Startup Iceland 2012 – Done!

It was a crazy idea… to begin with. I had this epiphany that Iceland could host a conference focused on Entrepreneurship, Startups and Venture Investing. I have no background or experience in holding conferences or organizing large events. There was no tradition of doing anything like this in Iceland and I started conceiving this idea and started writing about it. I reached out to a bunch of people and started on this crazy journey. There were a lot of twists and turns and pivots on the road. But it ended up being a fantastic event, the entire community participated from members from large organizations to startups to students. We sold out almost all of the tickets a week in advance, our final registered count was 302, I think maybe 250+ showed up on the conference day and we packed 70 entrepreneurs on a Bus with Brad at 7:45 am in Reykjavik. The President of Iceland was inspiring and talked about the Third Wave of Innovation (more on that later), US Ambassador Luis Arreage was gracious and introduced our guests “The Brads” – Brad Feld and Brad Burnham. Speaking to them in a casual conversation format was great, they had so much insight and ideas that I believe can influence Iceland is positive ways. All the speakers were excellent, every agenda item went through smoothly and our Host of the day Magnus Ragnarsson was smooth as silk and I loved his Pink Master of Ceremonies Shirt and Velvet Jacket, I need to ask him where he got it. I was personally inspired, energized and ready to start the planning for the next year. There were many people who helped, it would be impossible to list all their names but here is the organizing team, they were phenomenal… I want to thank each and everyone of them for their contribution.

  • Ágúst Ingason – Vertu 
  • Alexander Richter – ThinkGeoEnergy
  • Andrés Jónsson–Góð Samskipti
  • Dilja Valsdóttir – Innovit
  • Guðmundur Bjarni Sigurðsson – Kosmos & Kaos
  • Guðmundur R Einarsson – GRE
  • Hamid Pourvatan – Reykjavik University
  • Haraldur Diego – Fagráð  (hluti Arnarflugs ehf.)
  • Haukur Guðjónsson – Búngaló
  • Hákon Ágústsson –Iceland Air
  • Kristine Helen Falgren – Reykjavik University
  • Kirstján Gunnarsson– NATAC ehf.
  • Kristján Kristjánsson – Innovit
  • Magnús Ragnarsson – GoGoGic
  • Matt Wilson – Under30CEO
  • Óli Örn Eiríksson – Kadeco
  • Paula Gould– GreenQloud
  • Sigurgestur Guðlaugsson– Kadeco
  • Stefan Örn Einarsson– NATAC ehf.

We would have never got this event done without them volunteering their heart, mind and time to come with me on this crazy journey.

Watch out for the blog posts, I have few exciting surprises for next year and I believe it will turn out to be a big event. I am starting to work on the concept and theme for 2013. I already have a support from the guests who have already participated in this years event. We have pictures and videos from the event being uploaded as we speak into LiveProject.me .

Hackathon

We had a bunch of firsts, we hosted the first ever hackathon in Reykjavik University, we had 4 teams participating. The winners of the Hackathon was Team  Tæknin? consisting of

  • Bjarni Benediktsson
  • Gunnar Jörgen Viggósson
  • Helgi Kristvin Sigurbjarnason
  • Daníel Fannar Guðmundsson
  • Ólafur Páll Geirsson
All of them were students of Reykjavik University and the solution they hacked has a number of viable business models and they achieved this in 12 hours whereas the company that release the API on which they hacked the solutions was planning to develop the same solution by the next quarter. This is the power of Hackathons – Time boxed, high energy and support to get teams to create valuable solutions in a short period of time. I was excited to announce the winners.

The runner up was Team Paper Dragon consisting of Bjarni Rúnar Einarsson and Már Örlygsson from The Beanstalks Project ehf. (PageKite)

16 Responses to “Startup Iceland 2012 – Done!”

  1. Bala.
    You forget to thank Icelandic Met Office – in my 10+ years in Iceland I’ve never ever been able to enjoy such a weather at Keflavik.
    Seriously – will it be possible to watch video of the conference itself? Or read the presentation of excellent speakers? Or better – both?

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  2. Congratulations on your event. I hear Brad had a great time in Iceland. I envy you for having been able to spend so much time with him! He’s an awesome guy. I’d be curious to hear your conclusions on how to create a sustainable startup ecosystem. It’s a subject I’m very interested in.

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    • Thank you Ivan, we have just started on the journey… there are many things that need to be built into a system for sustainable startup ecosystems. Brad is writing a book about it coming out this fall, so check that out. I will be more than happy to chat just ping me through email and we can get connected. bala at startupicleand dot com

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  3. Congratulations Bala.
    Even after all the hurdles happened with you and your team, you did it. Wonderful!!

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