Startup Extreme 2016


For the second year in a row, (and this year will be the hat trick) I had the honour and pleasure to cover Startup Extreme in Bergen and Voss, Norway. Startup Extreme defines the event as:

“Networking with your next investment while rafting down a frothy river might seem like insanity. But Norwegians know that true relationships are not build by sharing business cards in a conference-hotel. Since 2015, hundreds of the best from the startup ecosystem has met up in June for the three day startup-event of the year.”

Dan Taylor defines the event as:

“Holy fuckballs! You take a bunch of startups and investors (and occasionally a Crown Prince?!?!) and let them do some “work” in Bergen on day one in a “traditional” conference setting? And then take them up into the mountains of Norway and send them down a river? Or out on a fjord? Or push them out of a plane (ok, they jumped willingly, but pushed sounded better)? Or mountain biking at breakneck speeds? … and feed them Smalahove? Yes please, and thank YOU!”
At the 2015 edition, I mounted a GoPro to a plate of Smalahove to record some reactions.

Anything but typical

Needless to say, Startup Extreme is anything but your “typical” conference. As mentioned above, Maja, Knut, and the entire Startup Extreme crew do a “traditional” conference (workshops, pitches, networking, presentations) in Bergen on day one. At the end of the day, we all pile in some busses, and enjoy a scenic ride up into the mountains. … and don’t forget, this is Norwegian summer. Meaning, a ride up into the mountains, even at 9:30/10:00 PM, is still plenty light enough to enjoy the view.

Upon arrival, shit gets sorted and cabins are checked into. And then … well, all hell breaks loose. In the best possible way. It’s time to chuck the tie, and grab a beer, fine a cozy spot by one of the fires and get down to the REAL business. The business of life, love, and happiness, that is.

Networking by fireside? Oh Yeah!

The day long marathon

Covering Startup Extreme is always a challenge, but one that I wouldn’t trade for the world. The following day will see a host of activities to choose from — White water rafting, paragliding, parachuting, mountain biking, indoor skydiving in a wind tunnel, and … I’m sure there are a few I’ve missed. Awesome for participants … a day long marathon for me, as I rush around with one of the organisers like crazy, covering each activity. … and if you think the weather in Norway is changeable in the winter, I can honestly testify — it’s just as fickle in the summer. Last year, I went from shorts and a long sleeve to full trousers and rain gear in the course of just an hour.

Cruising through the mountains around Voss

And although it’s from 2015, I just can’t help adding this to the mix — at the end of the day, Stina turned to me and said, “Got everything you need? We’ve just got the paragliding left. So … pack up your gear, you’re going up in the air.” Wow.

Paragliding in Voss — Hit Startup Extreme, and you TOO could enjoy this view.

There be Vikings!

As I’m always on the lookout for ways to incorporate a bit of local flavour into my works, I spotted a few sheepskins sitting around one of the main tents and thought, “Hmmm … I bet vikings would have worn something like this. And even if not … well, they are now!” And thus — the Viking headshot series was born.

If you’re in doubt, Startup Extreme has to be one of the most unique events I cover each year. It’s coming up in a few weeks, and if you haven’t already — grab a ticket here. And if you’re lucky … we might even introduce you to the famed Jacquavit, because Startup Extreme is the ONLY place on the planet you’ll find this truly unique beverage. Skol!

Enjoy, and if you’d like to work with me … get in touch!

Crown Prince Håkon arrives at Startup Extreme in Bergen