Posts Tagged ‘Trondheim’

Global GPS
60David Nikel

David NikelFebruary 9, 2015

FourC Look to Connect the Dots

As the Internet of Things gathers pace and infiltrates every area of our daily lives, business opportunities are everywhere.

Trondheim-based FourC have designed an open infrastructure platform for large-scale IoT deployments. As with most technical solutions, it’s best explained with a use-case.

Consider public transportation. You wait at a bus stop, consulting the live display to see how long the next bus will be. You buy a ticket on your mobile phone, showing it to the driver as you board. The driver registers your journey on his touch-screen device. In the bus control centre, an operator tracks the progress of buses through the rush-hour traffic, watching out for potential problems. How many separate sensors and systems are in play in this example? The answer: almost too many to count.

FourC wants its Groovy M2M Cloud System to connect the dots in situations like these. Imagine collecting all the data from all these sensors, devices, computers and then analysing it in the cloud. The system would track using position sensors like GPS and enable “playback” of those, show the location of devices on maps, display statistics, allow configuration on-the-go and more. Such a system also frees the end customer to source solutions from the best provider, not necessarily the one that matches their previous hardware or software.

Trondheim bus map

Sigmund Henningsen, Business Development Manager at FourC, explains the benefits:

“On a bus you have several computers doing exactly what they are meant to do. The problem with that is you develop a system, install it on its own computer and that’s that. In a few years when the client wants new features, the world of dev tools has moved on and you have a problem integrating a new system onto the old system. Maybe they are using different suppliers or even a different operating system.”

“The basic idea of Groovy M2M is to provide the hardware layer, i.e. small computers, with a Linux operating system designed for distributed computers. The system is like VMWare, providing a messaging service to connect to the cloud and other applications. Each application can run in its container independent of other applications. We strongly believe you need to have a system that can handle different applications from different vendors and even Linux and Windows applications side by side.”

What will convince decision-makers isn’t so much the technical solution, but the business benefits of feature-rich asset management for thousands of devices. Automatic rollback, remote console support, one-click application installs, easy beta-testing of updates, faster development cycles, and sales teams who can offer more features and applications for the same hardware, will draw the bean counters to a solution like this.

B2B Marketing

For those marketers out there, FourC offers a great example of vertical marketing, with pages describing the benefits of their platform for different markets such as automotive, home automation, and healthcare and medical.

One of the more interesting potential applications for the Groovy platform is in healthcare, as Henningsen explains:

“Today, automated home technology can give alerts, cut power, cut heat to hobs, but there is little or no collection of data to share reports and spot trends. For example, if the heat to the hobs must be cut every day, then family or healthcare workers should be made aware of it.”

Striking partnerships with software developers will be key to FourC’s success, and I’ll be interested to see if they go after the end customer or take a partner-first approach. I also expect one or two markets to take off and wouldn’t be surprised to see FourC working solely with transport or solely with healthcare in a year or two.

The Groovy M2M platform launches this month.

Photo credit: Steven Kay

Steve Wozniak
2

Julie MalvikFebruary 3, 2015

Norwegian Students Shooting for the Moon

A shared idea about the future of technology went from a vision to a reality when three Norwegian students got together and founded the company MOON Wearables. The company is created to design and make wearable electronic devices and software applications. The goal: to make life easier for people by giving them beautiful objects they will love to use.

Wearable technology presents the potential for massive transformation in many industries. The more obvious ones include consumer electronics and communications. Early adopter industries include clothing, healthcare, sports and fitness. However, we see many industries adopting wearable technologies as computing and wireless communications integrate wearable into virtually every aspect of product and services.

How can this type of technology improve people’s daily lives?

“Elon Musk once said, “Engineering is the closest thing to magic that exists in the world.”

