Posts Tagged ‘Startup Weekend’

Startup Weekend Trondheim
60David Nikel

David NikelNovember 13, 2014

That was Startup Weekend Trondheim

A new technology to drive better online discussions won Startup Weekend Trondheim last weekend. The team want On Topic to be adopted by newspaper and magazine websites, so users can immediately get a feel for the discussion without wading through a long list of comments.

Key to their victory against five other strong ideas was their presentation, which communicated the concept quickly and clearly.

Team spokesperson Jørgen Foss Eri was thrilled and is often the case at Startup Weekends, the idea wasn’t the one he was hoping to work on:

“It was a happy accident! I came to pitch a different idea but ended up pitching this one too. It’s my first Startup Weekend. Having someone to go with made all the difference to me and gave me the confidence to pitch.”

“The team management aspect was the crucial part. Working with complete strangers for the weekend is a challenge! At times we were split in all different directions but we worked through it. We spent all of Saturday pinning down the concept.”

Winning team On Topic

Wild Wood Design was awarded second place for their hardware idea to reuse and recycle waste wood into design-led furniture for hotels and restaurants. The team were hard at work in the DIGS workshop all weekend and managed to produce a table that impressed judge Tommy Dahlen so much that he lay down cold hard cash to purchase it. A great start for their business!

Wild Wood Design

Technoport was a proud sponsor once again and our CEO Gøril Forbord was on the judging panel:

“It was really fun, I love Startup Weekend! At Technoport we are working to awaken the entrepreneurial mindset and I know of no better way than this. Being a judge is tough because you have such a short time to evaluate the ideas, but I do think some of these ideas could go forward to become real businesses. It’s important for some of them to talk with real customers as soon as possible.”

It’s awesome to see the Trondheim event finally gaining momentum, with a great mix of skills and ages ranging from 12 to 70!

To keep in touch with the organisers and be first in the queue next time, simply like their Facebook page. If you can’t wait until the next event, check out Startup Weekend Bergen, starting this Friday.


Mentoring at Startup Weekend

Photo credits: Victor Kleive & Stina Liland Nysæther

Teamwork at Startup Weekend Trondheim
60David Nikel

David NikelNovember 3, 2014

Why attend Startup Weekend Trondheim?

Technoport is again a proud sponsor of Startup Weekend Trondheim, to be held at DIGS from 7-9 November. We are fully behind the initiative for one simple reason: it provides an open, inclusive environment to get your hands dirty, build and test your ideas, instead of just talking about them!

I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in several Startup Weekends back in Oslo, including a memorable editions for Norwegian veterans. I’ve also interviewed winners from Stavanger and Bergen, and ducked my head into the Trondheim event earlier this year. With this experience, I’ve put together a quick list of why you should attend Startup Weekend Trondheim:

1. Don’t just talk – build and test your big idea

Do you have a business idea? Of course you do! We all do.

The difference between those of us who have an idea and those of us who run successful businesses is really quite simple – action.

If you’re a graphic designer with a great idea for an app, you’re never going to make progress without the help of developers. If you’re a businesswoman with an idea for disrupting your industry, you need developers, designers and mentors to make it happen, or it will forever remain just an idea.

You get the point, I’m sure. Startup Weekend allows you to pitch your idea to a talented group of like-minded people, and gives you the tools and time to put that idea into action. Many teams of people – often people that met for the first time on the Friday night – are so focused on turning a great idea into reality that they create a working prototype for the presentations on Sunday night.

Don’t let your idea gather dust, make it happen at Startup Weekend Trondheim.

2. Learn a new skill

I’ve seen many people come to Startup Weekend primarily to learn a new programming language, and some to even learn to program! Some businesspeople want to hone their technical ability, whereas many developers want to improve their business acumen or marketing sills. Some students of entrepreneurship simply want to practice the processes of pitching and honing in on a winning idea.

Your teammates and mentors will provide a valuable resource from which you can learn. You may even uncover a hidden talent you never knew you had!

3. Create a job

Globally, the Startup Weekend concept has created countless real companies. Even here in Norway, the event sprouted social playlist and music discovery service Soundrop, who secured a $3m investment from Northzone just 18 months after winning Startup Weekend Oslo.

Over in the USA, dog-sitter match-up service Rover came out of Seattle, while the Kansas event produced Truckily, an automated marketing platform for food truck owners.

4. Meet a co-founder

Even if your idea doesn’t win and you choose not to continue it after the weekend, you may choose to continue working with your team on another idea. Or people from another team that you networked with during the event. Or even a mentor! Startup Weekends are fertile ground for meeting co-founders. Come and see for yourself.

5. Make friends, have fun

This last point is perhaps the most important of all. Yes the weekend is devoted to developing business ideas from initial idea to proven prototype, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun along the way! Communal meals and the post-weekend party are great places to network, meet like-minded people, and have some fun.

Startup Weekend Trondheim

Book your ticket to Startup Weekend Trondheim now.

See you there!

Startup Weekend Oslo
60David Nikel

David NikelOctober 14, 2014

Startup Weekend: From Oslo to Trondheim

Anyone who’s anyone in the technology world is in Oslo right now for Oslo Innovation Week. How better to kick off the week celebrating the very best of Norwegian innovations than with a Startup Weekend?

The Oslo event is now well-established among entrepreneurs, developers and designers, but this, the 10th edition, still attracted a healthy mix of experienced and first-time attendees. In particular, there were over 10 designers in attendance, a skill-set often in short supply at Startup Weekends.

