Luis de Ita Maubant
Why did we choose Techstars?
Updated: Jun 14, 2022
Starting a company is hard.
It does not matter if it's a small service business to cater to a local community or a technology company with global reach. There are apparent differences in the complexity of these two that we do not need to explore in detail. They have in common that to be successful, you need to have a market to address, good partners, a good team, and as much support as possible.
We learned about the Techstars-Equinor program in October 2021 during the SpaceTech Accelerator at Kjeller Innovation. During this time, we had the chance to meet one of their top researchers in remote sensing & earth observation technologies, specializing in the Arctic, one of the most sensitive regions to climate change in the planet. The same day, we had the chance to pitch to the Equinor Ventures Team, who were also part of the SpaceTech program by Kjeller Innovation. This was when we learned about the Equinor-Techstars Energy Accelerator program.
This was not our first experience with a world-class accelerator program. The four co-founders of SurplusMap (Liam, Almas, Morten, and I) are Antler Alumni (OSL02). The company's idea emerged from one of the fantastic industry sprints organized by Hafslund-Eco during the program. The challenge was how to monetize excess power in their assets, that is, surplus energy.
With that experience in mind, we did our due diligence, spoke to former Alumni and the Management Director, Audun Abelsnes, and we decided to apply.
It was an arduous selection process.
Hundreds of companies from all around the world applied to the program, and only 8 were selected. After around six weeks, we were formally invited to be part of the program.
It was a no-brainer.
For the past 13 weeks we have been sitting at the impressive Equinor building at Fornebu, sharing office space with Future Busines and Equinor Ventures. We also have had access to 6 consultants from Capgemini, that have challenged our assumptions and helped us to clarify our Value Proposition.
In addition, we went through Mentor Madness, Techstars flagship technique to challenge you to the core and accelerate your company. During 3 weeks we had over 80 meetings with world-class energy industry leaders, investors and technologist around the world. This was a game changer for SurplusMap.
We even had the chance to have a 10 min conversation with Equinor's CEO.
One of the best advice I have heard about running a startup is to look for smart money.
That is why we chose Techstars and accepted their 120K USD investment (ca. 1.2 M NOK).
An investment by Techstars is precisely that: Smart Money. An entire support system made for deeptech founders with global ambitions, access to world class mentors, a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and a network of key potential customers that facilitates business development.
About the author:
Luis de Ita Maubant is the Founder & CEO of SurplusMap, a planning management software based on a map designed for the green shift. As CEO of SurplusMap, Luis leads an interdisciplinary team with domain expertise in sustainability, geospatial, renewables, earth observation technologies, data science
Luis’ background combines digital business development with start-up to scale-up experience and academic background from one of the top sustainability research institutions in the world: The Centre for Development & the Environment at the University of Oslo (SUM-UiO).