Archive for May, 2014

May 31, 2014

Jenny Lawton – Speaker Profile – Startup Iceland 2014

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Startup Iceland Hackathon is today, we sold out all the tickets but everyone is welcome. If you are stuck in this rainy weather today in Reykjavik head over to Reykjavik University and see teams come together to make and build things.

Startup Iceland Conference is on June 2nd, we have over 270 participants. I think it is going to be an awesome event. What we have tried to do with Startup Iceland is provide a platform for Startups to showcase, connect, network and get mentoring with some key influencers, thought leaders and entrepreneurs. Jenny Lawton is one of those people, She has walked the proverbial mile as an Entrepreneur in High Tech and Retail, successfully transitioned from different roles, has networks and relationships in the Venture and Angel Investor communities through her association with Softbank and Mobius Ventures. She is available on a one-on-one mentor for any of the participants of Startup Iceland. Here is a brief profile of Jenny, I am really excited to meet her, get to know her and learn from her experience of being an Entrepreneur.

Jennifer Lawton is the president of MakerBot. She previously held the title of chief strategy officer.  Lawton has been with MakerBot since 2011 and has been responsible for the overall strategy and growth of the company, including strategic partnerships, product development, and retail.  In addition to her work with MakerBot, she is a respected company builder, technologist, and advocate for fostering entrepreneurship.

In 1991, Lawton co-founded Net Daemons Associates (NDA), an information technology consulting firm. With Lawton as CEO, NDA was recognized on the 1998Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing privately held U.S. companies, and on the Deloitte and Touche Fast 50 and Fast 500 lists for 1997 and 1998. In 1999, Net Daemons was acquired by Interliant Inc. (formerly Sage Networks), where Lawton served as a senior vice president. She later worked as an entrepreneur-in-residence with Softbank and Mobius Venture Capital.

In 2001, Lawton left the corporate world to become the owner of the independent bookstores Just Books and Just Books, Too, as well as Arcadia Café in Old Greenwich, Conn. After ten years running successful retail ventures, Jenny re-entered the business scene, serving as COO for Rockin’ Water and RAM Scientific, and SVP Operations for Mercury Solar Systems.

She is currently a board member of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.

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May 29, 2014

Startup Iceland – Offer to Startup participants and Startup Energy Reykjavik Investor Day

DeluxeBannersStartup Iceland is coming monday June 2nd. We will have over 250 people who will participate in the Conference. I want to make an offer to all the startups who are participating (and if you are not you should we still have some tickets left, contact me), if you have a pull out banner and want to display it in the coffee meetup area, email me your request. We want all startups in Iceland to take the opportunity to showcase what you are doing. It is impromptu offer, just like your elevator pitch, you never know who you are going to meet but having the pitch ready is valuable. You never know where it leads.

I attended Startup Energy Reykjavik Investor Day yesterday, I was about an hour late as in the hurry burry of organizing everything with Startup Iceland I had totally forgotten about the Investor day. Thank you Einar Gunnar for reminding me. Anyways, I participated, I had met most of the teams as I was a volunteer mentor in the program. I am going to do what we have been lacking in Iceland. I am going to work with one of the teams and invest in the team. We have been deliberating and analyzing every team that comes out of these accelerators, I think that is the wrong way to look at this effort. I think we need to start investing in these teams and take bets and make them win. There is no other way. So, I am putting my money where my mouth is.

Einar Gunnar who has been leading the effort in Iceland as it relates to Accelerators and building a startup community, gave a very good talk and showed the video Brad Feld had made about his book Startup Communities – Building Sustainable Startup Communities in your city. I think it was a great way to close the investor day. We are in such an early stage in Iceland that it is difficult to pick winners. I think Iceland as a Startup location works. I have seen it work and I have CLARA, GreenQloud, Meniga, DataMarket, Mobilitus, Plain Vanilla Games, Guide To Iceland, Modio, and many other startups that I meet everyday to validate that great ideas and companies can be created and developed right here in Iceland. What we need to do is Do More Faster, tinker and learn for the process.

