New out of Norway is betaFACTORY, an incubator with the goal of mentoring and funding 50 companies over the next 3 years. The incubator will be located in downtown Oslo and was put together using the same fundamentals as Y Combinator, TechStars, and other intensive incubators that provide a strong focus on customer development and give a small amount of seed funding. I got the chance to talk with Brian Weisberg, the founder of betaFACTORY about who they are and what they're looking for. The deadline for the application is January 8th.
"Whats really lacking in the Oslo Startup Ecosystem is the track. If you've got the idea and the team together, there's still not a clear path where to go," says Weisberg. "What we're trying to do is provide that clear path from idea, prototype stage to the point where you've checked off all the boxes that a Venture Capitalist is looking for."
At the incubator, the selected 10 companies will receive office space, a small amount of funding, and a serious focus on mentorship to help mitigate the risk of starting a new venture.
On the grounds of boosting Norway's startup ecosystem, betaFACTORY is focusing its search on Nordic startups that can help kickstart the scene is Oslo. And perhaps for this reason, betaFACTORY is looking for a wide variety of applicants for its first class. Weisberg says that they've received applications in cleantech, drilling, social media, e-commerce, and so on. In the future they may be giving for a slight focus on oil products, but only because they've seen oil companies become early adopters that are willing to pre-pay to see a product developed. On the completion of the term, Weisberg tells me they're thinking about holding one demoday in Oslo, as well as one in London to provide better outreach to VC money.
As a tip for any applicant, Weisberg stresses that they're looking for candidates that have a strong team behind them that shows capability on how to execute. Furthermore, they're looking for teams that can show they have the ability to be mentored. Here Weisberg draws upon the metaphors of some entrepreneurs like a rocket and a some like car. Some entrepreneurs launch and if everything goes great, its perfect. But they're so focused on a plan that if one small thing goes wrong its a disaster. Others stop at each intersection, look around, and see where the best place is to go from there.
You can find the application to betaFACTORY on their website.