At last night's Live Crowdfunding Experience, the winners of the Pitch Competition were announced. Following the preliminary event at DIGS on Tuesday, the "Golden Eight" finalists pitched throughout the first day of the conference to an esteemed panel of judges.
The first prize of NOK 100,000 cash (approx €11,500) was awarded to Seram Coatings AS for ThermaSIC, a silicon carbide coating technology commercialised by NTNU's Technology Transfer Office.
The three runners-up were Staaker, who won a Connect Springboard membership worth NOK 100,000, Morpho Solar, who won NOK 25,000 cash, and Assitech, who won a year's flex membership at DIGS.
There aren’t many speakers that could pull a conference back together at 9am after the party the night before, but Geir Førre and Alf-Egil Bogen managed to do just that.
Førre on Bogen: "He is a unique combination of technical talent, creativity, competitiveness, and energy."
Bogen on Førre: “He is extremely intense with a lot of energy. Maybe too intense sometimes but that’s an important thing."
The two Norwegian entreprenuers told the story of their own careers and that of the Norwegian microchip industry, one of the hidden success stories of Norway. Both studied in the same class at NTNU here in Trondheim and went on to found and/or work in some of the biggest names in the microchip world including Atmel Norway, Nordic Semiconductor, Chipcon and Energy Micro.
The honesty of the discussion surprised many in the audience, as the presenters discussed the sacrificies that must be made on the road of entrepreneurship. Alf-Egil Bogen posed a question to Geir Førre about whether a startup can grow into a global company without leaving Norway:
"At some point, if you run a global business in Norway you have to think like a global company. You cannot stay here without operations elsewhere, and you need to raise an enormous amount of capital. Provided those two things are in place then yes it's possible to grow with Norway as your base."
To close the conference, four speakers explored how the entrepreneurial mindset can be applied within large corporations. Martin Kupp, Associate Professor at ESCP Europe, Louise Helliksen, the Head of Innovation at EVRY, Jeff Skinner, Executive Director at the Deloitte Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and Ville Kairamo, Head of Demola Network shared their thoughts from both an academic and corporate perspective.
It was a session that if anything raised more questions than answers, which could make for a great series of in-depth follow-up discussions. In any case, some key learning points were in any highlighted especially in the final Q&A.
Martin Kupp: "Divison of labor makes you efficient but hinders passion and commitment. This morning we heard how Geir & Alf-Egil took a company from the idea to selling it for millions of dollars."
Jeff Skinner: "If you’re going to be an intrapreneur, then pick an organisation that will actually allow you to do that."
One of Technoport's aims is to reach out beyond the borders of Trondheim, both to bring in internationaly renowend speakers and to spread the word of the great innovations happening in our small corner of the world.
Maija Kopola from Arctic Startup stayed for both days of the conference including the Live Crowdfunding Experience and found the mix of people to her liking:
"My expectation was for a really techie conference, but I found it super interesteing that most of the discussion was about the entrepreneurial mindset and what it actually takes to succeed. It was fun to discuss these things with people from different industries and discover our similar thoughts."
"I really liked this morning's session with Alf-Egil Bogen and Geir Førre because they were so honest about everything. That honesty is so important when you're trying to share your knowledge and experiences, they were present and in the moment and it was very inspirational."
Following today's conference sessions, we held a special discussion to gather feedback from Trondheim for Innovation Norway's Drømmeløftet process. We'll be telling the story from this, plus the other partner events, in due course. Stay tuned!
Thanks to everyone who attended this year's conference and all our speakers and volunteers who helped us achieve the best Technoport conference yet.
Onwards to 2016!