Bjørn Lapakko and Lisa Nyvoll on why you don’t want to miss out on this year’s Startup Extreme
There’s nothing quite like parachuting with a potential investor or rafting with key people from the startup you want to join.
With only eight weeks to go until Startup Extreme, the upcoming weeks are ideal for learning more about the content that investors, startups, volunteers, and general attendees can expect from the two-day-long festival in Voss.
Lisa Nyvoll, the CEO of Startup Extreme, shares why this is not an event to miss out on.
— Startup Extreme is built by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. We work for you! We set the stage and offer you a unique opportunity to showcase your startup to a global audience in an atmosphere that allow you to truly connect with people. We exist to showcase the Norwegian startups internationally, and to strengthen the Norwegian startup ecosystem. Investors and press are invited from all over the world to come and meet a selection of the most promising startups and community players in Norway, says Nyvoll.
— Building authentic relationships
Bjørn Lapakko, Head of Program and Operations at Startup Extreme, says investors can use this year’s festival to expand their investor network no matter where in the world they are from. This is particularly important in growing one’s investment capacity as well as expanding deal flow discovery.
— Whether you want to expand it locally as a Norwegian investor or beyond your borders, this is the place to do it. You are going to get 48 straight hours of contact with the other high-level investors, founders, ecosystem influencers, and press attending Startup Extreme. No other European conference I’ve attended provides this level of access in an environment tailored for authentic relationship building.
Lapakko says the potential for networking quite rapidly during the two days, also provides opportunities to deep dive on startups and founders, current and prospective investors have been eager to get to know. For example, byFounders is organising a “RAFT with a VC” event during SX19 precisely for this purpose!
— Startup Extreme is 48 hours of constant and genuine contact with a lot of experienced and talented people. So, you can really get to know somebody in a very short amount of time, says Lapakko.
— Take the opportunity to befriend investors
As for the startups, the value they get from attending Startup Extreme can be viewed from two angles: The value that founders get and the value people hired at the startup get.
— For founders, obviously, Startup Extreme is about connecting with investors to potentially help them fuel their company’s growth. That is obvious. What may not be so obvious, as to why Startup Extreme stands out, again I think it is the 48 hours of intimate access in an authentic environment. But I think it is also about being able to broaden your horizons and be able as a Norwegian founder, to really pursue accessing international investors that are interested in Norway, says Lapakko.
He also has some advice to share for the startups that still are wondering about the value of attending.
— Founders aiming to build growth companies should really take the time and opportunity to befriend investors’ broadly. Local and international investors who are regularly investing have varying criteria they evaluate founders on, based on their experiences. Being present and engaging with this community is important in order to gauge how they can best present themselves and direct their company but also, which types of investors fit them best, says Lapakko.
Doing extreme sports with others is a true way to test how people deal with extreme situations. And as a startup, you really do have to “parachute” into the unknown on many occasions, both before and after Startup Extreme.
Get your deal flow to the extreme
Norway is a small country, and there are certain limitations to how much networking you can do here before you’ve simply sorted through most of what’s relevant to your startup, or your interests. At Startup Extreme, you’ll get past having to write dozens of emails — or make equally many calls — to people you want to connect with. Networked wisely, you can actually get months’ worth of work done in the days you spend at the festival — and so, your deal flow can progress rapidly.
Among the startups that have gotten investments from investors they met at Startup Extreme, there is for example Flowmotion (smartphone stabilizer) and Wiral (easy-to-use cable camera).
— Today, Norway has the fastest growing tech scene in the Nordics, and Oslo is emerging as the new startup capital of Europe. The philosophy behind Startup Extreme still remains the same, the growth we are seeing will only accelerate further with a solid startup ecosystem. Looking further ahead, the pipeline of promising early-stage startups is filling up fast as the ecosystem matures. At Startup Extreme, the now successful founders give back to the community and help the next wave of entrepreneurs, says Nyvoll.
— Giving back to the community
She adds that the festival will provide professional depth just like what you can get from presentations and workshops at a conference, but with the added magic of being at a summer festival in Norway. This, finally, is topped by the experience of getting to experience extreme sports at the same event.
— The Norwegian startup scene has long been lagging behind our Nordic neighbours, but it’s now the fastest growing in the region in terms of startup investments. Looking further ahead, the pipeline of promising early-stage startups is filling up fast as the ecosystem matures and the now successful, founders give back to the community and help the next wave get to scale and shape the world of tomorrow, says Nyvoll.
And you’ll also get plenty of opportunities of talking to the media — both the international and the Norway-based press: The confirmed media companies coming to Startup Extreme 2019 are Shifter, Inc, Bootstrapping, Business Insider Spain, Venture Beat, NY Post, Wall Street Journal, Tech.eu, Forbes, The Economist, MIT Tech Review, Mashable, TechCrunch, Wired UK, The Telegraph, BBC, Unquote and Newsweek.
Meet your new co-founder in line for beer
And Startup Extreme does not only promote an opportunity of rapid learning, networking, and growth for the investors and founders attending: The people who are working for startups but have yet to become founders or investors, get the same kind of access as the more established founders and investors.
— I imagine if you work at a startup, you probably have in mind — or have thought of — building your own company at one point. So in Voss, you get to see how it is done, how different founders approach investors, how different investors approach founders — and use this as an opportunity to get a better understanding and feel of the ecosystem, says Lapakko.
Nyvoll draws upon the mix of people — investors, founders, speakers, people working for startups and people just wanting to learn more about the startup world — when referencing the networking opportunities.
— No matter what, we can assure you that there is nothing that beats rafting down a frothy river and camping together with those you are looking to meet. Startup Extreme is designed for growing at all stages and industries because, in the end, it is all about you, us, people. It’s as much about personal growth, genuine relationships as much as professional growth at Startup Extreme, says Nyvoll.
But if being a founder is not for you quite yet, chances are that you can network yourself to getting a new job. Or maybe you can meet your new co-founder while standing in line for a beer. In short; Startup Extreme provides a unique opportunity to look behind the CV and LinkedIn profile and meet the actual people of a startup, or an investor that you have been eager to approach.
And with the 48-hour access to startups and investors, you can really get to ask all the questions you’ve been having. Lapakko shares some of the questions he has for Norwegian founders who have made it beyond it the borders of Norway — and it’s about the motivation that lies behind it all.
— I am really curious about what the motivating factors are when becoming a founder in Norway. With the overall economic comfort in Norway, money doesn’t seem to be the initial driving factor behind many Norwegian startups. So, what brings more and more Norwegian people into the startup world? What drove the ones who have achieved rapid global success? What is fuelling the next generation? This is something I’m eager to learn more about during this year’s Startup Extreme.