Five Elements of a Perfect Pitch


At our Pre Event Party that we had on September 30th,    2015, Karen Elisabeth Ohm Heskja from DNB, our platinum sponsor, talked about the 5 elements of delivering a perfect 1 minute pitch.

1. Introduction – 10 seconds

Who are you? What is your credibility?

2. The problem – 20 seconds

What is the problem that you want to solve? Is it relevant? Can people relate to it? Is it big problem that is known?

3. The solution – 20 seconds

What are you trying to get across? What are you trying to solve. No need to get technical, just say what the solution is.  Be straight forward and to the point.

4. Who and what do you need? 8 seconds

Who do you need and want on your team.  Be very clear.  Keep in mind the mindset, ambition and most importantly the skill set you are looking for.  Think of the most critical competencies for this.  Think of what you will be building over the weekend and who you think you will work best with.

5. Name of your solution – 2 seconds

It’s important to already have thought of a name. That way your team is able to start working on the other parts of the solution, rather than spend unnecessary time on a name. This can always be changed at a later stage in the development.

There you go! 5 easy, yet critical elements, in delivering a perfect 1 minute pitch.  Remember though, the first one or two seconds on stage will decide whether or not people will listen tIMG_0606-1o you for the rest of the pitch.  Be strong.  Be authentic.  People want to work with people who are passionate and authentic.  Be yourself.

After hearing Karen Elisabeth’s advice, we put it in to practice.  Those who attended the event were handed an item that they then had to pitch, following the 5 elements.  Attendees were given a few minutes to plan out their pitch, and then got up in front of everyone and pitched their ideas.  We had some great ideas of how a teddy bear can make you feel closer to loved ones living far away, or how to use energy from charging a cell phone, and so many other very creative and fun ideas.  We can’t wait to hear even more amazing pitches at our nIMG_0605-1ext Startup Weekend event, October 16th-18th, 2015 at Innovation Dock in Stavanger!


How Startup Weekend Changed One Participant

Sean Paul didn’t even know what a pitch was before he joined his first Startup Weekend event. That day he had no idea of what to expect and never thought before of the concept of creating a business plan in 54 hours.


When asked about the impact Startup weekend had on his life, his reply was;

“It’s much different now that I’ve done it, I think in order to get here, in order to even think about becoming an entrepreneur, I had to go and try something. I had no idea what to expect because I had always worked in the corporate world, but because I met a couple of key people during that weekend to whom I ended up working with, my life has made a complete 180. From there I started to embed myself in the entrepreneur culture in London and Stavanger, and embrace the pay-it-forward attitude that is so prevalent amongst gründers.”

Today Sean Paul is co-founding his own project, Kids United, and he met his partner in this venture at that Startup Weekend event.

By joining Startup Weekend, Sean Paul did something that was completely new for him and from there he ended up getting a job in the innovation arena and finding his passion for entrepreneurship.

Sean Paul was recently at Nutek, listening to a presentation from the founder of Nobody was asking any questions in the forum, but Sean raised his hand and said “ Hi I’m Sean, cofounder of Kids United, I know you’re a very busy guy so what’s the best way for us to get 30 minutes?“

Everyone laughed, but by being up front and blunt, he now has a meeting with him. That’s the kind of attitude encouraged by Startup Weekend.

Startup events should make you open up your mind and see we are all humans to whom you can reach out to ask help from and give help to. That is the sort of attitude that creates a startup community – willingness to exchange knowledge and tools to get everyone evolving without asking anything in return. To pay it forward.

As Sean Paul remarks, “we end up seeing the people we connect with at these events all the time and that gives us this sense of community in the Entrepreneur scenario.”

One of the biggest legacies of events like Startup Weekend is empowering us to connect, to leave embarrassment behind and feel that we belong to one open network of people who allows you to feel confortable while being innovative.

If you want to know more about Sean Paul’s project go to where you can confirm your support.

“Using sport with ball play, and a playful state of mind, Kids United fuses physical movement with logical learning to support the growth of our future’s youth.”

Entrepreneurs, Janteloven, foreigners and other tales…

”General surveillance of the population, ‘silent, mysterious, unperceived vigilance… it is the eye of the government ceaselessly open and watching without distinction over all citizens, yet without subjecting them to any measure of coercion whatever… It does not need to be written into the law” (Bonneville, 1847, 397-9)

Panopticon Janteloven (credit. orwells panopticon)
Panopticon Janteloven (credit. orwells panopticon)

If you live in Norway, you have most likely heard about the Janteloven. Many think that Janteloven refers to one unwritten rule that preaches equality. By doing so they minimize the explanation of what Janteloven is to a simple “one should not be a show off” answer, yet there seems to be more complexity underlying that concept. In this brief text we’ll dive a little to try and reflect upon the hidden meanings of this famous and controversial unwritten rule.

Well, almost nobody likes an arrogant show off and most of us would agree that fairness, impartial judgment and equal rights sounds like a pretty good combo – But does Janteloven really means equality and justice? Let ́s think.

