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Norrsken Impact accelerator

IF YOU WIN, WE ALL WIN

Welcome to Norrsken Impact Accelerator.
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The world’s most exciting tech startups • Solving the world’s greatest challenges • $100k investment • 8 week sprint in Stockholm • Unicorn founder mentors • All areas of impact but special focus on food-tech

The Norrsken Impact Accelerator bringtogether a global collective of entrepreneurs and investors in Stockholm, Sweden. Among them are more than 50 founders of unicorns and companies such as Klarna, Minecraft, Soundcloud, Good American, Kry, Meltwater, Voi, Rekindle and Brilliant Minds.

Why? To use the power of entrepreneurship to solve some of our planet's greatest challenges, such as poverty, food waste, mental health, cancer, pollution or pandemics.

THE 20 SELECTED STARTUPS

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Selected works

01

Website design

2019
UI/UX design, Web building
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02

Real estate website

2019
UI/UX design, Web building
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03

Agency website

2019
UI/UX design, Web building
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04

Sweet house Branding

2019
Branding design
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$100k Investment

Upfront pre-seed investment of $100k for 5% equity. There’s no fee for the program so you keep the full $100k.

UNICORN MENTORS

Dedicated 8 week sprint at Norrsken House Stockholm with mentorship from world-class founders who’ve faced the same challenges as you, including unicorn founders.

TOP INVESTORS

Meet hundreds of top investors & potential customers at Demo Day. Continue to receive warm introductions to the right investors during and after the sprint.

THE Impact collective dedicated to make you win

There are some incredible people behind this initiative, rallying around the cause of supporting impact- startups. Find out more about the people involved in selecting and investing in the startups, and in mentoring and advising them.

CO-Founders

Fantastic entrepreneurs launching the accelerator alongside Norrsken. They select, invest in and mentor the startups.

MENTORS

Exclusively entrepreneurs we’re deeply inspired by, who’ve built some of the fastest growing companies in the world. They mentor the startups over summer.

Venture partners

Fantastic advisors with entrepreneurial, investment and food-tech expertise. They help select and mentor the startups.

Advisors

Razor sharp minds with expertise in specific areas. Scientists, investors, marketing gurus, operational experts. They are available for advice based on request by the startups.

01

$100 000 UPFRONT INVESTMENT

We target early-stage startups that leverage technology to create and scale innovative solutions to new and old societal and environmental challenges.

We invest $100k in them and then bring them to Stockholm for a dedicated 8 week sprint with mentorship from successful founders, including unicorn founders. The program will wrap up with Norrsken Impact Week - a week of events designed to introduce the startups to investors, talent and potential customers.
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02

8 WEEK SPRINT

We don’t think a fixed curriculum works - it’s too general and wastes precious time. You’ll get the advice you need based on your demands.

1:1s with Partners & Mentors. You’ll also get your own Lead Mentor with experience from your industry or sector. You’ll get advice, feedback, pitch training, connections and absolutely brutal honesty from the Partners and Mentors.
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03

UNICORN
MENTORS

Meet over X investors and pitch to them in an unconventional form of a traditional demo day, make connections and book investor meetings.

Meet potential customers among the corporates, public sector and international organisations we invite to Impact Week. Meet X talents at Talent Day and find your next employee.
Check detail
04

Sweet house Branding

2019
Branding design
Check detail

Who are we looking foor

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PITCH TO 100 OF THE WORLD’S BEST INVESTORS

The sprint ends with Demo Day, to which we’ve invited 100 top international investors. Pitch to them, make connections and book investor meetings. Here are some of the investors you’ll meet.

Are you an investor curious to join? Join the waiting list here.

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The world’s most exciting tech startups • Solving the world’s greatest challenges • $100k investment • 8 week sprint in Stockholm • Unicorn founder mentors • All areas of impact but special focus on food-tech

WHAT WE ARE
LOOKING FOR

We target early-stage startups that leverage technology to create and scale innovative solutions to new and old societal and environmental challenges. 

We support startups in any area of impact and across all verticals. Each year, we’ll also highlight one or more verticals in which we’ll bring a little extra domain-specific expertise. This year, it’s food-tech. So no, we’re not a food-tech only accelerator, but if you’re a food-tech startup, we’re especially excited to hear from you.