What was also very interesting to me was the data on the number of applications that Startup Reykjavik and Startup Energy Reykjavik received. It continues to grow every year.

These are the teams that presented in Startup Energy Reykjavik:

  • he HTPM Gerosion CenterHTPM GEROSION Center will provide consultation, material testing & specialized R&D work for entities in the geothermal/petroleum industries.
  • BMJ EnergyWe offer total solutions for hydro with focus on micro scale. Designed and built from scratch by BMJ both generator sets and controll units.
  • Sodium Chorate Plant
    Small scale Sodium Chlorate production for export and more efficient use of energy.
  • Landsvarmi
    Organization that finances, sets up and operates heat pumps for central heating of houses.
  • BigEddie
    A novel approach to wind resource assessment using a combination of observations, Large Eddie Simulations (LES) and CFD modeling techniques.
  • PEA Aluminum
    Portable Element Analyzer for real-time data in potrooms.
  • GeoDrone
    GeoDrone is providing services for the geothermal industry. We combine modern technology in UAV with advanced remote sensing (e.g. LIDAR).

 

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May 28, 2014

Startup Iceland – Less than a week away! Shout out to all those who make it happen

Startup Iceland 2014 is less than a week away! I am so excited about meeting all the entrepreneurs and the great speakers who are coming to Iceland and to hear the stories of Icelandic entrepreneurs. Startup Iceland as an event will not be possible without you all buying tickets and participating and the generous support of all our sponsors, volunteers, vendors and key service providers. When I started on this journey, I had no clue how to get an event organized but with each and every years, our wonderful sponsors take a chance on us and make this possible.

Icelandair Group – Icelandair Group has been an anchor sponsor for Startup Iceland. Bogi Neil Bogasson the CFO of Icelandair Group and Addy Olafsdottir the Marketing Manager have been great supporters of us getting this event on the map. They understood right away in 2012, what I wanted to create, an Iceland Airwaves like event for Entrepreneurs and Startup Founders. Thank you again for your continued support and encouragement.

Nysköpunarsjödur – Helga Valfells one of our speakers this year has been a big supporter of Startup Iceland. I think Nysköpunarsjödur is an important investor in startups in Iceland and they have played another anchor role in the development of a Startup Community in Iceland. Helga thank you for your continued leadership.

Eyrir Invest – I respect and admire Thordur Magnusson, who has been a sponsor and supporter of Startup Iceland since the beginning. He has played a key role in the development of the startup community in Iceland and I know they will continue to participate and invest in the development of Iceland as a startup place.

Frumtak – Eggert has been a supporter of building a startup community in Iceland and this is the second year that they have sponsored the event. Thank you team Frumtak.

Nasdaq OMX – Kristin and Pall have been big supporters of our initiative to build companies from the grassroot level. They see the potential and opportunities these young companies show and I think a fully functioning capital market is an important piece in the puzzle of building a startup community. Most of the investors who invest in Startups and Entrepreneurs need to see a liquidity event and having a fully functioning capital market is a great value. We thank them for their support of Startup Iceland.

VÍB – Our new sponsors of Startup Iceland is VÍB, the Asset Management and Private Banking service of Islandsbanki. I used to work at Islandsbanki and the team there has always been supportive and I really happy to see them participate and contribute and really add value to the Entrepreneurs and Startups. Thank you Kjartan, Haraldur, Haukur, Bjorn and the test of the team at Islandsbanki.

The US Embassy in Iceland – Paul O’Friel the Deputy Chief of Mission, Paul Cunnigham, Brad Stillwell, Helga Magnusdottir and everyone in the embassy have been so generous and gracious about supporting this initiative that I am humbled by this. I am looking forward to the new Ambassador to take office and build more bridges for Entrepreneurs to the US.

Icora Partners – Gunnar Tryggvasson who is a speaker in the event has been successful in raising capital for Meniga one of the startups that came out the financial crisis in Iceland. Meniga has become a big company now in Icelandic standards. It would be interesting to hear how Gunnar was able to get this done for a Startup.