If you are Scandinavian and have never read the romance by Aksel Sandemose, En flyktning krysser sitt spor, 1933, you might be surprised to find out that the Janteloven expression refers to a law that contains not one rule, but ten of them, all carrying pretty much the same spirit, as following:

  • You’re not to think you are anything special.
  • You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
  • You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
  • You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
  • You’re not to think you know more than we do.
  • You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
  • You’re not to think you are good at anything.
  • You’re not to laugh at us.
  • You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
  • You’re not to think you can teach us anything.

In this novel, those who transgress the unwritten Jante ‘law’ are regarded with hostility, as enemies of the town’s communal desire to preserve social stability and uniformity.

After reading these 10 rules do you feel that they carry a spirit of fairness and justice? If so, it seems like an extremely distorted version of it. In that sense, Janteloven more willingly unveils a certain resistance to change and love for homogeneity rather than a flag pro equality. Janteloven is profoundly connected to a sense of uniformity.

And what is uniformity? It is the opposite of diversity. Uniformity is looking alike, thinking alike and acting alike.

If in this Jante world every citizen should ideally look similar, act similar and think similar, if you are not to learn anything from anyone, not to think that anybody has something special to add to the world and that nothing can be as good as life as we know it now. How can there be any progress?

Here lies the complexity. If you think your team is the best you most likely don’t want things to change. You think – how can it get any better than this, right? Ok, this is understandable, but here are 3 things you should consider:

  • As we mentioned in the beginning, no one likes a show off.
  • Even though we all seek complete stability, life is constantly flowing towards change and there is nothing we can do about it. We either accept the ephemerality of things and become active actors of transformation or we resist the inevitable and become trite critics of the unfolding life.
  • Diversity and change can be extremely enriching and positive when one is truly open to it. Every evolution humankind has ever experienced has came through change.

Once you think no one can possibly add anything to your team, people will not want to invite you to their parties – you will be the boring guy in the corner talking about yourself and not listening to anyone else.

If you are a leader that never listens to the voice of difference, you are teaching your team to contain their individualities, their best assets and potential because you are afraid of change.

We are all afraid of something even Amundsen, Heyerdahl, Knut Haukelid and Sverdrup were afraid of something. But these men were not Jante soldiers; they were real actors of change – entrepreneurs.

They were different, they were special. These transgressors of the Janteloven defied what others feared and thought was impossible. They faced death bravely, not because they had no fears, but because they had a purpose bigger than their fears. They would rather face death than a life of settled truths and mediocrity.

That is what entrepreneurs have in common we have a purpose that is bigger than our fears and we embrace change. We won’t let fears limit our vision of the world or ourselves. We think we have something special to share with the world, something different, and something that will change people’s life for the better.

We must face the facts as they are, not as we wish them to be and learn how to deal with them with maturity. We must be bold enough to take decisions and humble enough to take others opinion and well being into consideration.

The entrepreneur who makes his decisions based on fear will not own a successful company for long; neither will a society who evolves based on fear last in freedom, prosperity and peace for long.

Every act inspired by fear is a step towards slavery.



Starting Your Business in Norway? KPMG Advises on Responsible Accounting

In support of the startup community in Norway, Startup Weekend Stavanger (SWS) were invited to do an exclusive interview with KPMG’s legal accounting team. Read on to find out what they advise from the most common accounting mistakes that startups make in year one to the key tax issues to consider when starting a new business.

KPMG offers advice on accounting and tax for startups. [Photo credit: Natalie Hilton]
KPMG offers advice on accounting and tax for startups. [Photo credit: Natalie Hilton]
SWS: What is the most common accounting mistakes that new businesses make in year one of their startup business?

KPMG: The most common mistake is that new businesses underestimate the value of good routines for bookkeeping. If you do not establish routines, and get behind with this, you will have big challenges even though you have the greatest business idea. We often see lack of knowledge and competence connected to accounting and to the legal framework, especially for small enterprises with few employees and lack of people with economic background. However, good order and systems will sometimes even be more important than knowledge and competence. New businesses must also be aware of the liquidity. When expanding, it might take some time until you see the income, however, salary costs and other costs will apply continuously.

SWS: What are the key tax issues to consider when starting a business in Norway?

KPMG: The overall main issue is to act in accordance with reporting requirements and tax reporting deadlines from the first day. If you start failing on this, it might be time consuming and expensive to align afterwards. Of course, it is of importance to investigate which tax rules that will apply for you, based on how your business is organized. For example, there is a beneficial rule named “SkatteFUNN” that might lead to reduced taxes for businesses conducting research and development.

If you sell goods and/or services to other countries, please note that such business activity might lead to tax- and reporting obligation in the other country.

If you hire employees, it is important, among others, to make the required registrations, establish a separate bank account for withholding tax, and establish the required pension scheme (OTP) Incidentally, we recommend that you hire an accountant to handle the above, potentially with assistance from a tax adviser.

SWS: For simplicity and cost savings, many startups begin their business as a sole proprietorship. What advice would you give from an accounting and tax perspective when starting a business under this company form?