> Impact

We invest across all UN SDGs and do not limit ourselves to a specific vertical, but we demand that impact is intentional. We are looking for companies where impact is built into the product, so that as your business grows, your impact automatically follows. When this is the case, we can give you the tools to manage your impact but focus on what we do best - helping you grow the business.

> Business model

We don’t think you need to sacrifice profit to make an impact. When impact is baked into your business, if you achieve financial success, you’ve almost certainly created a lot of impact too. So we’re looking for companies that, if successful, will become unicorns.

> Technology

Software or hardware, we invest in innovations that use technology as a tool in creating and scaling solutions.

> Stage

Because of the terms of our investment, we’re ideally suited to supporting companies at an early (pre-seed) stage. This means you’ve identified a clear market opportunity and path to market with your product. You may have built or be building your MVP, but you’ve gone beyond just the idea and have something to show. However, we are happy to support startups who have made more progress and fast-track your success from your base starting point.

> Geography

We are based in Sweden and ask startups to come to Stockholm for 8 weeks over the (European) summer to sprint on their businesses with our support. However, we are looking for companies from anywhere in the world. 

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The world’s most exciting tech startups • Solving the world’s greatest challenges • $100k investment • 8 week sprint in Stockholm • Unicorn founder mentors • All areas of impact but special focus on food-tech

the 8 week sprint

We don’t think a fixed curriculum works - it’s too general and wastes precious time. You’ll get the advice you need based on your demand.

Building a startup is hard. It’s a little easier if you get to bounce ideas and get advice from experienced, successful entrepreneurs. You’ll be given a lead co-founder mentoring you and a group of peer companies. You’ll also get your own lead mentor with experience from your industry or sector. You’ll get advice, feedback, pitch training, connections and total honesty from the co-founders and mentors.

> Peer group feedback sessions 

Advice and feedback from your peers can be just as valuable as from mentors. You’ll join a peer group with a handful of other startups, led by the same co-founder. Every couple of weeks, you’ll get together to discuss your progress, give each other feedback and suggestions, and keep each other accountable.

> Optional meetings with experts

We don’t want to waste your time with unnecessary meetings, so taking up the offer is entirely in your hands. If you find it useful, you’ll be able to book meetings with experts for domain-specific questions in areas like accounting, legal, marketing, or impact areas like clean energy, food science, medicine.

> Workspace adapted for crunchtime

The program will be tough. There’s no doubt about it. You’ll be working hard and sprinting fast. To do this, you’ll have 24/7 access to Norrsken House - a workspace built with entrepreneurs’ needs in focus. But it’s also about community - learning from and interacting with your peers. It may be the conversation by the coffee machine that’s the game-changer.

> Dinners with talks from inspirational founders

In the midst of the sprinting, there’s still time for a little fun, laughter and inspiration. We’ll bring in inspiring entrepreneurs to give short talks or Q&As, followed by dinner with your peers, co-founders, mentors, and other startups we think are great.

WHY STOCKHOLM?

>  We'll get you super cheap high-quality housing

We really do think it’s important for you to join us in Stockholm for the full 8 weeks. To help with this, we’ve arranged hugely discounted accommodation with the help of Norrsken’s amazing partner Strawberry Living. You’ll be living in top quality newly built apartments within easy distance of Norrsken House, to which you’ll have 24/7 access. We’ll make sure you receive your investment ahead of the sprint, so you can use that to cover the costs of coming to Stockholm.

> A beautiful place to spend the summer

Stockholm in summer is glorious. It’s a city filled with accessible nature and surrounded by clear blue water. In summer, the roads are blocked off to become walking streets, with cafes, restaurants and bars that spill out into the warm summer air.

Of course, you’ll spend most of your 8 weeks working, but there’s great museums and the Swedish archipelago right around the corner for well-timed breaks.

> Europe's unicorn factory

With the most per capita unicorns outside of Silicon Valley, Stockholm has a thriving tech startup scene. It’s the perfect place to build connections and engage with other entrepreneurs to grow your business.

> The most sustainable country in the world

With heavy focus on impact and sustainability, you’ll find it easy to make connections interested in collaborating with impact tech startups and to learn from experts in the impact space.

> Highly engaged investors

With a high density of startups, Stockholm attracts a lot of attention from investors, both in and outside Sweden. Through Norrsken’s network, you’ll get to meet a lot of international investors focused on early-stage tech startups, and you’ll meet dedicated impact investors too.