“We absolutely share his view. And with the rise of the internet-of-things (IoT), we believe the history of engineering and technology is soon facing an inflection point. Where before, most ‘things’ around us have existed as individual cells of technology and engineering, analogous to how computers existed as individual workstations prior to the Internet. Today and going forward, these cells are beginning to be interconnected. The world’s things will begin talking to each other,” Jørgen Veisdal says.

“The currency in this world, as we see it, will be knowledge about the user. Where is he/she? What is he/she doing? Is he/she hungry? Sick? Bored?”

“Utilizing a few simple sensors and microprocessors in conjunction with a few hundred lines of code, MOON and its application can begin making informed predictions about the answers to such questions. Our predictions may then feed into the ecosystem of things around the user, improving his or hers experience.”

“If our app knows that the person is in Trondheim, that the weather is cold and dark, that the user has just walked three kilometers in 25 minutes, and his/her blood sugar is low, these factors may be brought into what the user sees, hears and feels around them. As you walk in the door, your August Smart lock can tell your Sonos sound system to put on some smooth jazz, your light bulbs from LIFX will dim up a calm yellow light, while your Nest sets the thermostat to a soothing 25 degrees. All before the user even has time to take off their shoes,” he says.

An idea born at NTNU

The idea for MOON started two years ago when Jørgen Veisdal began at his graduate degree at Norwegian University of Science and Technology. “A believer in the potential of the-up-and-coming wearable market, I was reviewing the various products in the marketplace trying to understand why some products had been successful and others had failed,” he says.

He tells that this analysis culminates in three key properties, which in his opinion a wearable has to have in order to be successful. “At the time, no products were successfully delivering on all three properties. I still believe that to be the case today.”

The wearable technology market is entering a rapid growth phase. Examples of leading indicators of future wearable technology sales such as Google Trends, cost reduction of the key enabling technologies, increase in functionality that is becoming possible and initial sales of new smart wrist wear such as Apple Watch, and fitness monitors. All show that a very rapid growth is in prospect.

Driven by the arrival of the Apple Watch, which will begin shipping in April according to CEO Tim Cook, the global market for wireless power and charging in wearable applications is set to attain a giant 3,000 percent expansion this year compared to 2014, according to IHS Technology.

Furthermore, there will be a remarkable growth this year for wireless charging in wearable electronic devices. According to statistics on Market Watch the wireless charging in wearables will generate revenue exceeding $1 billion by 2019.

“In choosing which segment of the market we wanted to contribute to, we similarly analyzed what the goals of using any given product may be, and how one might go about trying to achieve such goals. For wearables, this relates mainly to where on the body the device physically sits and what it enables the user to do, that he/she is currently unable to do with a smartphone/tablet,” Jørgen Veisdal says.

“Failing to deliver on either or both of these two properties is, in our opinion, where most wearable vendors get it wrong. When we make product decisions, the final decision always comes down to how it affects one or both of these two factors.”

Goals for 2015

“Ultimately, what we do is build tools that will make people’s lives better. That’s our ultimate goal. When they asked Steve Jobs about how he saw the computer, he would invariably refer to it as the ‘bicycle of the mind’, a tool which enables humans to perform at higher levels than they would be able to without it.”

Veisdal explains, “In our opinion, there have been two such ‘bicycles’ in our industry to date – the personal computer and the smartphone. These were two inventions that truly made people’s lives better in a dramatic way, and largely shaped our modern world. We believe wearable technology has the potential to offer improvements at a similar scale. Our firm’s name was chosen to engrain this belief in our own company culture.”

“We are not spending our twenties building something that aims for incremental improvements. We’re shooting for the MOON.”

In the past few years the wearable technology market has made a huge jump out of the trial and error phase and into the hands of hundreds of thousands of eager consumers, with hundreds of product launches last year alone. With consumers already spending a lot on the product, it should not be surprising that seller competition has skyrocketed.

“We are about to begin manufacturing complete functional prototypes of our device for demo and testing purposes. Because we are building everything in-house, this process is expected to be both comprehensive and time consuming, but we are hopeful that it will culminate in a minimum-viable product by the end of the year.”