KPMG: The advantage of establishing a Sole Proprietorship is that it is easy to establish. However, please note that you are personal responsible. A Private Limited company will in principle limit your risk to the share capital. A private Limited company will also often be perceived as more professional in the market.

SWS: Many startups get confused about VAT, such as knowing when to charge VAT and knowing when to register themselves as a VAT registered business. What is your advice to startups to avoid any tax and accounting issues with VAT?

KPMG: From the time you exceed a turnover of NOK 50 000, you are obliged to register for VAT. However, some business are exempt, for example financial services, health and education. Some advice that could imply a significant benefit is to apply for an advance registration in the VAT register. This is possible if you have had investments exceeding NOK 250 000 including VAT, and it means that you are permitted to deduct VAT even if you have no turnover. It is also important to be aware of the possibility of exception within some industries, for example the petroleum industry.

SWS: In the first year of a business, startups often don’t have the funds to employ a professional accountant or lawyer to assist them with their business activities. What is your advice to startups in this situation?

KPMG: We fully understand that the main focus is to build up the business, and that you do not want to spend much money on compliance. Nevertheless, as mentioned above, it is very important to handle at least the minimum requirements for tax and reporting. There is no doubt that it will save you from concerns and costs if you handle this correctly from the start. We also recommend to contact some advisers that you can contact when you need it.

SWS: Are there specific accounting practices in Norway that differ from other markets that startups need to be aware of? Where can startups learn more about these accounting laws?

KPMG: The rules will in general be the same. However, within some industries there might be separate rules and principles, for example within oil and gas and within some manufacturing enterprises.

If you need more information, please read about KPMG Accounting’s services on the following link here. [In Norwegian].

SWS: With thanks to the following KPMG representatives for their time and advice for this article:

  • Marius Basteviken, Partner, Attorney at law and Business Economist at KPMG Law. Specialist in corporate tax and Transfer Pricing
  • Anne Tengs-Pedersen, Attorney-at-Law at KPMG Law, and specialised in individual taxes and employment law for Norwegian employees as well as for cross border workers.
  • Marit Opstad, Associate Attorney-at-law at KPMG law, specialised in VAT

kpmg_logoSee KPMG‘s website for more information on their services.

Why doesn’t everyone want to start their own business?

Startup Weekend Stavanger’s 2015 event is sponsored by DNB, which is Norway’s largest financial services group. Kristine Moe Sirnes, Marketing Manager DNB corporate, Rogaland and Agder, gives her perspective on partnering with Startup Weekend Stavanger as a Platinum Sponsor.

Kristine Moe Sirnes, Marketing Manager DNB corporate, Rogaland and Agder
Kristine Moe Sirnes, DNB

After having worked hard (and a lot) with getting to know what Startup is all about, I can’t understand why everyone who is still trying to figure out what to do with their life, won’t consider starting their own business!

Okay, so you need a good idea, I get that 😉

All jokes aside, here’s some of what I’ve learned this past year or so.

Working with corporate marketing in DNB is fun, I enjoy almost every single day! We want to engage and encourage more people to start their own businesses. We are cheering for the entrepreneurs, the people who are willing to create not only their own, but new jobs for others as well! We want to share our knowledge and help people build healthy companies by cheering, coaching and giving them economical advice and counselling. No matter the circumstances, we aim at being there for all businesses. Every day. And when it matters the most.

I have learned a lot about entrepreneurship this past year. It’s a never ending learning process, and it thrills me every time I’m in touch with the startup-environment.

Throughout 2014 I was out and about a lot – participating, joining, meeting, presenting, communicating, listening and asking a lot of questions! What gives me a kick is that this is such an incredibly exciting business! We have met all sorts of people and entrepreneurs. So many interesting businesses – and it’s very rewarding when we get to work together with companies like Innovasjon Norge, Skape, Ipark and many more.I love what we have accomplished by working together and towards the same goal – helping and being the best for each other.

If you haven’t yet visited Open Coffee or any of the various co-working spaces in Stavanger east – Mess & Order, Absinthen, Erfjordgt. 8 or Tinnfabrikken yet, be sure to do so! And I am sure you’ll be as amazed as I am when you get to spend time in the exciting facilities hosting Startup Weekend right now – Innovation Dock. I love spending time in Stavanger East!

Anyway – one of the most fun, engaging and amazingly inspiring events we participated at last year when we were out and about, was Startup Weekend Stavanger in October. The concept is great! This is so edutainment! Loads of fun and extremely educational. All kinds of inspiring people, (most of them a lot younger than me though 😉 If I were to contemplate on starting my own business this would so be the event to attend! But, I sincerely think that the Startup Weekend event is a great place for anyone to join, as you get to embrace the positive energy that evolves when people eager to create and innovate get together.

Startup Weekend Stavanger [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
Startup Weekend Stavanger [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
I am very glad we are engaged as a Startup Weekend Stavanger Platinum Sponsor again this year.