WEDO – GRE or Gudmundur Einarsson has been supporting and helping all our initiatives, through the design, development and maintenance of the StartupIceland.com website. GRE and his team are key members of Startup Iceland. We would not have been able to launch the conference without a platform like the website that was created by WEDO.

Reykjavik University – Ari and Kristinne have been instrumental in getting the whole Reykjavik University behind the entrepreneurial development efforts. They have given us the premises and hosted the hackathons, provided the infrastructure to facilitate creating an environment that fosters startup community building. Thank you again.

Deloitte – The leadership at deloitte have been very positive towards what we have been doing with Startup Iceland and they provide all kinds of help, for once they allow Agusta my wife who works for Deloitte to take time to help me with this crazy endeavor. They provide us with Administrative and Secretarial help during the event. Provide mentoring for entrepreneurs as it relates to the services they provide. I am very thankful for their support.

Practical – Helga, Marin and everyone in Team Practical were instrumental in coordinating all the speakers’s itineraries and schedule. They were such a pleasure to work with and they have the can do attitude to get anything done. I am very thankful for their service and effort.

Ölgerdin – All the caffine drinks and water during the hackathons are provided as sponsorship by Ölgerdin, Andri their CEO has been always receptive and wants to really help in the effort. Thank you Andri.

TeqHire – Stefan and Kristjan are key core team members who have been preaching the Startup Iceland gospel. I am really excited to see that they have found a business model that enables them to serve startups and companies all over with find talented IT team members. There is a big gap in the market on how to find these people and I believe Stefan and Kristjan are onto something here.

Paula Gould – Paula is tireless in helping put the event together, curating speakers, managing public relation and media, coordinating things and just being awesome and getting things done. She is a leader and a valuable team member in any team. Thank you Paula.

Last but not least my wife Agusta, she is basically brings balance to the force. I am really lucky to have married such a smart person. She bring sanity to our household when I go do crazy things like host a conference in Iceland, she makes it happen with her organizing, discipline, courage and love. Thank you Agusta mein. I don’t know how I will pull this together without you.

There are a number of people who continue to support, help and be cheerleaders to this initiative, Toti and Helga with Mobilitus, Alex Richter with Think GeoEnergy, Haukur Gudjonson with Bungalo, The team at Klak Innovit. If I have left out someone please bear with me just been a whirlwind of activities that my brain in swimming. I thank each and every entrepreneur for being who you are, you are my tribe and I am at your service. Please reach out to me if there is anything that I can do to help.

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May 25, 2014

Winds of Change in Iceland?

nyskopunartorg-vefbordiI spent the last friday and saturday in Reykjavik University, participating in an event organized by SI – The Federation of Icelandic Industries. There was a number of startups, established companies and service providers and general public in Iceland participating, cheering and recognizing the efforts of the Icelandic companies. There were winners announced and it was really nice for me to see the recognition given to even those companies that have no revenue but were doing some incredible things. This was in the heel of a major announcement by the Government of Iceland as it relates to the Science and Technology Policy of Iceland.

The Government of Iceland approved an action plan designed to support and enhance business competitiveness and transparent use of public funds as it relates to Research and Development, Science and Technology and Innovation. Funding will be increased for science, technology and innovation, so that by 2016 it will reach 3.0% of gross domestic product ( GDP) and comparability among the highest in the OECD . The action is also designed to attract greater business investment in R&D, science and innovation. Here is the link to the Strategy and Action Plan of Science and Technology Policy of 2014 – 2016 (icelandic).

This is a big deal, when public policy aligns with the overall sentiment of the broader community which aligns with the market change this combination can really change the landscape for Startups and Entrepreneurs. For those who have been reading this blog and indulge me in discussions, understand why I am so excited about this. Almost all research and development, scientific process and innovation has something to do with Software. Thereby investing in Software based companies that leverage the new platforms of Social Networks and other forms of networks really catapult analysis and scaling.