> Norrsken House

We host the program at our hub Norrsken House in Stockholm because we think that being in the same place is essential to create the atmosphere needed to power your sprint. It could be one of those quick questions to your peers by the coffee machine or late nights at the “office” that make all the difference to your success.

5 july - 27 august 2021

12 Jan
Applications open
Apply early as we process applications on a rolling basis.
28 Feb
Deadline for applications
Don’t miss it!
5 Jul
Sprint starts
in Stockholm
Arrive a little early and explore Stockholm. Once we start, it’ll be at full speed.
25 Aug
Investor
Demo Day
Take the next step & showcase your business to the best investors
27 Aug
Sprint
ends
Don’t worry, there’ll be a big party before we say our goodbyes.


Fast-track your success by joining us. We’ll be processing applications on a rolling basis so we encourage you to apply early.

Deadline
28 February 2021.

APPLICATION CLOSED

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The world’s most exciting tech startups • Solving the world’s greatest challenges • $100k investment • 8 week sprint in Stockholm • Unicorn founder mentors • All areas of impact but special focus on food-tech

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FAQ


GENERAL QUESTIONS

> Read more about Norrsken

> What is the Norrsken Impact Accelerator?

We are a pre-seed accelerator investing in the best startups solving the world’s biggest challenges.
We target early-stage startups that leverage technology to create and scale innovative solutions to new and old societal and environmental challenges. We invest $100k in them and then invite them to Stockholm for a dedicated 8 week sprint with support from successful and experienced entrepreneurs, including unicorn founders. The program will culminate in an iconic investor demo day, when startups pitch to hundreds of investors and potential customers. 

Norrsken Impact Accelerator is sector agnostic and is open to startups in any area of impact. Each year, we’ll also highlight one or more verticals in which we’ll bring a little extra domain-specific expertise. This year, the cohort will be from mixed impact areas, with a special focus on food-tech and agri-tech.

> Who is involved?

CO-FOUNDERS
Fantastic entrepreneurs launching the accelerator alongside Norrsken. They select, invest in and mentor the startups.

MENTORS
Exclusively entrepreneurs we're deeply inspired by, who've built some of the fastest growing companies in the world. They mentor the startups over summer.

VENTURE PARTNERS
Fantastic advisors with entrepreneurial, investment and food-tech expertise. They help select and mentor the startups.

ADVISORS
Razor sharp minds with expertise in specific areas. Scientists, researchers, marketing gurus, legal advisors. They are available for advice based on request by the startups.

In addition, the program will include pitch training and program management & support from the Norrsken Foundation team.

> Why is Norrsken doing this?

At Norrsken, we believe that tech entrepreneurs are essential for creating solutions that will enable us to solve some of the biggest global problems of our time.  Part of what we do is to help these entrepreneurs get their solutions out quicker, because the world can’t afford to wait. 

We also do this to showcase the fact that creating solutions that positively impact the world and making a lot of money are compatible. In fact, in the world we live in today, it is impact companies that will be the Facebooks of tomorrow. We need more capital and talent to enter the SDG market. We showcase both the impact and financial potential in impact startups to further this cause.

> What is your goal?

Our goal is find the next generation of unicorns with impact fully integrated into their business models. 
Profit is a powerful means to achieving global scale. This is why we focus on investing in start-ups that can become highly profitable businesses, able to roll out their solutions globally.
And when impact is integral to the business model, an extra unit of revenue generates an extra unit of impact. As the company grows, so does its impact. And if it becomes a unicorn, its impact will be massive.

> What happens during the Norrsken Impact Accelerator?

