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Silicon Valley opens doors to KTH entrepreneurs

Published Sep 02, 2013

A group of Swedish companies with roots at KTH Royal Institute of Technology have been making a splash in Silicon Valley this week. A full week of meetings with investors and entrepreneurs has been set up by Student Inc. and the non-profit organization, Silicon Vikings.

Gaining a foothold in the U.S. can be tough for Swedish IT entrepreneurs; but six companies with connections to KTH have been taking advantage of a chance to do just that. They’ve been in California all week meeting with investors, business angels and other IT companies.

The KTH student incubator, Student Inc., and the non-profit group, Silicon Vikings, organized the trip and everything that happens on the spot. The entire project is funded by Innovation Office InterAct and is a cooperation between KTH, Mälardalen University and Stockholm University.The selection of the six companies was based on, among other factors, the potential of their solutions to succeed in the U.S. market.

Jesper Ahlberg, Andreas Andrén and Theodor Zettersten are the three KTH students that started the music service, Blicko.

The companies are:

  • Comparific
  • Centive Solutions
  • Blicko
  • Kiwied
  • Dr. Maombi
  • Volumental

Sasa Shaba, head of Student Inc. says that the six have the potential to “go really far.”

“They demonstrated the right skills and personality, had strong applications and are ambitious entrepreneurs,” Shaba says. “The trip gives them the chance to “show off, be inspired, and learn to how to build a growing business and make new contacts that will be important in the coming global expansion,” Shaba says.

The companies are led by both students who started businesses based on their ideas, and by KTH employees who did the same based on their research. The trip offers an opportunity to challenge themselves as entrepreneurs, sharpen their business strategies and draw inspiration from Silicon Valley’s unique business environment.

Sasa Shaba, head of KTH student incubator Student Inc.

Shaba says that the six companies are testing their own business models and seeking new ones. They also get the chance to network and examine how Silicon Valley works and how to build a growth business. Some of the inspiration has come from incubators, entrepreneurs in start-up companies and representatives from companies such as Facebook, Mozilla, Google, and Airbnb, as well Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.

Student Inc. worked with Adiba Cremonini of Silicon Vikings, a non-profit group that connects the Nordic region’s and Silicon Valley’s innovative start-up ecosystems.

“We are pleased that InterAct decided to invest in this program,” Cremonini says. “It is extremely important that the companies go to Silicon Valley early on and learn and be inspired by highly experienced entrepreneurs, investors and experts – people that open up new ways of thinking and provides understanding and knowledge of the steps required to scale up a company globally.

“There is a high density of experience and entrepreneurship here,” Cremonini says. “To build and scale up the company is part of everyday life. It is difficult to explain.”

The “Silicon Valley spirit,” she says, simply has to be experienced in person.

Among the 40 or so professionals the group is meeting are: John McIntyre (Citrix Startup Accelerator), Bill Reichert (Garage Technology Ventures), Pascal Finette (Mozilla), Ellen Freeman (K&L Gates), Lisa Enckell (Wrapp), Jeff Burton (arbetat med Atari Home Computers / Electronic Arts (medgrundare)), Marlon C. Nichols (Intel Capital) and Jon Baer (Threshold Ventures).

Bill Reichert, Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures, leads a workshop with the Swedish visitors.

“Our goal is that the companies meet people with whom they build permanent relationships,” Shaba says. “So they can establish successful companies in the U.S., find inspiration and manage to build something sustainable for the future.”

More information about some of the six companies:

  • Dr. Maombi: bit.ly/11gGimK
  • Centive Solutions: bit.ly/LBBT6w
  • Comparific: bit.ly/17EcWky
  • Blicko: bit.ly/HimvGl

In addition to the KTH-related companies, the entourage included Robot Colleague and VKB Technologies from Mälardalen University.

For more information, contact Sasan Shaba at +1 872-212-2393.