I have personally been impatiently waiting for a very interesting report that is soon to be released and published (20th of April). Menon Business Economics has studied a variety of successful Startups from 2003 and up until last year. Menon Business Economics has been digging for information on what successful entrepreneurs have in common. Do they have certain similarities? What do they have in common? What is it about these specific cases that made them successful? I don’t know of any similar study, which makes me very happy that it was DNB who decided to have this type of research done. I’m hoping this is a kind of recipe on how you might succeed as an entrepreneur.

DNB cropped

And I can’t wait for us to be able to share this information with you and with everyone. You are hereby specially invited to spend half an hour with us on Saturday 25th of April, when we are ready to share the headlines with you. We will be celebrating the official opening of our flagship store in Stavanger city center by giving you a little festival with OnklP, Highasakite and Leo Ajkic, among others. Around noon we’ll present the report and show you some cool stuff 😉 (That said, I think you should join us for the entire day of course, check out details about the full program here. It’s free and there will be some great live music, an outdoor scene, entertainment and hopefully some great edutainment as well!

Lots of luck at the Startup Weekend event! I hope to see you all at our event by our Stavanger-flagshipstore on the 25th this month!

Best regards – Kristine

DNB is Norway’s largest financial services group and one of the largest in the Nordic region in terms of market capitalisation. The Group offers a full range of financial services, including loans, savings, advisory services, insurance and pension products for retail and corporate customers. For more information see here.

It all Started with Pitching on Green Grass!

Day One – Friday: The doors opened for Startup Weekend Stavanger at 6:00pm with eager participants waiting to get inside and explore the event space at Innovation Dock. dnb image

Gift bags lined the registration desk waiting to be explored and this year, the participant gift bags were filled with even more cool things thanks to the generosity of the 2015 local sponsors, DNB, KPMG and Innovation Norway! The quirky participant weekend passes were also back with the option to draw yourself as well as write your name on the badge!

With bags and badges distributed, the participants headed straight to the dinner tables to enjoy a range of amazing burgers and spiced potato wedges from the local catering business, House of Fingerfood.

Dinner was followed by a brief welcome from this year’s event Lead Organsers, Natalie Hilton and Nina Meldahl, before passing over the microphone to event Facilitator, Dwight Gunning, to lead the way and get the participants on track for Stavanger’s 2015 Startup Weekend event.

First Guest Speaker Takes the Stage…

The first guest speaker of the night got participants in the right mind set for the weekend by challenging them to think differently about their startup business ideas with a thought provoking presentation. Alain Fassotte, Partner at the Stavanger based change management company, Tribe, inspired participants to move away from habit and automatic thinking and get used to the way that change feels, and just maybe, find a better way to do things. Who would have thought that a simple thumb experiment would make everyone sit up and listen and realise that that when we sometimes do something, we do it out of habit. This showed us all that a little bit of focus and thought is all that is needed to make a small change that could actually make you experience something familiar in a different way. It might feel “weird” but it might also be the solution you were looking for. Thumbs up to our first speaker for presenting a talk that challenged the same old thinking in business and encouraged the entrepreneur mind-set in all of us!

Time to Pitch!

With around 60 guests and participants filling up the venue space with standing room only just before the pitches, it looked set to be a great evening for everyone and the Stavanger event team were there in full force to make sure all participants and guests have a great Startup Weekend experience.

Following the guest speaker presentation, event facilitator Dwight, wasted no time to get the participants ready for the next stage of the evening – the eagerly anticipated pitches!! The audience included some sponsors and all of this year’s event mentors who came along to the pitches to get a glimpse of the ideas and show their enthusiasm for the event concept.

Of the 45 participants that registered to take part in this evening’s pitches, nearly half of them decided to pitch. There were 23 pitches that took place on the rather unusual green grass stage at Innovation Dock tonight, with ideas including a rival concept to Facebook, an online art buying business and an entertainment concept requiring it’s guests to complete challenges to escape specially designed rooms.

With pitches completed, participants and guests excitedly buzzing around the room, casting their votes. After a lively voting session, the votes were counted and 10 teams formed to go forward to the next phase. Groups quickly set up camp around the tables and started to explore the available business tools to structure their ideas, which included printed sheets of the Business Model Canvas.

With the most popular business ideas selected, the newly formed teams used their final hour to get started with exploring the potential of their freshly pitched concepts and test their team dynamics. Before closing the event venue at 11pm, the event team used the bribe of a great breakfast tomorrow sponsored by the new startup business caterer, Food for Thought, in association with Helgø Meny and Alpro, to inspire participants to get up and get started early for their day!

With a good breakfast and two amazing guest speakers to kick of the event tomorrow morning, the participants are in for another exciting day at Startup Weekend Stavanger’s 2015 event. The event team and mentors are also looking forward to seeing where tomorrow leads and what the teams do with their ideas on their startup journey that all started with a green grass stage, some courage and some interesting ideas that may have the potential to win over the judges this Sunday!

Good luck to the newly formed teams for this year’s event. See you tomorrow for breakfast, two great speakers from DNB and Future Home, and another exciting day bursting with your great startup energy and enthusiasm!