- You start off getting $100k of investment.
- You join us in Stockholm for an 8 week sprint at Norrsken House - our hub for impact tech entrepreneurs
- You’ll meet the other startups in the program & have a goal-setting session to set your goals for the 8 weeks.
- You’ll have 24/7 access to workspace designed with tech entrepreneurs in mind to crunch, crunch, crunch
- You’ll join a peer group with a handful of other startups and be given a lead co-founder.
- You’ll have 1-1 mentoring sessions every other week with your lead co-founder.
- You’ll have peer group sessions the weeks in between, guided by your lead co-founder, to update each other on your progress, hold each other accountable and give each other feedback.
- You’ll also be assigned a lead mentor, who has experience from your industry or sector.
- You’ll meet your lead mentor on a frequency that makes sense for both of you (but mentors commit to spending at least 4 hours with you over the 8 weeks).
- You’ll have access to a pool of topic and impact experts. We don’t want to waste your time with unnecessary meetings, so taking up the offer is entirely in your hands. If you find it useful, you’ll be able to book meetings with experts in areas like accounting, legal, marketing, or areas like food science, clean energy, medicine.
- You’ll be able (but not required) to join Ask Me Anything sessions to ask successful founders, well, anything! Including unicorn founders from around the world.
- You’ll be invited to dinners every other week with inspiring speakers giving short talks or Q&As, your peers, co-founders, mentors, and other startups we think are great.
- You’ll have pitch training with co-founders, mentors and Investors in the last 3 weeks.
- Finally, you’ll take pitch to hundreds of investors at Investor Demo Day, and have the chance to meet potential customers there too.
- We’ll have a final celebration at the end of Week 8, but it’s not goodbye. We’ll continue to support you as alumni with a platform for getting peer advice and feedback, investor and partner connections.


INVESTMENT & ELIGIBILITY

> What are you looking for in startups?

1. Impact
We invest across all UN SDGs and do not limit ourselves to a specific vertical, but we demand that impact is intentional. We are looking for companies where impact is built into the product, so that as your business grows, your impact automatically follows. When this is the case, we’ll give you the tools to manage your impact but we can focus on what we do best - helping you grow the business. We’re also especially happy to see food-tech companies this year, but are interested in and able to support other verticals. 

2. Business model
We believe that you don’t need to sacrifice profit to make an impact. And when impact is baked into your business, if you achieve financial success, you’ve almost certainly created a lot of impact too. So we’re looking for companies that, if successful, will become unicorns.

3. Technology
Software or hardware, we invest in innovations that use technology as a tool in creating and scaling solutions. 

4. Stage
Because of the terms of our investment, we’re ideally suited to supporting companies at an early (pre-seed) stage. This means you’ve identified a clear market opportunity and path to market with your product. You may have built or be building your MVP, but you’ve gone beyond just the idea and have something to show. However, we are happy to support startups who have made more progress and fast-track your success from your base starting point. 

5. Geography
We are based in Sweden and ask startups to come to Stockholm for 8 weeks over the (European) summer to sprint on their businesses with our support. However, we are looking for companies from anywhere in the world. 

> How much do you invest in startups joining the program?

We invest using standardised deal terms. We invest $100k in each company in return for 5% equity using a relevant form of convertible security.

> Are the investments terms fixed?

Yes, all 20 startups that are selected will receive an upfront investment of $100,000 in exchange for 5% equity. These investment terms are fixed.

> Does Norrsken invest in follow-on rounds?

No. We don’t take pro rata rights or follow-on for two reasons: 
1. We want to give you full control over your cap table and allow you to choose who invests in your company and how much equity they take. 
2. If we were to do follow-on investments, we’d only be able to follow-on in a handful of companies from each batch. We don’t want to affect the ability of any of our portfolio companies to raise future rounds by a negative signalling effect. We’d rather avoid this altogether for the time being.


> Do you only invest in certain areas/sectors?

We are sector agnostic, and impact sector agnostic. We focus on finding the most promising startups within various sectors and helping them to scale. As long as you’re using technology and you’re solving a big societal or environmental problem, we’d love to hear from you. 
In addition to this, each year we’ll provide extra support infrastructure around one or more specific sectors. This year, we’re adding extra infrastructure around food-tech and agri-tech, with support from Erik Byrenius and Anna Ottosson - angel investors with a huge network in the food-tech space. We’ll be able to support impact startups in any sector, but if you’re a food-tech startup, we’d especially like to hear from you.

> Can I apply with a hardware solution? 

Yes, we love supporting impact across all verticals and do not limit the type of solutions we are looking for. It is true that hardware solutions can take longer to develop and scale than software solutions. However, if you’re a great team working hard on a solution that can change the world, you should apply.

> Will you sign an NDA? How do I know you won’t steal my idea?

No, we won’t sign a NDA, but will informally commit to confidentiality. It’s typical for investors not to sign NDAs to enable us to consider every startup that applies and to roll out investments quickly.