The top three ideas were an app for eliminating queues from tourist attractions, a virtual graffiti wall for location-based check-ins and a food market allowing local farmers to sell niche produce. The latter was one of three pitches related to food (perhaps they read this article on why now is the perfect time to start a food startup!) while others involved hardware. It was refreshing to see a good mix of ideas.

The facilitator Kathleen Fritzsche, co-founder of Accelerate Stuttgart, was thrilled with the success of the event and in particular how the teams did their homework:

“The teams did a great job on customer validation. Most attended the workshop on business model canvas where they learned the basics and then put it into action. You could really tell from the final pitches they had done the validation work talking to customers, and some even pivoted based on customer feedback from real people. It’s so important to do that and it’s a very important learning process for the team. So much better than sitting alone working all weekend without asking anyone for feedback!”

Does this sound like something you’d like to have a go at? Well, now is your chance!

From Oslo to Trondheim

Startup Weekend TrondheimOslo passes the Startup Weekend Norway baton on to Trondheim for our event from 7-9 November. Tickets are now available here for the event.

Startup Weekend Trondheim, sponsored by Technoport, will connect you to like-minded people who believe in creating a better world through innovation and making things happen. Whether you’re a student or have been working as a developer, designer, marketer, or entrepreneur for several years, Startup Weekend will spark something very special inside of you!

People with ideas (you don’t need one!) pitch on the Friday night, after which teams are formed. Those teams then work to develop their idea in just 48 hours, ready for a final pitch battle on Sunday night. Many teams go on to continue their projects after the weekend, and some have even built multi-million dollar companies as a direct result of Startup Weekend.

You might end up working through the night.

You might get tired.

But you will make new friends, new business contacts and have an experience like no other!

Read more and register now.

Startup Weekend Oslo
60David Nikel

David NikelNovember 1, 2013

How Startup Weekend teaches big business to innovate

“No Talk, All Action, Launch a Startup in 54 Hours”

That’s the rather bold statement of the Startup Weekend movement, the world’s largest entrepreneurial community. Entrepreneurs, coders, designers, and others come together to create a business concept in one hectic weekend. Some go on to run their businesses full-time, others continue working on their projects in the evenings, and for some it’s just a fun weekend, but every single participant learns something new.

I helped to organise two Startup Weekends in Oslo last year, where the enthusiasm, energy, and buzz was contagious. I felt drawn to like-minded people, and it’s impossible not to expand your network and learn new skills in such an environment.

Once the dust settled, I couldn’t help thinking – why isn’t the corporate world more like this?

My experience of trying to innovate in business (in both Norway and the UK) is not a positive one. When I’ve tried to improve a process or question a norm, I’ve been faced with a brick wall, barriers put in place by an arbitrary hierarchy, or a “robust” process that is anything but.

At Startup Weekend, the best ideas emerge organically, develop rapidly, pivot where appropriate, and reveal just how innovative we humans can be, especially given a tight timeframe and resource restriction.

Corporations getting in on the act

Earlier this year, global Startup Weekend sponsor Coca-Cola hosted an internal event, inviting 96 employees and 4 facilitators to “refresh innovation” at Coke. From 46 ideas, the 14 most popular were selected to develop, some Coke-related and some most definitely not. Following the usual Startup Weekend process of ongoing development, mentor sessions, refinement, and in some instances even complete changes in direction, four winners were chosen with one even able to pitch their idea to Coca-Cola’s operating committee.

“If you’re trying to figure out how your company can foster innovation, Ive never seen a better and cheaper way to do this, and I’ve never seen anything have such an impact” – Nick Seguin, Manager of Entrepreneurship at the Kaufmann Foundation.

Closer to home, Nordic Semiconductor partnered with Startup Weekend Trondheim to offer their Bluetooth low energy chips at a pre-event workshop, with a prize for the best app/idea utilising the technology. Letting talented entrepreneurs work out new ways to use your technology – sounds like a winning idea in itself!

Innovation in the Norwegian Public Sector

IKT Norge (ICT Norway) and Difi (the Norwegian Agency for Public Management and eGovernment) launched Apps4Norge earlier this year, offering prizes worth NOK 150,000 for the best apps and ideas utilising public data to benefit society. Although Apps4Norge was run over a longer timescale, the Startup Weekend concept – forming teams, providing resources (in this case Government datasets) and seeing what happens – was clear for all to see.

The individual Apps4Norge award went to Samstemmer, which takes real-time information from the Parliamentary Data API to provide a visual representation of voting patterns in the Norwegian Parliament.

Lessons for your business

Innovation events such as these are successful not because the individual ideas are groundbreaking, but because it shows everyone what is possible when people are allowed to step outside their day job and play.

Maja Adriaensen, the Country Manager for Startup Weekend Norway, agrees: “Startups generally work because of limitations, normally money. But there’s other ways to create those constraints, on Startup Weekend time is the limited resource. Mixing up staff, taking them completely out of their comfort zone, and creating fake constraints could help big organisations think and act more like innovative startups.”

The options for your company are numerous. Send a few employees to a Startup Weekend, held regularly in Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, and Trondheim. Volunteer your own time as a mentor or speaker, helping inexperienced entrepreneurs on their journey and maybe taking the infectious enthusiasm for innovation back to your workplace.

But remember, hosting an internal event is only worthwhile if you mix departments up, put constraints in place, and then allow people to fully express themselves without fear. This means no checking emails during the event! Outside facilitators are always a good idea, to prevent any bias or agenda-setting from internal management.

Is this something your organisation could benefit from? If not, why not?