AND – If you want to connect with other participants from the Friday pitches and you forgot to exchange details, email and we can try to connect you!

Startup Weekend Participants Get Valuable Advice on Financing

Terje R. Fanebust, Senior Vice President of DNB Sør-Rogaland. [Photo: Rights of DNB]
Terje R. Fanebust, Senior Vice President of DNB Sør-Rogaland. [Photo: Rights of DNB]

On a mission to promote learning and knowledge for startups during the event and beyond the weekend, the lead organisers of Startup Weekend Stavanger introduced a Breakfast Seminar. The initiative involved a one hour business talk session to give insights and knowledge on key business areas that are vital to startups in their journey to establish their business.

The seminar was part of Stavanger Impact Week, with representatives from DNB and KPMG taking part and presenting at the Breakfast Seminar hosted from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM at the event venue, Mess and Order.

The first guest speaker was Terje R. Fanebust , Senior Vice President of DNB Sør-Rogaland, who currently represents the division responsible for startups and growth companies.

DNB is a leading global player in banking in selected industries in Norway and is present in fish and oil sectors including North America and Baltics. According to Terje, DNB currently has 2.1 million retail customers and 220,000 corporate customers. DNB is also one of the largest companies on the Oslo stock exchange.

The Gap between Expectation and Reality

Terje started his presentation with a series of statements and facts about the performance and potential of startups that included the reality that “1 in 3 startups will fail.” Terje then asked the audience, which predominantly consisted of Startup Weekend participants, “How does that make you feel?”

Terje from DNB presents to participants during Startup Weekend Stavanger. [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
Terje from DNB presents to participants during Startup Weekend Stavanger. [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
There was a silence around the room as the event participants contemplated the reality of this fact and the relevance it had to every one of them, who were at Startup Weekend to try and establish the framework of their own startup business ideas. Terje then offered the participants some light and hope by saying, “I believe there is a gap between expectation and reality and banks can build that bridge to make it happen.”

With the participants now fully focused on the valuable advice that might just turn that opening fact into a more hopeful statistic, Terje proceeded to outline the importance of startups for industry but emphasised the challenge that this attractive but risky segment presents for banks.

“Startups represent the same segment as the corporate eco-system”, said Terje. “However, startups also challenge us every day. They are new inventors of technology and they have good ideas. If we listen, we can move forward as a bank. The probability of remaining as a market leader is harder now. We need to listen and keep moving forward.”

Terje explained to the participants that the role of banks is often misunderstood by startups and suggested that startups would have more successful partnerships with banks if they approached the banks differently.

“I have worked with startups for some time now. The expectations of banks and our role are often misunderstood. I hear great ideas of good concepts that I’m positive about but often we can’t do anything”, said Terje. “The Banks commodity is money but this is based on grandparents, family, people like you….We need to trust the risk involved. The main role of a bank is to manage the risk of the money being invested.”

Avoiding the “Valley of Death”

Terje encouraged the participants to be engaged to succeed and told them – “You need to have passion but you also need to have stamina.” He highlighted how easy it can be in Norway to have opportunities to work and do well in life with Norway being one of the richest countries in the world. This inferred that startups may sometimes give up too soon, as it is often too easy to do something else in an economically stable country like Norway.

“In terms of financing your startup, you need to be willing to use private assets”, advised Terje. “You can’t start a business with 30,000 kroners and believe you can avoid the ‘valley of death’. Be prepared, have stamina, and ask yourself if it is a run or a marathon.”

Trust and Relationships Are Key for Startups

During his presentation at the Startup Weekend Stavanger Breakfast Seminar, Terje highlighted the four key areas that banks like DNB look for in a business – “positive, stable, predictable, cash flows.” Terje then outlined some of the most frequent questions that startups ask a bank like DNB.

“Startups always ask ‘how much can I borrow?’, but the answer depends on cash flow and security. You need to have cash flow”, said Terje. “Startups also ask ‘how much equity?’, but this also depends on cash flow and also the industry. Equity is a buffer for you not the bank. It is important to pay people and prepare for the ups and downs of your business.”

“Our slogan is “We will be here for you every day when it matters the most” and we aim to be known as the best bank in Norway for startups”, said Terje. “However, communicate with a bank as early as possible. The gap between concept and idea is big so you need to gain trust early and then get a relationship established to increase the chance of financing later on”, advised Terje.

To support the new generation of startups that were about to be discovered at Startup Weekend Stavanger, DNB provided a free book for every participant – “Opp-Start”.

“We do this book in Norwegian but we also have it in English on a great website. We also have 9 people dedicated to startups in DNB and one day a week we will have a person dedicated to startups at Mess and Order [Startup Weekend Stavanger’s event venue], so there is already a great community here.”

DNB is the Platinum Sponsor for Startup Weekend Stavanger Autumn 2014 and was present at the event over the event weekend to provide support and knowledge to the event participants who took part in the weekend event over 10 to 12 October 2014.

Winners Announced for Startup Weekend Stavanger Autumn 2014!