> Will you fund multiple startups in the same sector?

Yes. As long as you’re not working on identical products, we’re happy to support startups working in the same sector.

> Can NGOs or NPOs apply?

No, this accelerator is targeting for-profit companies making an impact through their business models. NGOs and NPOs are incredibly important in driving societal and environmental change. But for this accelerator, we are only focusing on impact startups.

> We have already taken in funding. Can we still apply?

Yes. As long as you’re happy with our investment terms, we’re happy to hear from you regardless if you have investments from elsewhere or not.

> I’m a single person team. Can I still apply?

Yes. We’d rather fund teams than single co-founders, because we think your chances of success are greater with a co-founder, but we’ll still consider strong individual founders.

> Can the same founder or team apply with multiple ideas or companies?

Yes, you are welcome to submit more than one application, as long as each solution fits the criteria we are looking for.

> We don’t want funding, can we still join the program?

No. Besides funding, we think there’s a lot of value in joining the program. And by investing in you, we’re fully aligning our incentives to help you succeed.

> If we participated in another accelerator, can we do Norrsken Impact Accelerator?

Yes. Especially if you’ve been through a venture-building program, you’ll be at the right stage to join us after this. If you’ve been through another program and are at a slightly later stage, we’ll aim to fast-track your progress from your starting point.

> We've already been working on our startup for a while. Is it worth us joining?

Yes! As long as you’ve gone beyond just the idea and have something to show, you’re the right stage for us, and we’re happy to support startups that have made more progress. However, we will take into account how long you’ve been working on your startup relative to how far you’ve come. So if you’ve been working on your startup for a long time and have little to show for it, you should explain why that has been the case.


APPLYING

> How does the application process work?

1. You apply by filling in this short and quick application form. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. We process the applications on a rolling basis. The sooner you apply, the better.2. If you make it to the second stage, we’ll send you a more detailed application form and give you 5 days to fill it in. At this stage, we'll also ask you to send in a very short video introduction to your team. 

Second stage application - video requirement
s:
If you are selected to the second stage we will ask you to link a video where you get the opportunity to present yourselves, your idea and why it matters. The video should be around one minute and without any fancy editing or background music, only you in the founding team should be speaking. We prefer if all the cofounders participate. You can record the video on your phone, laptop or in a Zoom-call, just make sure that we can hear you clearly. If you upload it to Youtube and don’t want other people to see it, please mark it as ‘unlisted’.

> When can I expect to hear if I was selected for the next stage?

We'll process applications on a rolling basis, so the earlier you apply, the earlier you'll hear back. If you're successful, we'll send you a more detailed application form and ask you to fill it in within 5 days. At the latest, you should hear back in early March. Keep a look in your spam folder, so you don't miss our email.

> When can I expect to hear if I was selected for the accelerator?

If you haven’t been selected to interview this year, we’ll let you know by the beginning of April. If you’ve been selected, we’ll invite you to interview at the beginning of April. We’ll let you know if we’re extending an offer in mid-April.

> How long does it take to fill in the application?

We’ve timed it. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. If you’re successful, we’ll ask you to fill in a second, more detailed application, which should take 30 minutes to complete.

> Is there a word limit to the application?

Yes, you’ll see a world limit on individual questions. The word limit is not there as a guideline, just as a maximum. If in doubt, less is more. We’d also prefer you not to use jargon or high-flying language. Keep it plain and simple, and we’ll be happy.

> What are the second stage video application requirements?

If you are selected to the second stage we will ask you to link a video where you get the opportunity to present yourselves, your idea and why it matters. The video should be around one minute and without any fancy editing or background music, only you in the founding team should be speaking. We prefer if all the cofounders participate. You can record the video on your phone, laptop or in a Zoom-call, just make sure that we can hear you clearly. If you upload it to Youtube and don’t want other people to see it, please mark it as ‘unlisted’.

> What is the deadline for submitting a late application?

The deadline for ordinary applications was February 28. We’ll keep allowing teams to submit late applications after that until the full batch has been announced later this spring, but late applications will be reviewed after all the applications that were submitted before the deadline have been screened. In other words, the later you submit your application, the harder it is to get into Norrsken Impact Accelerator.”


MORE ABOUT THE SPRINT

> Is there a program fee?

