I have written about My vision for Iceland and why some of the current strategies being explored in Iceland will not work. How do we restart the entrepreneurial system? I have been doing a lot of thinking about this since I started working with Entrepreneurs in Iceland. So what do Icelandic entrepreneurs need?
- They need organized Seed/Angel investors and capital to help them through the valley of death
- They need active Mentoring
- They need a bridge to a bigger market
I have been making the rounds trying to convince institutions in Iceland that in order to reboot Iceland we need new companies that are solving the problems of the future. We need an active privately funded Venture Capital
company that helps entrepreneurs through the above stated 3 challenges. I have been working with the two incubators in Iceland Innovit
, to partner with and launch a Tech Stars
model through them. The biggest problem has been making people/institutions believe that something like this can be done here in Iceland. So what is new? every entrepreneurs goes through many nay sayers until the nay sayers are wrong.
The private VC company will fund the running of the Tech Stars program, and will fund 10 startups each year for a period of 3 intense months of mentoring, training and getting their idea formulated into a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or an invest-able business plan. At the end of the 3 months, each company will pitch to an audience of accredited investors and get funded.
Techstars (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Why Tech Stars? I believe it has the right ingredients for making this model work in Iceland. Tech Star is a mentorship driven accelerator that brings the local community into the fold. The track record
of companies coming out of the Tech Stars program is incredible and odds defying. The mentors are volunteers and they are solicited based on their experience, success and on being entrepreneurs. I have spoken to a bunch of people in Iceland who qualify to play the role of mentors and most of them have shown a lot of interest to participate. A Tech Star affiliated program provides the network needed to bridge the gap from Iceland to the rest of the world and the company will also have a stamp of approval to the VC community at large.