StartupDigest Oslo wk 16

This weekend saw what is hopefully the first of many Oslo Health Challenge‘s taking place. The health challenge is Global Service Jam and Startup Weekend joining forces with the Norwegian Cancer Society to do a 48-hour hackaton to find and develop solutions for people with a cancer diagnosis. Four teams spent the weekend building apps and websites to address some of the needs identified with the attending cancer patients. Would love to see it with the size of a Startup Weekend with 10+ teams next time.

This week has a lot going on! The gaming groups are getting busy with several regular meetups, a full day conference on Monday and Ludum Dare in the weekend. Both Silicon Vikings Oslo chapter and Mesh will have their launch events this week. And we have some topic specific workshops and talks that looks interesting. Just as a note to people reading this: I don’t include the regular meetups that don’t have any specific topic. Examples are Wednesday hacking @ Hackeriet, Open Coffee @ Mesh, Byggekveld/Spillutviklingskveld @ Bitraf.

Enjoy your week.

What’s Going on in the Oslo Startup Community

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BetaFactory and the era of accelerators

From incubators being the key to startups reaching their potential we have now moved to the age of accelerators. Their ideal is to have lean, fast and pivot ready companies come in to validate their idea and get traction. This is usually done through short and intensive programs usually spanning 3-6 months. The accelerator offers direct mentoring by entrepreneurs, investors and other business people; guidance on business matters; a small amount of funding to live through the accelerator program and exposure through media connections and demo days. For this the startups that attend give away a stake of the company to attend these accelerator programs (up to 10%).

Accelerators boosting startups with a more powerful start

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Tinc – new 1-month incubator program for Norwegian tech startups

As incubators are a focus area of Innovation Norway there exists a number of them in Norway already. There are a lot of discussions around their effectiveness and I am sure there are numerous reports on the topic. However this new program caught my interest. Innovation Norway’s San Fransisco office has started a incubator program together with the Kauffman Foundation. For those of you who don’t know the Kaufmann Foundation they are one of the largest non-profit organizations that focus on entrepreneurship with a asset base of  $2 billion . With the nobel vision to “foster a society of economically independent individuals who are engaged citizens, contributing to the improvement of their communities”. So my hopes raised when I read they were involved.

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Finding startup and tech events in Oslo

Finding interesting events can be time consuming and you usually end up going to the same events you have usually gone to. Two new initiatives have launched in 2012 that can help you break the habit and find new interesting events to attend in Oslo.

 

In January I started as the Oslo curator for StartupDigest.com. StartupDigest is a city specific curated list of events. The focus is on events that will be worthwhile for tech founders to attend. So events with a focus on developing practical skills and workshops are preferred over just talking sessions.  There are digests for most large cities with a developed startup ecosystem and it is a great way to find out what you should attend both where you live and when visiting a city.  To get weekly update for Oslo you register at the site and check Oslo as a city you want news from. A newsletter will then arrive in your inbox every Monday with selected events for the coming week. You can also check out the upcoming events section on this site as it shows the research for the StartupDigest events.

 

If you are looking for a more general source of events take a look at Glimt.com. This comprehensive calendar made by Hans Jørgen Lysglimt covers all types of events happening in Oslo. Topics range from shows to political meetings and tech meetups. There are some filters available to narrow your search but I am missing an option to remove some keywords and not show the most frequent hosts like Oslo Kino. With some added controls and filters this can become a great tool for many people.

 

So if you want a better overview of what events are taking place in Oslo go take a look at glimt.com, use this site and sign-up for StartupDigest Oslo.

Building a startup community

Winter is typically associated with things moving slow, hibernation and isolation. But for Oslo and Norway the last half year has been like springtime for new initiatives that will improve the tech startup community. As curator for StartupDigest, co-host of Startup Beers and Morning coffee as well as organizer of Startup Weekend I am drinking the cool aid, but I hear this from non-drinking acquaintances as well.

The arenas for bringing projects and business ideas are growing in Norway. There are new  hackatons and meetups being arranged all over Norway. Startup Weekend which I help organize will in the span of a half year expand from having events in Oslo to cover Trondheim, Bergen and Stavanger. These events and meetups make it easier to go from having an idea to realizing a business around it. Connecting the events and spreading the awareness will help reaching the many people that have ideas but don’t know where to go to get support.

As an example of collaboration last week saw the tech community led event Communities in Action taking place. It was an evening of tech talks that  drew over 500 developers to topics covering development, infrastructure and methodologies. As usual when there is programmers there is also a lot of pet projects being discussed. With more focus on the business side of it and dedicated time to building them many of these projects could become interesting companies .

Paul Graham has come to the conclusion that there are two components needed to have startups thrive in a city. The first is the mentality that startups are cool to do and the second is to have chance meetings with people who can help you. My gut feeling tells me that 2012 will be the year when both of these components reach a level in Norway that allows us to say that we have an active startup community.

Hello world!

After spending a lot of time on startup related events and a lot of people expressing the need for a blog / site to gather the information about the different initiatives going on. This site will be an attempt to cover this lack of information.

We expect to write about :

  • Startup events like Startup Weekend
  • Initiatives for founders and prospective founders
  • Startup companies that we find interesting
  • Events that can foster new ideas / projects (hacking, design, etc)
  • Some related news from abroad

Any help in sourcing stories, events,  interesting people and companies are greatly appreciated. You can reach us at [email protected] and [email protected]