I have been meeting with a number of companies, institutions and organizations to sell tickets for Startup Iceland (have you bought yours yet?) and across the board the collective sentiment is positive towards Startups and Entrepreneurs and supporting initiatives that creates new businesses and value. These are exciting times and I hope we build a sustainable startup ecosystem and community in Iceland.

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May 23, 2014

Starting up

I met with an entrepreneur yesterday and we talked and he told me that he originally had this idea in 2003 and pitched it to someone and they loved it and they were willing to fund it, but it did not come through. 2007, again he pitched the idea at Seed Forum in London and everyone loved it once again he did not launch the business because no-one funded the idea. Fast forward to 2014, he is still pitching the idea and tells me that the only way that he would launch is if he has an investor. I got really frustrated with him, my bad.. I feel really awful about it. I have written about how ideas don’t matter and why startup founders should not be focused on raising money. What really frustrated me was the fact that he has been sitting on this idea and has not done anything for 10 years, a decade! can you imagine what a waste of time? I like entrepreneurs who hack, bootstrap and build something to show. Entrepreneurship and founding a Startup is tinkering, you need to test a lot of hypothesis and see what works. Waiting for some investor or grant or whatever to launch is such a turn off. Why would anybody bet on you if you don’t bet on yourself or your vision to build a company?

I believe in Doertocracy, I believe in the doers. Do something, make something, show me rather than tell me. I can lock myself in a room and come up with a million ideas, it does not mean squat. Figure out how to launch the idea, solve the problem, meet your customer, create value show that it works. Show it to yourself that it works. It is so frustrating to see so many people just live in their heads and not give life to their ideas.

With all the tools out there you can start anything with almost no investment. Create a Facebook page, start a blog about what you want to do. Create a signup page, talk to your peers and those who are starting up. There are so many ways to get started. I understand why the entrepreneur has been waiting for 10 years, because the first step is the hardest. Maybe our meeting pushed him to take that first step. I don’t know and I hope he does.

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May 22, 2014

Design is your new IP

Spark Design SpaceThe last couple of days have been quite hectic. A lot of meetings and I was on TV and papers and in all the social media in Iceland, I was talking about challenges and opportunities of building startup companies and being an entrepreneur in Iceland. I will write more about it in the coming days.

Lets talk about Design, I believe that design of a product is your new Intellectual Property. Please bear with me on my hypothesis. I know I know all the lawyers out there are going to cry foul and all startups should be filing for Patent and Intellectual Property protection and what not. To be honest, when you are building a product it is too uncertain to know the exact path it is going to take to file for a patent or IP. I believe we need to abolish software patents. They are not the right principle. Copying software design and reusing it in different ways is what is so cool about software. There is a reason why open source movements have unleashed a flurry of innovative software solution and I believe this is also the reason why the technology adoption cycle has been getting shorter and shorter.

I have been thinking a lot about the Design and Arts in Iceland. I got introduced to Sigríður Sigurjónsdóttir who was a professor of product design at the Iceland Academy of Arts. She created Spark Design Space, a studio space in downtown Reykjavik. SPARK is a platform for excellent design projects with a focus on local initiatives that involve collaboration between designers and other professions. Each exhibition normally lasts for two months. After the exhibition the design space stock the items from the show in their shop part of the space and very slowly they are building up a stock of things they love. They call this their slow shop. Spark Design Space was founded in 2010 by  It is the only design gallery in Reykjavík.

I went there yesterday and met with her team as they are putting a workshop together as part of the Reykjavik Art Festival which is happening May 24th to June 14th. They plan to have 3D Printers and encourage everyone to stop by and participate. I am really excited about this. Design is unique, it is clever and it is like a fingerprint. Yes, someone can copy it but if one is able to leverage the network which is the Internet to create a network effect on your design then copying becomes a lot harder. I saw a number of clever products and designs that have been created by the students on display in the space. Sigridur came to our Rotary meeting and told why she created the space, it was a great story and the bottom line is before SPARK a lot of great designs made by the students during a semester was just thrown away at the end of the semester and she wanted to create a space to showcase them.