No, there’s no program fee. We’re covering the cost of the program because we want you to be able to use the investment to directly cover the costs required to launch or grow your business. We think this investment should give you a runway for around 6 months, by which time you should be able to secure your next investment round with our support.

> What value can I expect to get if I join the accelerator program?

- Investment - of $100K for 5% equity
- A Lead Mentor
- always an entrepreneur (and maybe a unicorn founder) who understands the challenges you’re facing and can give you the right advice to launch and grow your business
- Network - connections through mentors, co-founders, experts and others involved in the program
- Specific support - access to a pool of topic and impact experts for support or advice on specific topics
- Access -  to investors, talent, and potential customers 
- Warm intros to investors - outside of meeting investors at Demo Day, we’ll also provide introductions to specific investors where we see a good match

> So is this a generalist or a food-tech program?

We are open to early-stage tech startups that are solving a problem across any SDG or impact sector. Each year, we’ll build a little bit of extra infrastructure around one or more specific verticals. This year, it’s food-tech (and agri-tech). We have experience of running a food-tech program, food-tech angel investors as Venture Partners and researchers and institutions from this field as advisors. 
There are no hard targets over the number of food-tech specific companies we want in the program, but it will be less than half the cohort. If you’re a food-tech startup, you’ll benefit from a core group of peers in the same industry. If you’re not in food-tech, you’ll receive stellar support regardless.

> Who will be my mentor?

Mentors will be given a choice of startups within the area of their expertise, so you’ll be matched with a mentor who can help you to grow.

> Am I guaranteed a unicorn founder mentor if I join the program?

Yes. And no. Every startup who joins us will have a dedicated mentor during the time they are with us. Some of these are unicorn founders, others are founders of currently fast-growing startups. Some are experienced entrepreneurs who are now working in investing and advisory capacities. Others are active in their companies today. They all bring different things to the table. We think it’s more important that you have a dedicated mentor who understands your challenges and your market and can give you the right advice, so your mentor may or may not be a unicorn founder. However, unicorn founders will be available for office hours and Ask Me Anything sessions, so you will have the opportunity to be mentored by them.

> What happens after the program is completed?

In the last week, you’ll attend Investor Demo Day and meet investors and, if relevant, potential customers. And of course, we can’t forget one epic final celebration. After this, you’ll join our alumni network. We’ll keep pretty close contact over the next few months and support you if you’re raising a new round in that time. You’ll remain part of our alumni network for life, and will have the ability to reach out to your peers, future participants, mentors and advisors.

> How do you help companies raise money outside of the program investment?

We have a dedicated week at the end of the program to help power your success, where we introduce you to investors at Demo Day and afterwards. We’ll give warm introductions to investors outside of this setting too. Before Demo Day, we’ll work on your pitch, and you’ll get advice, and honest feedback from mentors, co-founders and pitch coaches.

> Can we do the program without coming to Stockholm?

No, we really do want you to join us in Stockholm. We think that being in the same place for 8 weeks and interacting with your peers is essential to create the atmosphere needed to power your sprint. It could be one of those quick questions to your peers by the coffee machine or late nights at the “office” that make all the difference to your success. That’s why we’re bringing you to Stockholm for the summer rather than doing this virtually. However, you are allowed to rotate the founders who are in Stockholm during this period if necessary.


OTHER PRACTICALITIES

> Who pays for accommodation and transportation?

We ask you to cover the costs of transport and living during the 8-week sprint. From our side, we’ll make sure that you receive the $100k investment in advance of the program, so you can use this to cover travel and accommodation costs if necessary. We do also have the great partner Strawberry Living who help lower these costs by providing entrepreneurs in our program with a large discount on accommodation.

> Can you help us get visas?

We’ll help you apply for visas if needed.

> What language will be used at the accelerator?

The official language that will be used in the accelerator is English.

> I want to help! Can I become a mentor or advisor?

Fantastic! If you want to become a mentor or help advise the startups within Norrsken’s ecosystem, please share some more details about yourself, your background and interests through this form. We will then get back to you within a few weeks.

> Can I get in touch?

If you’d like to get in touch, send us an email at accelerator@norrsken.org. We won’t be able to respond to requests for updates on ongoing applications or be able to connect on calls, but we’ll do our very best to get back regarding other queries and written questions.



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