Startup Weekend Stavanger Autumn 2014 participants [Photo: Suganthan Mohanadasan]
Startup Weekend Stavanger Autumn 2014 participants [Photo: Suganthan
Startup Weekend Stavanger Autumn 2014 kicked off with an exciting evening of pitches on Friday and a total of 8 teams being voted into the next phase. With startup ideas ranging from drone technology products to beer truck service delivering beer 24/7 and a property business involving the conversion of a boat into student apartments, the final night of the weekend was going to be interesting!

Saturday raced by with each team working against the clock to develop their ideas, validate their customer base and ensure that their business concepts would meet the criteria of the judging panel.

With teams eager to take action and use every hour provided during the weekend to develop their startup business, almost every participant arrived bang on 8.30am to grab a quick breakfast and gather their teams together for the final stage of Startup Weekend.

Teams continue working on ideas before the final presentations to judges [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
Teams continue working on ideas before the final presentations to judges [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
The day unfolded with more sessions with mentors and some time to practice presentations and get feedback before the judges arrived. As the clock approached 4:00pm, the energy was building in the room and teams remained separated in small groups to eat some dinner and use the extra time for one final practice of their presentations.

Teams working on ideas before the final presentations to judges [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
Teams working on ideas before the final presentations to judges [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
As the time for final presentations arrived , over 90 guests, including the participants, gathered in the room to experience the final presentations to judges. Local media also arrived to take photos and capture the event with their own interpretation of the startup ideas being presented.

The presentations began with “Health Cloud”, who presented a product that would store your medical records using Cloud technology. The next seven presentations followed and included “Thumb Up”, who proposed an app to reduce traffic congestion problems in Stavanger with the revival of the hitchhiking concept; “Ungdoms Bedrifter”, who proposed a platform for youth entrepreneurs to build business ideas; “Food for Thought”, who proposed a healthy food business concept to provide improved menus for those with a food intolerance; “Homeboat”, who proposed a floating apartment concept to address the shortage of accommodation for students in Stavanger; “On Stavanger”, who proposed a digital culture guide for Stavanger; and finally, “Industreye”, who proposed a drone technology product for offshore exploration.

As soon as final presentations were completed, the judging panel of three left the room. The judges, which included Geir Arve Vika (IT Director at Lyse Group), Lasse Andersen (Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer at ForgeRock), and Øystein Lunde Ohna (Office Manager at TD Veen), were now tasked with digesting the 8 business proposals and deliberating the top three startup ideas of the weekend.

With an hour allocated for judging, a guest speaker, Sjur Svaboe, (Chairman of Biolink Group AS), was invited to present his own personal journey as an entrepreneur and offer some final thoughts for the event participants.

Following Sjur’s fascinating memoirs about his journey to secure finance for his biotechnology products in a country that is predominantly focused on investing in oil and gas initiatives, the event’s Lead Organizers, Natalie Hilton and Nina Meldahl, gave a final keynote to the participants for the Autumn 2014 event and thanked each team member of the Organizing Team by name.

After much discussion among the judges, it was finally time to announce the winning teams! The judges started with 3rd place, which was awarded to Thumb Up. The next award was given for 2nd place, which was awarded to “Health Cloud”. Finally, the winning team that was awarded 1st place was announced! Applause filled the room as the team, “Industreye”, were invited to shake hands with the judges and receive their first prize.

[From Clockwise] Startup Weekend Stavanger winning teams were Thumb Up (3rd place), Health Cloud (2nd place), and the team leader and full team for 1st place Industreye. [Photos: Natalie Hilton]
[From Clockwise] Startup Weekend Stavanger winning teams were Thumb Up (3rd place), Health Cloud (2nd place), and the team leader and full team for 1st place Industreye. [Photos: Natalie Hilton]
The 1st place prize included  a VIP box experience at The Oilers ice-hockey game and time with the VP of DNB bank to provide banking solutions; a review of investor presentations with Proventure; a novelty search including patents and market analysis and consulting on business concepts with Prekubator TTO; a half day workshop with Lyse; and a session on accounting and finance with accountancy firm, KPMG.

The 2nd place prize included office space for 6 months for one person (assuming admission in Ipark Inkubator) from Ipark; a half day workshop with Halogen and a half day workshop with activities tailored to your business by visCO. The 3rd place prizes included a photography session worth 8000 kr with Andrea Rocha Work Photography and free attendance to a course for the team with Skape.

Whilst Industreye impressed the judges with their drone technology product, the judges also took a moment to offer each and every team some valuable feedback and encouraged the winning teams to progress their ideas beyond the event weekend.

With the winning teams announced, all that was left to do was gather everyone together for a group photo to capture the moment that 65 people took action and signed up for Startup Weekend to explore the possibility of new ideas.

As an organizer for Startup Weekend, you join a global network of people who are passionate about entrepreneurship and starting something great. You gather a great team of like-minded people including the organizing team, the mentors, judges, speakers, and Facilitator who each share your passion and vision to create the best event and the most engaging experience you possibly can for the entrepreneurs and inspired people in your city.

