A Catalyst for growth

Garage Technology Ventures and Startup Lab work together to incubate new technology companies

A poster for Silicon Valley Catalyst, featuring the Golden Gate Bridge.

Photo: StartupLab / Facebook
The partnership promises to help small Norwegian companies scale up to international heavy hitters.

Rasmus Falck
Oslo, Norway

Garage Technology Ventures and Norway’s Startup Lab have partnered to offer Nordic startup companies a pathway to global success via Silicon Valley. The Silicon Valley Catalyst is open to any emerging technology company that has the potential to launch and succeed in the Valley. The big idea behind the Catalyst is to provide high potential emerging technology companies from the Nordic region with intensive support tailored to meet their specific needs. The primary elements of support include customer acquisition, team building, operational improvements, and financing.

This is not another accelerator or incubator program. It goes beyond standard programs by providing a degree of customized training, coaching, and support that standard programs do not offer. Each company develops a set of management tools and processes known as the Garage Startup Toolkit. The result is a company with solid operational capability and a foundation that can scale up to a large successful company in the U.S.

The elements of the program have been developed over the years by Garage Technology Ventures, working with entrepreneurs and startup companies that Garage has invested in to accelerate their success. During the three months of intensive support, a team in the U.S. will mentor the startup. Startup Lab will follow up and make sure progress is made according to plan. The program focuses on information technology, communications, and software. Qualifying companies are offered $100,000 in funding.

Garage Technology Ventures is a seed and early-stage venture capital fund. In 1998 they launched as garage.com. Initially operating as an accelerator, over the next five years Garage helped over 100 startups raise over $400 million. Founded in 2012, Startup Lab is the largest incubator in Norway. It is located in the Oslo Science Park at the University of Oslo, atop a garage. Everyone there understands the symbolic value: Silicon Valley was born in a garage. Currently the lab, whose nickname is the Garage, houses 70 of Norway’s most ambitious technology startups. All startups become part of an extensive network of current and former entrepreneurs. Startup Lab encourages its members to think globally first.

To take part in the blooming startup environment, the giant Telenor has moved its developers out of the company and into Startup Lab. The last to move were the 12 people behind the video conference company Appear.in. According to the giant, it is difficult to be innovative within corporate walls.

The Lab also manages its own angel fund. Startup Lab specializes as active owners in the very first stage of a company’s lifecycle, invests in the range of $100,000 to $300,000, and typically takes 5-15 percent of the equity. The focus is on the future!

This article originally appeared in the July 17, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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Rasmus Falck

Rasmus Falck is a strong innovation and entrepreneurship advocate. The author of “What do the best do better” and “The board of directors as a resource in SME,” he received his masters degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently lives in Oslo.