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February 14 SSES, Connect Östra, STING and Venture Cup Öst co-organised a joint matchmaking event for the third year in a row. The aim of the event was to match competent individuals with competence-seeking start-ups and projects. 25 startups presented.
Stefan Ytterborn, CEO and founder of POC, was invited to kick-off the event. Stefan creates protection equipment for gravity sports athletes.
ScandinavianStartups was covering the event live.
It was perhaps most inspiring to meet Nordic Market Solutions, a company run by 4 enterpreneurs, 18 to 19 years old. It is quite telling that their facebook and linkedin google result is higher than the web-page. The dynamic four specialise in packaged solutions for company communication in social media. That by itself does not impress me, who does not offer social media buzz serivces today, but they are actually smart enough to come up with a hardware cash generator - a memory stick business card - and their business acumen gained 3 new customers from this event alone. It is very inspiring to see examples of the take-no-prisoners approach in Sweden.
Peter Söderberg commented on the situation with Risk capital in Sweden-"Investors expect to decide everything for you for 10 percent shares. I'm sorry, but if we wanted an employment contract, we would have not taken on most of the risk ourselves".
Another reason for Scandinavian startups to think global from the start.
The star presenter of the event, Stefan Ytterborn, made a statement that sums it up nicely: "Don't worry about your geographical mark and building the home market. This is old model news. Find the right segment, a lifestyle segment, that shares your ideas, and then, international or not, they will buy your product."
Stefan certainly has the market backing up his ideas: the sales for POC, global gravity sports solutions (a fancy definition for sports where one risks bodily harm from impact), has been growing at more than 60 percent yearly.
One thing that many of the startups had in common during the 1 minute pitch was burning desire for a motivated sales team or sales person.
I personally wonder if this is magical thinking, hoping that a great sales pitch by a new salesman will solve your problems. On the other hand, Jonas Forsslund of Forsslund Systems made a valid point - if you are growing rapidly, busy with new versions of the product, and all the daily tasks that come with managing a startup, you need a dedicated person that follows up on the buyer interest.
And most of the startups present generated lots of interest indeed.
Forsslund Systems uses ready-made components to offer an oral surgery simulator, one that combines haptic technology, medical visualization and advanced graphics to meet the surgical training needs of dental students. Basically, it's a simulator for pulling wisdom teeth out. The potential is quite large, and what's more, a simple change in software will allow to use the stimulator for other surgery, with bone surgery being the easiest implemented. I was impressed with the fact that Forsslund Systems aims to use GPL-based software. This offers great benefits to humankind, and should really be seen more in the medical field.HushTurb aspires to bring affordable windpower to the residential household. The wind-powered horisontal generator is expected to come to market in 2012. An ingenious design with only 7 parts (of course, 2 of those parts are ballbearings, so that includes quite a number of sub-parts), HushTurb could be a market changer, with the right window of opportunity. Simply put, it is cheaper and better than the competition.
HiNation offers Rugged products for portable energy. In a nutshell, they have a solar-powered light-charger combo. Their product HiLight has quite a number of highlights - 10 hours of sunlight give you 20 hours of light or 3 mobile charges, it's strong enough to light a room - i've tried it, really is, has a usb port, floats on water, and is a one-piece design. the price is not yet solidified, but is about 200 euros for the Swedish market.
Medicinera was founded by David Becedas, a pharmacist, that aims to bring prescription-free drug information to the self-diagnosis market in Scandinavia. The current laws limit which drugs can be recommended based on symptoms. Though advertising laws are much more restrictive in Nordic countries, this is perhaps of benefit to Medicinera, that boasts being first-to-market in this segment.