Startup Weekend Stavanger's Event Organizing Team for Autumn 2014 [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
Startup Weekend Stavanger’s Event Organizing Team for Autumn 2014 [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
The final ingredient in all this team work, effort and creativity is the people who come to the event on the actual weekend. The participants are the ones who put the Startup Weekend theory into practice and complete the final piece in this global event concept that has evolved to become one of the biggest startup communities in the world.

Great participants came to be a part of Startup Weekend Stavanger’s Autumn 2014 event and every one of these participants made all the planning and preparation come together for one memorable weekend of fun, creativity, passion, hard work, and enthusiasm to start something new.

Congratulations to Industreye, 1st place winners of Startup Weekend Stavanger Autumn 2014 [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
Industreye accept their prizes as 1st place winners of Startup Weekend Stavanger Autumn 2014 [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
What happens beyond this weekend is now up to the participants. They have experienced the excitement of coming together to make something happen and only time will tell if what they have started has the potential to thrive and grow beyond one idea that was shared in just one minute and inspired a team to come together and go on a journey to explore what is possible in just 54-hours at Startup Weekend.

Saturday: Developing Ideas and Learning Beyond Startup Weekend

Participants working on Saturday [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
Participants working on Saturday [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
Day two of Startup Weekend Stavanger started early with participants invited for a light breakfast and a Breakfast Seminar. This was a new initiative introduced by the Lead Organisers to promote learning and knowledge for startups, both during the event and beyond the weekend.

The Breakfast Seminar involved a one hour business talk session to give insights and knowledge on key business areas that are vital to startups in their journey to establish their business. Almost every participant arrived by 8.30am to get a light breakfast and take a seat in the presentation area in time for the presentations by guest speakers from the Norwegian bank, DNB, and global accountancy firm, KPMG.

Terje from DNB presents to participants during Startup Weekend Stavanger. [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
Terje from DNB presents to participants during Startup Weekend Stavanger. [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
The first guest speaker was Terje R. Fanebust, Senior Vice President of DNB Sør-Rogaland, who presented on the challenges startups face when seeking finance. The second guest speaker was Kai Michaelsen, Auditor and Partner of KPMG Stavanger, who gave insights into the typical accounting challenges for startups in Norway.

Guest Speaker from KPMG, Kai Michaelsen [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
Guest Speaker from KPMG, Kai Michaelsen [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
As the seminar ended, the Lead Organisers emphasised the importance of these two topics beyond Startup Weekend and assured all participants that the information and slides from each speaker wold be shared. The success of the Breakfast Seminar initiative was evident by the number of participants that took the opportunity to ask banking and accounting related questions of each of the guest speakers at this point.
However, with the morning kicking off with some intense knowledge building, it was now time to get back to the main reason that everyone was at the event – to develop a big idea into a viable startup business! Teams quickly regrouped and the next stage of their startup journey was back in motion.

After a few hours of working and a light lunch of freshly filled rolls and coffees, participants were invited for a “Startup Workshop”. The first of two workshops for the day started with “Lean Startup & Business Model Canvas” led by event Facilitator, Dwight Gunning. The half hour optional workshop was introduced to the schedule to give participants some tips and tools to progress their startup idea during Saturday.

Once the first workshop was completed, it was time for the first check in. With Oslo holding their Startup Weekend event at the same time as Stavanger, event Facilitator, Dwight Gunning, suggested that the Norwegian cities connected for their check ins. This idea went down a storm with each team in Stavanger and Oslo who took it in turns to proudly stand up in front of a live stream and share the status of their idea…….with an amused wave and enthusiastic greeting into the webcam to kick off each check in!

Stavanger connects with Oslo Startup Weekend for simultaneous check ins. [Photo: Natalie Hilton]
Stavanger connects with Oslo Startup Weekend for simultaneous check ins. [Photo: Natalie Hilton]
Following the webcam check ins, which also included some impromptu cyber networking and idea sharing between participants in each city, it was time for the mentors to get more acquainted with the teams and give them support and advice with progressing their business ideas.

Four mentors with varying skill sets and backgrounds circulated the room to get updates from each team on the progress of their business ideas. Some teams were already starting to develop their startup ideas in a new direction, indicating that the final presentations to judges on Sunday would be both exciting and interesting to hear – and quite possibly a completely new interpretation of the initial idea pitched the night before.

After working for a few hours with mentors and developing ideas further, it was time for the Organizing Team to set up for dinner and get participants to stop working and take a break. However, with the evening now upon the teams, participant’s minds were fully focused on what was needed to prepare for the final day of the event weekend.

Startup Weekend Stavanger’s Lead Organiser, Nina Meldahl with Organising Team Members, Maria Fossbakk and Malin Fagerblom  [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
Startup Weekend Stavanger’s Lead Organiser, Nina Meldahl with Organising Team Members, Maria Fossbakk and Malin Fagerblom [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
To put the participants on the right track for the Sunday presentations to judges, event Facilitator, Dwight, invited participants to join the final “Startup Workshop straight after dinner – “Presentation Preparation & Judging Criteria”. Again, this was a half hour optional workshop but once again, the workshop was well attended indicating the intense level of competition and serious business ideas that were developing between the teams over the weekend.

