Svenska Flaggans Dag sammanföll i år med den dagen som Svenska Ambassaden i Washington DC besökte Silicon Valley under deras ”Sweden on The Road”-turné. Första stoppet för dagen var på Innovation House i Palo där min namne Anne Worsoe (chef här för Innovasjon Norge) och jag själv tog emot och berättade om det nordiska samarbetsprojekt vi startar igång nu med medel från Nordiska Ministerrådets organ Norden. Senare fortsatte resan till Google, Ericsson och avslutningsvis Tesla.
Swedish Flag Day – the national holiday of Sweden – coincided through some fortuitous twist of fate with the day that the Swedish Embassy initiative Sweden on the Road kicked off its Silicon Valley tour and started the visits with a breakfast at Innovation House in Palo Alto, organized by VINNOVA Silicon Valley. For those not already familiar with this really awesome space that Innovation Norway inaugurated a little over a year ago, it is centrally located in downtown Palo Alto on 470 Ramona St, and hosts a number of desks, some meeting rooms, and a small common area. The Nordic companies that use the space see it a bit like a home away from home, before finding their bearings in the Bay Area or growing too large to stay.
Anne Worsoe, the Director of Innovation Norway in SF and Silicon Valley generously waved the Swedish Flag as the Swedish Ambassador Björn Lyrvall, together with his team on the bus and the other guests arrived. There truly was a festive atmosphere that morning and the Nordic spirit was boundless.
In strengthening the collaboration between the Nordic countries, partly through a grant from The Nordic Council, Innovation House will become even more so a Nordic affair. Together, the Nordic bridge organizations present in Silicon Valley, i.e Innovation Norway, Innovation Center Denmark, FinPro, and VINNOVA (in collaboration with Business Sweden) will be able to serve the Nordic Startup community more efficiently and with even higher quality than when operating country by country.
It’s all about scale: to make an impact here in the Bay Area, we have everything to gain by pooling our resources and sharing our networks. And as the Finnish Honorary Consul Michel Wendell said during the conversation: ”They don’t really care here whether you are Swedish or Finnish or Danish, to them we are all the same. And we really need much greater support from back home in our own countries. We should have a common space at least twice the size of this!”
You have to start somewhere, however, and we are all very much looking forward to being good stewards in making this a successful start of something bigger to come.
And then the tour continued to Google, Ericsson and to Tesla Motors.
If you are a Nordic startup, you are welcome to rent a desk at Innovation House. Just contact me and I will put you in touch with the Community Manager. In the future, we will also try to reserve some desks in San Francisco in some of the more popular co-working spaces.
We are furthermore welcoming corporate sponsors as we see the benefit of this becoming a public-private partnership.
Photos are courtesy of Isak Bodin Alfredsson, the official photographer of Sweden on the Road.
Det nordiska samarbetet i Silicon Valley går framåt. Tack vare ett samarbete mellan Innovasjon Norge och VINNOVA/Almi hade i våras även svenska företag möjlighet att följa det norska programmet TINC, ett fyraveckorsprogram för tech startups med ambitioner att skala upp på en internationell marknad. Nu finns det möjlighet att söka till höstens omgång, se nedan för mer info.
Here in Silicon Valley, the Nordic collaborative efforts are thriving. As we approach the bicentennial anniversary of when Norway entered into a union with Sweden (which was – regretfully for some, fortunately for others – peacefully dissolved in 1905), Innovation Norway and VINNOVA/Almi have recently had their first go at running a startup program together. TINC – TechnologyINCubator is a Norwegian initiative that has been running for two years already, and has so far benefitted 45 companies. In brief, it is a 4-week Silicon Valley immersion program offered to tech startups ready, or almost ready, to launch with ambitions and potential for international growth.
Between March 17th-April 11th, 3 Norwegian and 3 Swedish startups turned Innovation House in Palo Alto into their Silicon Valley headquarters. The companies were:
The program is very much focused on action. A few workshops will provide some essential and useful background and tools, qualified mentors with serial entrepreneur experience are available for one-on-one sessions, but most of the time is dedicated to meetings with potential customers, partners, investors etc..that can add value in one form or another to the business.
Instead of my trying to capture all the benefits, I encourage you to watch the videos below and let the companies tell their own story.
Some of the quotes given by TINC alumni are:
”This is probably the best investment we have made” (note: cost estimate is $8000-9000 per person)
”The mentors provided by TINC were world-class compared to what we had access to back home”
”Silicon Valley is now demystified – we now feel that we belong here too!”
”This has not just transformed our business, it has transformed us as individuals”.
INTERESTED? Or know of a company that may benefit from the program?
We are currently open for applications to TINC Fall2014, taking place from Oct 20th-Nov 13th. Last date is May 16th.
For Swedish applicants: more info at the VINNOVA website
For Norwegian applicants, or if you want more detailed information about the program, please visit the Innovation Norway website.