Bergen — 06/12/2018 — From the office in Media City Bergen and StartupLab Oslo, the founder Monica Vaksdal and co-founder Deborah Karlsen and their engineering team in Think Outside have developed the solution that this winter will be scaled to be beta-tested in skies from Åsnes, the country’s largest producer of mountain and rough cross country-skies, from Svalbard to the south of Norway. Now the oil-based technology making skis really smart is getting international attraction. And investors start believing the odds are good for the smart-skies to succeed.
The Nordic region’s leading seed stage investor, Finnish based, Butterfly Ventures, has recently put money into the pot to secure a share in what could be the next Norwegian outdoors bigdata-champion. This is the first investment the Nordic-based investment company has made in Norway.
Monica Vaksdal; CEO and Founder Think Outside ‘I am very pleased that Butterfly Ventures is on board and shares the vision and the way to the north star with us. Butterfly Ventures has a very strong investment team and successful traction of investment in hardware startup companies. We believe that having Butterfly with us not only strengthens the financial framework to allow us to continue to develop and to commercialize Sknow, but also that we have an extended team outside of Norway that provides valuable input to further succeed.’
Tanya Marvin-Horowitz, Partner Butterfly Ventures; “I was introduced to the Think Outside Team separately from colleagues both from the U.S. and Norway.”, says, Butterfly Ventures Partner, Tanya Marvin-Horowitz. “Never had this happened, so I had to find out what all the buzz was about. I’m glad I did. Not only did I find a deep technical and professional team, but a truly unique angle of penetrating an untapped market. We are super happy to be able to be part of the journey with Think Outside uncovering the gems along the way their amazing team and platform.”
In short, Sknow, as the solution is called, aims to be at the forefront when skiers are moving off the groomed terrain. Sknow, the sensor that attaches to the ski, reads the snow and snow layers under the skiers’ feet, in real time, as well as the skiers individual force and power of jumps, turns and all unique movement. The patent-pending technology uses advanced machine learning algorithms to identify the snow and the changing conditions in the white unknown under the surface, empowering the skier with a set of eyes into the snow and enabling better, safer decisions in the winter mountains. The data will be shared on a platform to the benefit of the entire ski community.
Monica Vaksdal; ‘Sknow is made for the skiers, with the skiers need and safety in mind. But as we have been working on this technology, we have come to realize that what we have made is in fact a portable radar device that does machine learning to build the worlds largest commercial database of snow and ice. This is attractive beyond the skiers needs; such as to snow mobiles, infrastructure in snow-covered regions, ski resorts, power companies and power trading agencies, climate research, as well as military and autonomous vehicles.