“I think it is interesting to talk about motivation. Having followed the technology industry in Silicon Valley like many people may have followed their favorite sport’s teams for over ten years now, we have been dreaming about this opportunity since we were in our early teens. This is it for us,” Veisdal says.

He expresses himself as a dreamer. “In truth, at our core, more than anything we are dreamers. Dreamers work in bits and atoms, trying to create things that we want for ourselves, but that don’t exist around us. In order to do so, in the face of overwhelming odds of failure, putting our hearts, souls on the line, the thing that keeps us going is undoubtedly our passion. The passion we share for what we do.”

“Of course, if such was our goal, there are easier ways for us to make money. We could perfect and license out our circuits and spend our time doing business development instead. It would certainly be a lot cheaper, and we would likely get a lot more sleep while doing so. It’s not magical. It’s not going to make users smile. That’s something I think this country has lost, or maybe never even had, that Silicon Valley is amazing at. Creating user experiences that are so thorough and well thought out that people form an emotional attachment to them. That’s engineering at its finest, and it’s rare.”

Technology Sector in Trondheim
60David Nikel

David NikelJanuary 21, 2015

The State of Trondheim’s Technology Sector

The Trondheim region is home to 554 technology companies employing over 10,000 people, generating more than NOK 14.4bn (USD $1.9bn) in revenues, according to a new report.

The Impello Analysis is an annual report from the Trondheim-based advisory firm Impello Management AS. Every year since 1996, the report analyses the state of the technology sector across the Trondheim region, which encompasses Orkdal, Melhus, Malvik, Leksvik, Stjørdal, Rissa, Midtre Gauldal, Klæbu, Skaun and the city of Trondheim itself.

The report highlights two companies for their impressive growth. Norbit ITS AS is one of the three leading European providers of road tolling systems. Their revenue grew by 209 % from 2012 to 2013. One Voice AS develop tools for risk management and crisis management and have seen 48% average revenue growth (CAGR) from 2009 to 2013.

What Trondheim offers the world

In addition to providing analysis on the raw numbers, the report asks key figures from Norway’s political and business environment challenging questions about the future of Trondheim as a technology city, providing a nice narrative to frame the report’s findings.

Monica Mæland, Norway’s Minister for Trade and Industry, says in the report:

“The amazing research and educational institutions are a driving force behind the technology industry in Trondheim. And not least, the close collaboration between those academic institutions and businesses. What happens in this environment fits nicely with the Government initiatives in areas such as oceans and energy.”

“I must also say that Nobel Prize winners May-Britt and Edvard Moser are evidence not only for the outstanding efforts they have made in medicine, but also of Trondheim’s strength in research.” – (translated from Norwegian)

Following the report’s publication this week, Professor Johan E. Hustad, Prorector of Innovation at NTNU, said the focus of the University was paying off:

“This year’s report again highlights the importance of placing innovation and entrepreneurship high on the agenda at NTNU, to create spin-off enterprises from the work of our employees and our students. Turning cutting-edge technologies and new ideas into companies with global potential is of the upmost importance in a country that basically relies on natural resources like hydropower, oil and gas as well as fisheries and aquaculture.”

Revolve NTNU electric racing car

Revolve NTNU electric racing car

Bridging the gap

It’s in this space between knowledge and business that Technoport seeks to make a difference. Our 2015 conference will attempt to awaken the entrepreneurial mindset in Norway’s researchers, students, and others working in the “knowledge economy”, to help bridge the gap between great research and commercial success. Technoport CEO Gøril Forbord explains:

“Our goal is to stimulate innovation locally, nationally and internationally. We promote discussion about innovation and arrange conferences and events where people can meet. That’s it, simply because we believe innovation will happen when people meet. We can help to further develop Trondheim’s technology sector by innovating ourselves to create better arenas for networking and facilitate more connections between academia and business.

