There are two things I really enjoy, startups and traveling, so it is a true pleasure when I get to combine the two like I did last weekend when I traveled to St.John’s in Newfoundland to mentor at Startup Weekend and talk at a startup conference.

Startup Weekend

This was the 3rd time I mentor at a Startup Weekend event and I always enjoy them so much. You get together a group of people that in a span of one weekend turn an idea into a business or close to it. It really opens up your eyes to what you can achieve when you put your mind to it and the teams now were no exception. In one weekend we saw teams turn ideas into cool prototypes and one team even managed to create revenue.

Hey there @swhelsinki, regards from an Icelander in Newfoundland. @gostartupnl #startupweekend

A photo posted by Haukur Gudjonsson (@haukurgud) on

 Startup Soiree Conference

The conference was held on the monday after the startup weekend and the focus of it was startup funding and I really like how they got founders from each of the main stages of funding to share their stories (early stage + seed + series A) and then adding the investors into the equation to create a real discussion.

The Keynote speaker of the day was Luigi Calabrese president at Frontier Networks Inc, he shared his thoughts on startups and bootstrapping and also played a fun game called guess the garage which I enjoyed since just 2 months earlier I was in Sillicon Valley visting those garages and taking selfies.

IMG_8112

“A startup Costumer is always better than startup funding.” -Luigi Calabrese

“You better run like hell.” -Luigi Calabrese

I came on stage next to talk about early stage funding and how I had started my startup in very extreme condititions by using creativity and hard work instead of money. I thought it would be appropriate to call the talk The Viking Bootstrap 🙂

Gillian McCrae from Getgifted was next on stage and shared with us the amazing story of how she built up her business and got seed funding. I really appreciated her honest and her does and don’t list when it comes to pitching investors.

Mark Kennedy from CeltX then shared how he had closed his series A round and really drilled down into the details that you must know when you are looking for investors. He also said that it is very important to make the decision whether you really want to go through a series A funding round or not because it changes the game quite a bit.

We then did a panel with the last three speakers and investors from BDC, GrowthWorks and First Angel Network. We talked openly about the difficulties associated with getting the attention of founders and then turning that attention into an investment.

Beers, whales and icebergs.

As good as the events were the people were even better and I had such a blast meeting up with some awesome people there. I finally got a chance to visit George Street (who every Newfoundlander that I have met so far has told me to visit), I drank beer made from icebergs, tried traditional screech, went on a boat ride searching for whales and icebergs but only found very large waves and I got to spend time with the organizers (Jason and Roger) who are awesome guys and I want to thank them for their hospitality.

I really enjoyed my trip to Newfoundland and even though the startup scene there is still somewhat young it has great people that will insure that it will prosper. Events like this are really a great opportunity to build up more international connections and getting a more diverse group of people into the community to mentor and guide the entrepreneurs.

I’m looking forward to visiting again next year 🙂

Ohhhh… and just because a few of my friends enjoyed the boat ride so much I thought I would share a video of it here for them to enjoy it again 😉