As Saturday evening drew to a close, there was an air of excitement in the room as participants reluctantly packed up their papers and pens and started to focus on the day that lay ahead. Judgement day was looming and the winning idea for the most promising startup business would soon be revealed for the city of Stavanger.

Friday: Startup Weekend Stavanger Autumn 2014 is Launched!

Startup Weekend Stavanger Autumn 2014 participants [Photo: Suganthan Mohanadasan]
Startup Weekend Stavanger Autumn 2014 participants [Photo: Suganthan
An enthusiasm for entrepreneurship, a desire to drive innovation, and an interest in starting a new business are just some of the reasons why people came to be a part of Startup Weekend Stavanger’s Autumn 2014 event.

Over 65 participants and several guests arrived at Mess & Order to take part in Startup Weekend Stavanger’s second event of 2014.  The event took place over 10th to 12th October at a new co-working space for entrepreneurs in Stavanger, Mess & Order.

In the days leading up to the event, ten volunteers working in the organizing team arrived at the large office space to transform it into a creative playground with a presentation zone, two working areas, and a central networking zone.

To add some personality to the event and facilitate easy networking, Lead Organizers, Natalie Hilton and Nina Meldahl, created a draw your own character badge for participants, mentors, judges, speakers, guests and the organizing team.

Creative event badges for participants and guests at Startup Weekend Stavanger [Photo: Natalie Hilton]
Creative event badges for participants and guests at Startup Weekend Stavanger [Photo: Natalie Hilton]
The design was based on the familiar test tubes of creativity featured in the Startup Weekend logo and proved very popular with people getting creative with their badges as well as their ideas during the Friday night pitches!

Event gift bags were also given to every participant with items provided by event sponsors, DNB, KPMG and University of Stavanger. Local businesses including BI and XXL also contributed towards the gift bags, which also contained an apple, a biscuit bar, a water bottle, some guidelines for pitching and five “connect cards” to encourage networking.

Event gift bags for every participant with items provided by event sponsors and local businesses. [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
Event gift bags for every participant with items provided by event sponsors and local businesses. [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
After some networking and a delicious dinner provided by local catering company, House of Fingerfood, the participants started to get excited (and nervous!) about their big moment to pitch their idea to the crowd gathering in the presentation area.

After a warm welcome from the Lead Organizers, event Facilitator, Dwight Gunning, welcomed the participants and guests with an overview of the global community of Startup Weekend and provided some guidelines and information about the concept.

The welcome was swiftly followed by the first guest speaker of the weekend, Lasse Andersen from ForgeRock. Lasse instantly captivated the room with his relaxed delivery and wry sense of humor as he shared his journey as a startup business and entrepreneur. He ticked every box as the perfect first speaker of a Startup Weekend event with a presentation that was honest, inspiring and motivating in equal measures.

Guest Speaker, Lasse Andersen from FrogeRock [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
Startup Weekend Stavanger’s Guest Speaker, Lasse Andersen from ForgeRock [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
Lasse explained how $52M in funding was raised to create his, now, global business – a Security and Identity Management Open Source Software Company. He then offered valuable advice whilst outlining his four key drivers for startups being passion, people, innovation and lastly – business.

With the room fired up by the motivational presentation from Lasse, the time for pitching had finally arrived! Of the 65 people who participated in the event weekend, there were 22 pitches on Friday evening.

The 54-hour event is aimed at everyone who is passionate about entrepreneurship but it is open to anyone who is interested in being involved in launching a new business or product idea. The ideas for this event were wide ranging and fast pace in delivery with the 60 second clock counting down each second of every pitch, which was coordinated seamlessly by Facilitator, Dwight.

A participant pitches and idea at Startup Weekend Stavanger for student apartments on a boat [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
A participant pitches an idea for student apartments on a boat [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
After an enthusiastic round of pitching, the Facilitator asked one more time for any other ideas. The room fell to a pin drop silence. It was clear that Stavanger’s startup community had shared all the ideas they had to offer. It was now time to begin the frantic phase of voting to find the best ideas for the weekend!

With votes allocated and counted, the Facilitator announced the 8 teams that had made it through to the next stage. The teams with the most votes included Industreye, Health Cloud, Thumb Up, Ungdoms Bedrifter, Food for Thought, Homeboat, Ice-cream Scoop, and On Stavanger. One team that had a surge of interest despite not making the final 8, was Beer Truck Club. With several participants asking to join the Beer Truck Club idea regardless of the final vote and Ice-cream Scoop deciding not to go forward, a decision was made to allow Beer Truck Club to join the list of startups for the weekend and the teams were set.

With the top startup ideas agreed, the teams began to form and participants wasted no time to start working! The tables were promptly occupied by the new teams and the satisfying buzz of conversations and creativity that are so typical at this stage of a Startup Weekend filled the room within minutes.

The next generation of startups in Stavanger were about to be born and the next two days would determine which teams had the potential to turn a great idea into a really great startup business.