Silicon Valley tech incubator hosts Norwegian royals

The country's crown prince and princess visit Norwegian companies trying to make it big in the US

Norway's Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Mette-Marit tried touchless gesturing systems and other technologies developed by Norwegian startups at a tech incubator in Palo Alto on Wednesday afternoon .

The royal couple stopped at Innovation House and met Norwegian startups trying to make it big in Silicon Valley as part of their tour of the region, which winds up on Thursday.

The facility, in the heart of downtown Palo Alto, is run by government trade promotion unit Innovation Norway and is intended to provide an easy way for Norwegian companies to enter the U.S. market, allowing them to avoid all the hassles related to setting up an office, and immediately get down to business. The center also tries to facilitate business for them.

It was opened in 2011 by Prince Haakon, although he did it at the time through a virtual ribbon cutting on Twitter.

On Wednesday, the royal couple tried and experienced a couple of the projects from the startups including the touchless gesturing system for tablet computers from Elliptic Labs. Unlike competing systems that use a camera, the Elliptic system is based on ultra sound and claims higher accuracy and the ability to work in all lighting conditions.

The prince also tried out a virtual reality system from Making View. The company has developed a camera that can shoot video in 360 degrees. When viewed with a pair of virtual reality goggles, the video gives the user the feeling of being there -- it's something like a video version of Google's Street View.

Coming to the U.S. makes good business sense for the startups and they all credited the government-backed Innovation House with making it easier.

"Back in Norway we have a lot of attention for start-ups dealing with the oil and gas industry, but for companies dealing with tech it's a little bit more difficult to get funded through VCs [venture capitalists] and business angels," said Making View CEO Are Vindfallet. That's a big reason he came to Silicon Valley, and indeed has found it much easier to meet with venture capitalists and other potential partners from the Palo Alto base.

Bipper is a startup that's developed a mobile app called bSafe to help people in trouble. Once programmed with contact details for friends and family members, it can despatch a message for help at the press of a button, also recording and sending a GPS location, video and audio.

Silje Vallestad, founder and CEO of Bipper, said the center saved her the trouble and difficulty of setting up an office when she first moved here.

The U.S. is an attractive target for a company like hers because, while it's smaller in population than the European Union, it's easier to reach in a single language, she said.

In eight months, her company has grown to four employees and could soon be graduating from the space, which would make it one of almost 30 companies that has graduated from the space.

Other companies present at the event included AIMS Innovation, which has a real-time monitoring tool for Microsoft BizTalk, Shipping Cluster, which has developed a vessel performance dashboard for ship owners, WeWantToKnow.com, that teaches kids algebra through a game, Changetech, which uses psychology and neuroscience to help change personal habits through an app, HighSoft Solutions, which is a tool to create interactive charts online, and online list making tool Listnerd.com

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags business issuesBipperMakingViewElliptic Labs

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?