Check out the designs in the shop. I really think they are awesome and clever. While building a team having people from diverse backgrounds especially from the arts and design is a critical success factor. I have written a lot about putting teams together and I believe in diversity in teams to make them stronger and bring different ideas. I just want all the students from the Design and Arts school to talk to the Business School to talk to the Software Engineering and Engineering schools. The mashup of these skills is what creates magic in companies. It seems so obvious to me but as they say common sense is not common practice.

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May 21, 2014

Hubris and Learning

Gowy-icaro-pradoHubris according to Merriam Webster is a great or foolish amount of pride or confidence. I meet and talk to a number of entrepreneurs and investors, I am always on the lookout for characteristics of Hubris. I am not being judgemental, but what hubris does is it gets in the way of learning. If you are super confident about yourself or pride yourself about what you know you are eager to learn. I see it mostly in those who have money, they act like they know it all, unfortunately nobody does. I have seen it even more when I used to work in the bank and when I walked into the trading room and when the market was going up, you could feel the pride and self confidence swelling in the room. Oh, yes, I have smoked this feeling too but I never inhaled (famous words spoken!).

I always remind myself to de-link my identity or my pride from the success or failure that I face. Believe me I have faced plenty of both, failure used to hurt me and success used to make me feel like I am the king of the world. I have been doing a lot of thinking and practising flipping the switch on these feelings, i.e be humble when I see success and become extremely curious, open minded and in a positive learning state of mind when I see failure, just like a scientist or explorer should. I think I am onto something here…

I have written about being humble, humble is the word that I would like to remind myself when I see entrepreneurial hubris. I find that I don’t learn when I am feeling hubris, I tend to think I know it and guess what? the Universe has a way of knocking me on my back. I have tried to learn from it but it is hard. Your ego is hurt, you start to look for escape clauses to lick your pride and start pointing fingers at everything else to absolve all responsibility. I think that is a wrong but normal human reaction. There are too many instances to write about and I will just stick to writing about my radical self inquiry around these events.

Startups or being an Entrepreneur is to be a problem solver. You cannot get every problem right, you screw up sometimes. The learnings that you get out of those screw ups is what I want to focus on. Most startup founders struggle with the 3 big milestones of starting a business and building a team. The 3 big milestones that every entrepreneur needs to focus on are:

  1. Product or Service to Market fit – the question you need to ask to achieve this milestone are, do you know the size of your market? do you know how to get in front of the market? do you have something unique, different or valuable to offer this market? Does the market value it the same way as you do? Are you able to make the market choose your offering? what is the cost of making the market to choose your offering? How long would it take to get in front of the market and in what quantity would it cover the cost of the offering? You would be surprised how many entrepreneurs that I meet who have not thought through this. The expectation is not that you have thought through everything but you need to have a clue on how to get in front of the market to experiment and find answers to the other questions.
  2. Revenue scaling – Do you know how to scale your revenue, given you have solved the first milestone problem? What rate can you grow the revenue? What is the cost of growing the revenue? How long will it take to pay for the cost of achieving revenue scaling?
  3. Internationalization – Most of the startups and entrepreneurs that I see understand the need to build products and services for the global market because you can. I have written about how cost effective it has become to start companies, but that is it… it is easy to start something but it takes considerable resources to build a company. Most entrepreneurs underestimate the capital requirement to scale businesses. I think the smart way is to know what market you are going after and what it would cost to become global. You don’t have to know all the numbers but a ballpark would help. For example, if you are building a Software As A Service (SaaS) business then it is relatively easy to estimate the cost of each of the above three milestones. And today every software business needs to be SaaS business otherwise you are doing something wrong or you are in a very specialised business which is going to take you much longer to achieve the first 2 milestones. Internationalization requires a huge amount of time invested in cultural understanding, communication and allowing international teams to absorb and volunteer their hearts and their minds to what you are doing. I have seen so many investors get so impatient with internationalization. They believe it is magic. I can assure you there are no miracles and magic in building teams. It is hard work, experimentation and building trust.