“One thing we can’t lose sight of is the needs of the individual entrepreneur. Technoport is funded by Governmental organiations and large businesses, but it’s important for us all to remember it’s people, not organisations, that create innovation.”

Discuss what’s next for Trondheim

Join us in Trondheim, Norway, on 18 & 19 March as we seek to awaken the entrepreneurial mindset at Technoport 2015.

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.

sw3

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!

Trondheim Developer Conference 2014
60David Nikel

David NikelOctober 28, 2014

Startups at Trondheim Developer Conference

Everyone who is anyone in Trondheim’s technology scene gathered at the Clarion Hotel on Brattøya yesterday for the annual Trondheim Developer Conference. Keynotes from JSON-founder Douglas Crockford of Yahoo and PayPal fame and “creativity evangelist” Denise Jacobs surrounded a packed schedule of talks, ranging from building a cross-platform mobile backend in Azure to an introduction to Bluetooth Low Energy.

Opening of TDC 2014

Exhibition at TDC 2014

But it was also an opportunity for several of Trondheim’s startups to exhibit to the 600 attendees, alongside the likes of Microsoft, Evry and Bouvet.

Cloudure logoCloudure offers cloud hosting geared to the needs of the local Norwegian market and was described by one of the organisers as “one of the hottest companies in Trondheim right now”.

Founder Jørgen Aschim Forsell said, “TDC is for the Trønder-community a long-awaited lift. Networking wise it’s awesome.”

“As a startup, we were extremely grateful for the opportunity to present our service directly to the community that could end up using it. We got a lot of good feedback on our service, got to know a lot of new people and ended up with several solid leads.”

Found logoFound offers a fully hosted SaaS solution for the open-source elastic search technology.

First exhibiting as a startup two years ago, Found has grown its customer base quickly outside of Norway, counting the New York Public Library among their many customers. Their business model is one that many companies in the USA are finding success with, something I’ll probably explore more in a future post.

SuperEgo logoSuperEgo has a simple aim. “We want to help people”, says CEO Odd Joachim Aschim.

To do this, they develop apps such as “Stop self-injury” and “Stop bullying me”, designed to offer help to the user exactly when they need it. The app aimed at stopping self-harming allows the user to record and store supportive messages from themselves, their loved ones, or therapist.

FourCFourC is barely a year old but the combined experience of its founders totals decades.

The company provides a future-proof, open infrastructure system platform for huge-scale M2M and IoT deployments. They offer a cloud product to manage your systems along with software to install on each distributed device.

Koosli logoKoosli is a search engine under development, with an emphasis on people and privacy. Coming soon…

There were plenty more companies on display of course, but these ones specifically caught my eye.

TDC founder Save Asmervik was thrilled with the turnout, which has consistently grown each year since the first event in 2012.

“It’s a real local event. The attendance is 90% from Trondheim, and most of the other 10% are external speakers”, he said.

“For next year we hope to get more students involved as there are over 2,000 studying Computer Science and related subjects here in Trondheim.”

Asmervik also told me he’s looking to increase the number of local startups exhibiting next year. Of course, it’s important to keep the quality level high (quality over quantity all day long) but with the number of emerging startups from NTNU’s School of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer Office, this should be achievable.

Programming conference in Trondheim

Exhibition hall at TDC

Photo credits: Ina H. Stenvig, TDC

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.

i-road-4
14Hermann Ørn Vidarsson

Hermann Ørn VidarssonSeptember 26, 2014

Bigger roads or smaller cars?

Most of the cars I see in the morning traffic jam have just one person in them.

One person occupying 6 square metres of road space.

Car-sharing lanes have been trialled with mixed success, but now the car companies themselves seem to be addressing the problem.

Toyota is launching a new electric concept car for urban transportation. It’s already cooperating with France’s Grenoble and energy supply company EDF to pilot a sharing scheme for it.

It’s a small 3-wheel electric vehicle available in both a single-seat and a two-seat model – and it looks really fun to drive!

