April 12, 2012
The last couple of weeks have been incredible to watch, I truly believe Spring is in the air. First of The Golden Egg Competition
was conducted and the winner were announced. Second, Seed Forum has gotten a face lift and is happening tomorrow and some bird told me that there is going to be some major announcement… ok, I know what it is… Startup Reykjavik is going to be announced. So what is Startup Reykjavik? I have written a lot about this, lobbied with many people for it and I am extremely happy to see it take shape. I am very impressed to see Arion Bank is taking the leadership role in this effort. If you are a startup or want to do a startup I highly encourage you to apply to Startup Reykjavik. The deadline is May 7th, and it is not much involved. The requirement is NOT to build a business plan but to focus on how you are going to form a kick ass team focused on execution and building your Minimum Viable Product.
I know Kristjan and Eythor are going to work really hard to make Iceland the best place to incubate and accelerate a startup. My hope and vision is that Iceland becomes the magnet for early stage European companies and Startup Reykjavik becomes the best in the world for accelerators…
well, if you are going to dream at all dream big! Right? There has been an explosion of Accelerators around the world, I believe Iceland offers a unique advantage, once again I have written about it here, here and more recently here. With the Global Accelerator Network link established through Startup Reykjavik, there is absolutely no reason why Startups cannot build companies in Iceland that can scale, expand and solve problem around the world. It is one of the steps to build a sustainable startup/entrepreneurial ecosystem.am focused on execution.
The second piece to this puzzle is Startup Iceland the Conference focused on Entrepreneurship and Startups. We need to have a yearly event focused on Venture Investing, Entrepreneurship and Startups which kicks off ideas, initiatives and themes. This year it is going to be about building sustainable startup ecosystems. We will start marketing the conference soon given it has taken a little longer that we anticipated to get the website up and running. If you have not booked your ticket I highly recommend you do, it is well worth it. It is from 9:00 to 15:00, opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs not just from Iceland but from around the world, Matt Wilson, of Under 30 CEO is marketing a packaged trip for Entrepreneurs in the US to participate in Startup Iceland. The cost includes lunch, refreshments, coffees etc and it is going to be in Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre. Did I mention we are going to have very prominent speakers like Brad Feld, Brad Burnham, Dr.Ted Zoller and Alexander Osterwalder participating? As part of the conference we are going to have a Whole Day Hands-on Workshop conducted by Alexander Osterwalder on Business Model Generation. Here are the workshop details… It is jam packed day where you get the same benefit of attending an MBA program in a year.
March 16, 2012
DataMarket.com is a startup out of Iceland. I have met with Hjalli a couple of times, spoken to him quite a bit and used DataMarket services on some of the presentations and have been following the company. The company started in June 2008 and Hjalli has been around the block in the startup journey a couple of times, he successfully created and sold a company in Iceland and I believe he is a 3rd time entrepreneur. You can read all about him in his blog, he has a distinct voice within the Icelandic startup culture and he is a big proponent of Transparency and DataMarket was way to address that issue. Although a lot of his opinion and comments are in Icelandic, so I glaze over them
Initially, I really felt that DataMarket’s business model was weak because you don’t see the light of the day if you are an intermediary for data and given the advent of new visualization technologies it is quite easy to hack a graph from structured data. The customers of data want data from reliable sources and you had to be a source of data to be able to sell data and typically people buy data from a Credible and Authentic Source like the IMF or the World Bank or The Economist etc. I believe the market for data is big but probably getting smaller with all the publishing tools out there. I could not put my fingers on the Value Proposition of DataMarket.
DataMarket just announced that their portal and services can be utilized by third parties to publish data, I believe that is a very interesting value proposition
. In addition, they are getting credible sources to use DataMarket’s portal to channel their data. I don’t know the financial performance of DataMarket to comment whether they are able to make progress or not but given that they just announced they were able to secure a significant round of funding in Icelandic terms, I presume they are on track. I think breaking into the international market
needs a different kind of thinking. The team composition that Hjalli has put together needs work IMHO
. I have a big issue with Startups who emphasize to much of their importance on the idea
and very little on the team, the strategy for customer acquisition and putting together a truly international team.
February 27, 2012
Drum roll… Entrepreneurship! Yes, the winner over the weekend is the concept of Entrepreneurship. It was exciting to see over 100 people working on a problem, listening to feedback and presenting their ideas and getting recognized for their effort. As much as I like the idea of people getting recognition for their ideas, Ideas do not equate to launching a business. I have written about “Startup Ideas – Why ideas are not the problem“. There were 19 teams that presented their ideas. The companies that I thought really created a business over the weekend were:
Video taken from previous Startup Weekend Events in Iceland
- Campalo.com and Campalo.is - a booking and reservation application over the web for Camp sites around iceland
- Disulistar.is - a hyper local curated list of things for everything from Top 5 restaurants for business meetings in Reykjavik to Task list to do press release. You pay a small fee for not having to spend the time to research the list yourself
Of course both of these companies did not win the award because their idea was not revolutionary or “cool” but both of these probably will be able to build a sustainable business. I think the other ideas and teams need to be recognized as well. Here is the link to a slideshow of pictures from my Twitter stream.
- Whale Buddy – A Multilingual App for Smart Phones that enables a better experience for tourists on a Whale watching tour
- Life Line – Making the rescue suits and life jackets fitted with GPS device, Nano technology and Diode lights to enable finding the missing persons at sea.
- Viral Trade – An online market place for digital goods used in online games
- Tannstra – A toothpick made from Icelandic straw
- Active Site – A photo market for pictures taken underwater off the coast of Akureyri, I guess it could be applied for any all underwater pictures.
There were 12 more companies, I have to admit did not find them very interesting that is probably because of my lack of understanding of Icelandic.