I am usually dumbstruck when I meet Investors who invest in Startups who have absolutely no clue on how to get Startups and Entrepreneurs whom they invest in to achieve the above 3 things. They just expect magic to happen. Building a business is hard work, it takes effort, skills, perseverance and talent. I have seen investors throw the baby with the bathwater because an experiment failed. In addition, I also find Investors who are from one industry apply the principles or what worked in that industry to work in another industry that is totally different. Again it is not going to work. If there was a cookie cutter methodology to build businesses we would have figured it out and everyone would know it. The classic mistake that I see with Investors is to think that they know the business better than the entrepreneur. The truth could not be far from it. An investor needs to be a mentor, a guide, someone with experience willing to help the entrepreneur or startup founder along the way and to bring connections and networks that the startup founder or entrepreneur does not have. I have seen very few investors who fit this bill and the ones who fit the bill are usually the ones who have survived the test of time.

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May 19, 2014

Voted the Startup Journalist of the year in Iceland

NSA_logo-fullI could not believe that I was nominated as a Startup Journalist of the Year in Iceland by The Nordic Startup Awards. You can guess how delighted I was when I saw a tweet last evening that I Won! It was a great feeling but also very humbling. I have been writing about the Startup Community and Ecosystem and Entrepreneurship from my eyes in Iceland since 2009, I never thought this blog was anything but a resource for Startup Founders and Entrepreneurs. I started writing because I thought maybe someone out there might see what we are going through in Iceland as Investors, Entrepreneurs and Startups interesting and could provide some inspiration, knowledge and resource so their journey is easier. Well, not easier but atleast they could relate and say, yes, I understand and I am not alone in this path. This award is a big recognition to the readers of this blog, without them reading, talking about what is being written here and sharing that with their community, it would have not got nominated in the first place.

We all seek connection, a sense of belonging. I almost naturally gravitate towards my tribe, which is the tribe of Entrepreneurs and Startup Founders. I made it my mission to help my tribe and this blog is nothing but that mission coming alive. To be recognized by the Nordic Startup Awards is another testament to the fact that if you are passionate about something and genuine about the mission and work hard at living the mission the recognition comes. I am constantly asked why do I do this? I do this because it could help someone like me struggling to find a path, I remember distinctly when I was fired from my job because the entire financial system in Iceland collapsed… I was searching for an outlet to release my inner voice, to say that it is ok and everything will be fine. I write because I was inspired to write by my mentor Brad Feld and Fred Wilson and Mark Suster and million other blogger who are relentless in writing and using writing as a means to express their thoughts, ideas, action and to build a community.

So, here is a last piece of thought…  There is nothing stopping us from putting down our thoughts, there is something therapeutic about writing. Use the tools like any of the blogging platforms like Tumblr, WordPress, Google+, Blogger etc Pick a subject that you are passionate about and be disciplined about writing about it regularly. I used to blog everyday, I do that at times but I also take breaks from blogging to gather my thoughts. I find blogging and writing as my creative outlet, it may not be the best or beautifully written but it helps me think. Brad wrote about this recently. I attended TEDx Reykjavik over the weekend and one of the speaker was Guðrún Ingibjörg Þorgeirsdóttir, and I connected with her talk titled “How writing changed a life”. Get your computers out and start writing.

Here are all the other winners in the Nordic Startup Awards, really proud to be in this list… all of the winners and nominees are doing a great service to the Startup Community in Iceland and I bow to them and I hope more people and companies volunteer their hearts and their minds to building a sustainable startup community in Iceland.

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May 18, 2014

Startup Iceland Mini Events

nordursaltAs a build up to Startup Iceland at the end of this month, WEDO one of our sponsors and partners started organizing Mini Events to get people talking about startup and entrepreneurial stories, we had stories of Nordur Salt a company focused on making our food experience unique by making one of the best Salt in the world, using sustainable methods and sustainable energy. I think the message is fantastic. I love stories like this, an Entrepreneur going on a journey to build something sustainable and contrarian. Check out their website, and this feature of them in Iceland Design Center, it is really cool. Here is a small video describing the story.