According to the Foreigner.no, it’s considered for launch in Norway.

Could smaller cars, not bigger roads, solve our the congestion problems in our cities?

At our Share the Problem on the 2nd October we are looking at the future of urban transportation.

We need a shift of paradigm in the transport sector. We just don’t have the real-estate to support the growth and we certainly don’t have the planet to continue to do as we have been doing.

We invite you on 2nd October to Share the Problem, a crowdsourcing event with a group of people from diverse backgrounds: arts, engineering and social studies. Working together, we will get a better understanding of the challenge ahead and share some new perspectives.2

We’d love to see you there – please register yourself here.

Photo credit: Toyota

NTNU Trondheim
3Marie Jacobsen Lauvås

Marie Jacobsen LauvåsSeptember 22, 2014

3 signs your company should hire an ’entrepreneur in residence’

”I WANT YOU TO COME HERE AND MAKE SOME NOISE!” was the message from my recruiter at the NTNU Technology Transfer department, a company working on creating value out of research results and good ideas.

”We see great potential in exploring new recruitment strategies in order to increase the annual spin-off rate from our company. We believe the right way to do this is by hiring risk-willing people like you. Thus we have proposed a new experiment – a one-year employment for you as our entrepreneur in residence”.

Seeing what has triggered NTNU Technology Transfer to hire a total of 4 entrepreneurs in residence (EIRs) over the past year has made me think of 3 signals suggesting an entrepreneur in residence might be valuable to any company!

You are brave enough to think new!

Everyone knows the feeling of ‘falling behind’ from following a problem-solving process built on formulas that used to be successful earlier on, but as Albert Einstein once stated “we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”.

NTNU Technology Transfer was extremely brave when hiring their first in-house entrepreneurs with one mission: question and challenge everything! They were willing to listen to new thoughts and challenge how things were being done, thus constantly thriving innovation in the workplace! Now European tech trans organizations start looking towards Norway to explore the new model.

EIRs can embody a range of skillsets, backgrounds and interests, and if you are lucky to find an EIR who truly complements your team, this could add significant value to your company, both by cultivating new ideas and bringing in outside perspectives.

You see unexploited potential outside your company’s core business

Being innovative often require big investments in time, focus and money tied to a high risk. Sometimes great opportunities lie within reach; the only thing missing is someone daring to take the next step.

Karl Klingsheim, the director of NTNU Technology Transfer says: “We need more people who are both able AND willing to create commercial value from our techtrans-projects. Serial entrepreneurs are few and far between, and we try very hard to use them as role models for others while we repeatedly provide them with new, tantalizing business opportunities emerging from unique knowledge and technologies from research at NTNU, St.Olavs Hospital and HiST.”.

If your company is able to find EIRs who is in a phase of life where they are not bound to heavy personal investments then, if the timing is right, they might me more willing to take on the required risk to take ideas to the next level. Thus your company can minimize risk by constraining employment to a limited period, while increasing the chances of success by giving the in-house entrepreneur a time limit to build and execute.

You are overwhelmed with new tools and opportunities

New innovative tools, incubators and communities are developed at a constant high pace and you know it takes time and focus to build new relations and keep up with everything new. As EIRs are used to travel new roads and build connections, they can add value to your company by introducing new tools for business development and bridge the gap between your company’s core business and the startup community.

When NTNU Technology Transfer chose to recruit entrepreneurs from the master program NTNUs School of Entrepreneurship they signalled 3 things:

  • They see high potential for a valuable collaboration with students that master entrepreneurship skills
  • They wish to build strong bonds to young entrepreneurs with their new thoughts and high pulse
  • They are brave enough to listen to new input and let entrepreneurs challenge their core business

If a company like NTNU Technology Transfer, whose pure purpose is to commercialise new research, sees value in ‘new entrepreneurial blood’, then there is certainly a huge potential for similar experiments among other businesses in other sectors as well.

What do you think?

