Wow! What a year! 2015 was probably the busiest year of our lives! But it’s not supposed to be easy to be an entrepreneur. You have to make some tough sacrifices in the beginning to harvest fruits in the future, and even though nearly all our incomes went into the company, we (the founders) learned more than we thought possible, and have gotten rich with experience.
One year at StartupLab
One year at StartupLab Last January we relocated from our humble home offices to StartupLab at Oslo Science Park. That was a game changer for us. Being in a slick environment at Norway’s most prestigious tech hub is awesome! We get access to an array of talented business advisors, and we get to surround ourselves with other companies in a similar situation to us. We also get to book our meetings in cool glass cubes paved with astroturf, as opposed to our good ol’ kitchen table!
The funding game
Developing technology and building a business takes serious time, and we (the founders) are investing all the time we’ve got. We work six to seven days a week, ten to twelve hours a day, but it’s still not enough! So we need to expand, and in order to expand we need funding.
“The funding game” is an massive field of its own, and it has to be learned like everything else. So we were particularly excited to be among the five companies selected from the 80 applicants to participate in “Angel Challenge”, a program organized by Startup Norway.
Over the course of a few weeks in October and November, 25 “new” investors would meet up weekly for a seminar with the selected five companies. The goal was to teach angel investment to the potential investors, and to teach the startups how to be more attractive to the people who want to invest. It’s a Win-Win. In the end, one of the companies would get a joint investment from the group.
Systemapic did not win the final investment from Angel Challenge, but we learned a lot, and we got some good contacts that we are now exploring. One of those contacts invited us to present our company to a group of investors in Tromsø in the north of Norway, and things are in the works. More on that, as the story progresses.
So far we have four interested investors, three in Norway and one in Abu Dhabi, and we expect to sign the first deals shortly.
We would also like to thank Innovation Norway for believing in us. We know that the competition was hard this year, and that they had some tough choices in which companies to fund, so we are very grateful to have received not one, but two grants from them, enabling us to keep our heads above the water.
We are very excited for 2016, and we have many ambitious plans for this year!
While 2015 was dedicated to programming and software development, our company is now mature enough to go to market and get customers. We are also going to expand our team, and have already engaged two superstar programmers who are going to be crucial to building Systemapic in the coming months.