140305_-_iglo_and_indi_1The mini events provides a platform for Entrepreneurs to gather, connect, tell stories and learn from each other what is working and what is not working. I think it is a powerful tool. Startup Communities are made of these kinds of activities. I continue to ask the question, why don’t investors and others who should have an interest to get to know these entrepreneurs and startups show up to these events? What is interesting to me is that there are so many small companies like these that are being created in Iceland, the creative force has been unleashed after the financial collapse in 2008. BTW, Iglo and Indi was formed in 2008. So was Meniga and Startup Iceland and CLARA and DataMarket and GreenQloud and Mobilitus and Plain Vanilla Games and Tulipop and many many more companies. I believe a crisis like what happened in 2008 has really created tremendous economic value in Iceland. I continue to get questions whether the economic troubles of Iceland like the currency controls etc really impact investments, sure it does, but Entrepreneurs and Startups are not thinking about those things, they are focusing on building value and creating products and services that are sustainable, unique and beautiful. Makes me very optimistic about the Startup Community development in Iceland. I have committed 10 years to this journey and I will continue to write about and do everything in my powers to create a vibrant sustainable startup community that is entrepreneur friendly and creates a culture that fosters value creation.

AR-140519160The next story was about Iglo and Indi, a children clothing designer and manufacturer from Iceland. The team at Iglo and Indi have done a great job of marketing their message, putting the kids first in terms of the clothing, comfort and family. It shows in the product the level of attention and care that has gone into making this product come alive. In the age of mass production at the lowest cost, sustainability and design is given the least of the attention.

Our second Startup Iceland mini event got coverage in one of the online newspaper in Iceland, here is the link it is in Icelandic but you get the story. We plan to run these mini events throughout the year to help everyone network, connect and share stories of what is it about being an entrepreneur and building a community of people who are creating value and deciding to take ownership of their lives.

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May 17, 2014

Modio – A Startup Profile

Modio 3D I met Hilmar Gunnarsson right after we had invested in CLARA and he was part of a team that was starting to look at investing in Startups in Iceland, which was a great validation for what I was doing in 2009, 2010 in Iceland as everyone thought that it was crazy to invest in Iceland. Hilmar and his team had done a bunch of investments and Hilmar also has the experience of having worked in a startup, the old OZ from Iceland, the company that gave rise to many startups in Iceland. Fast forward to 2013, I got a chance to see what he was doing and it fascinated me. We had just got Bre Pettis and Jenny Lawton of MakerBot to come to Iceland to talk about Industrial Revolution 3.0 using 3D printing and here in tiny Reykjavik Hilmar and his team have been working secretly on making the Next Industrial Revolution a reality. I saw a demo of the iPad app that allows kids to collaborate and make their own toys, or actually print the parts in a 3D printer and assemble them. The software of Modio makes sure the pieces that are used to assemble the toys fit nicely like lego. It was awesome! I loved it, it is way cooler than printing a candle stand. In addition to that he had made the pieces and parts hollow so wires could be run through them and there was a part designed to act as a battery compartment. Not only can you not print your own toy but actually make it come alive and move. How cool is that if you are a 10 year old kid? heck I want one! I loved Mechanical Set when I was a kid and I would love to have this.
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The Modio app is available in the app store. Check it out. It is really cool. You do need a 3D Printer to print your own toy, but now that we have a number of people interested in 3D printing based on the interest and response we have on the Startup Iceland conference (all the early bird tickets are gone, but if you have read this far I have a secret promo code embedded in the blog post for you to a $100 discount on the ticket price) Can you guess what that is? Ok it is MODIO3D… use it to reserve your ticket. BTW, did I mention that our Startup Iceland Hackathon will have two 3D Printers and you get a chance to come and see it work and make something.

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