Confessions of a gold digger
4Gøril Forbord

Gøril ForbordAugust 27, 2014

Confessions of a Gold Digger, part 1

Originally published in Norwegian on TrondheimTech.no

Have you heard of the Consul General Adolf Øiens startup grant? To a gold digger, this grant represents the ultimate prize.

In January 2009 I was hired as CEO of the tiny NTNU startup, MemfoACT AS. We were to commercialize a patented membrane technology, but the company had no money, an unfinished product and just two aspiring employees.

You don’t need to be well versed in tech-speak to understand my main task as CEO was to raise money. This kicked off the 18-month era in my life that I call the eternal money hunt. My CEO position could just as easily have been termed “gold digger” in the employment contract.

The learning curve was very steep during this period and now a few years have passed, I think it’s time to talk about the hunt that ended with NOK 16m. It might serve as inspiration for some, but for me it’s just a fun story to tell. I’ve never written a hunting story before, so I choose to begin the story with the bird that laid the golden egg.

No clue

How do you raise money? I really had no idea. It was completely uncharted territory. What do you do when you don’t have a clue? You try all sorts of things, so I chose to follow every possible path.
Most ended up as dead-ends.

The Consul General Adolf Øiens startup grant would, however, prove to lay the beautiful golden egg of a grant that was well worth pursuing.

What kind of bird is a Consul General?

Adolf ØiensAdolf Øien himself was Trondheim’s leading trader in the period from 1895 to 1918, and was later the city’s biggest legacy since Thomas Angell. In his name today are five funds and the board for the largest of these, the capital fund, decided in 2009 to give out an annual startup grant of half a million kroner. A wonderful decision.

The grant itself is an ingenious creation. It covers a year’s work to develop a business idea. Applicants who graduated from NTNU or Trondheim Business School have priority, but applicants with relevant skills and professional experience may also be considered.

I encourage you all to apply but be aware the deadline for this year is this Friday 29 August.

Weeping in the bathroom

Since the grant was brand new and unknown in the autumn of 2009, I followed this path simply because it was a path. The application was written in the departures hall at Værnes and submitted merely hours before the deadline.

Preparations for the jury meeting quickly turned sour. I hadn’t had time to shrink our standard presentation down to the allotted ten minutes. A mistake you only make once, but of course it’s best to never make it at all.

I had hardly glanced in the mirror that morning or thought to iron clothes the night before.

I remember needing the toilet during the interrogation and, still sweaty from the interruption halfway through the presentation, I shed a tear in the bathroom when I was finally through with the jury questioning.

An unexpected success

Fortunately enough, our company had an exciting business idea, an abnormally strong research team in the back and fine plans to build a factory and create new industrial jobs for Norway.

Miraculously enough, the fine folks on the fund’s board chose to look past the shambles of a gold digger they had in front of them. I could not believe my ears one week later when the phone rang. Our hunt was over and the ultimate prize was ours – the golden egg worth half a million kroner!

As good hunters do, we went home and celebrated with family, but swapping our hunting gear for sparkling liquids – a real gold digger marks their triumph in the most unsavory manner.

How to apply

The application deadline for this year’s grant is August 29. You can apply by filling out this form via Adolf Øiens website. They require some additional attachments that deserve a little explanation:

1) The business plan
This is the main document. Write a short precise description rather than a long rambling one. Focus on your core business idea, business model, market opportunities and development plans / status. My tip is you limit yourself to three to five pages, and absolutely no longer than ten.

2) Borrowing requirements
The important thing here is to present a credible financing plan in which all aid, loans and any other finance appears. It is considered positive if the project has received support from public institutions or others.

3) Loan security
Not a required attachment, but submit if you have this.

4) Other personal information
Here you can attach a CV or other personal details that may be relevant to the application.

Good Luck! If you have questions, call Torkel Ranum from the Adolf Øiens Funds on 91 00 31 80, or you can ask me.

Photo credit: William Warby