
● The university is an unlimited source of good knowledge in a wide range of areas, and as an interested student, you can harvest it for free. Scientific employees are less “threatened”, or afraid to seem stupid, when speaking to young students, and will more
easily share both what they know and what they think they know.
● The younger you are, the more innovative you are. A study from the University of Texas and the University of Massachusetts shows that freshmen are more innovative than graduates, as they think more “outside the box”.
● You are tired with school and want to use your abilities to something that actually creates value, rather than writing reports or exercises trying to find predetermined answers.

So if you have a halfway good idea, you can now come to us in Spark and talk about it, and we will help you find the next steps to maybe make it happen. Maybe you will make the next Fun Run, Fast, Chipcon or Atmel? Or, do you want to help us make Spark even better? Contact us at kontakt@sparkntnu.no

Photo by: Anne-Lise Aakervik

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4Gøril Forbord

Gøril ForbordSeptember 5, 2013

Welcome to Technoport Playground

Welcome to our new blog: Technoport Playground! This is a blog about innovation, technology and sustainability.

In Technoport we have earlier focused on sharing exiting new knowledge.  We will now go one step further and use our resources on innovation. Can you imagine a marketplace where innovation is the main commodity? We can, and we will work hard to ensure that the Technoport events become relevant for investors, entrepreneurs, industrialists and every one else passionate about innovation.

Lucky for me, this includes me. Ever since I was a student at NTNU I have been passionate about innovation. I do believe that commercialisation of research will benefit the society by creating new jobs, improve existing processes, and every once in a while provide game changing inventions.

This is the reason why I have been working within the field since 2007, first as a project manager at NTNU Technology Transfer AS (TTO). A perfect starting point since TTO’s job is to nurture great ideas from NTNU into industrial application. This job also lead the way into my four years as entrepreneur, when I was offered the position as CEO of MemfoACT, a spin-off company from NTNU. This was a dream come true for me. The learning curve working as CEO and later as VP of sales, has been steep, and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn about the challenges of bringing new ideas into life.

Innovation and technology are efficient tools for facilitating change, and Technoport wants to focus more on innovation, and how it contributes to make a sustainable society. It is our belief that innovation comes easier when we think aloud together.

In our younger days we did this a lot as we co created sand-castles or invented new rules when the game we played didn’t work with the resources we had available. Hence we named the blog Technoport Playground.

This blog is a place for us, the Technoport staff, to air some ideas and get feedback on what you would like to see at the next Technoport event.

I hope you find Technoport Playground interesting and fun, and I really would like your feedback!  Perhaps you have a good idea that you want to share?

iphone
11Annette Hovdal

Annette HovdalAugust 5, 2013

New apps could be of great importance for Norwegian police

Two master students in computer science from NTNU are this summer working on “police apps”, which could change the way we communicate with the police, and make it easier for the police to locate us, in case of an emergency.  

On 2 August, Bergen Tidende published an article about the students Eirik Mildestveit Hammerstad and Esben Aarseth, which are working on two “police apps”. The apps will be tested in Finnmark, Norway, and the Finnmark police are looking forward testing them out, saying the apps will give unlimited opportunities.

The sooner the police can form the best possible picture of different situations happening from the operation center, the better. Esben’s app could be an important tool here.  He is working on a “112-app” which uploads the caller’s exact location when calling the emergency number. As of today, if the police get an emergency phone, they do not have the information to locate the person calling. The call could be traced, but this is very expensive. The app also has an “emergency chat” which gives you the opportunity to communicate with the police without having to call.  In addition, it will be possible for people to send pictures to the police at the operating center. The ability to receive pictures can help the police to better know what missions to prioritize.  

Eirik is working on a web-app where it should be possible to book an appointment with the police, renew your passport, submit a report, and deliver a police complaint.  

The prototypes of the apps are almost finished. If the police like the apps after testing them, it is possible that the two student’s summer projects will be realized.

 We cross our fingers, and hope the apps will be a success! 

Do you have an idea to an app of public utility?