Catalyst joint venture to fund and grow highest potential Nordic tech startup companies planning to launch in the U.S.

Palo Alto, U.S., and Oslo, Norway.  June 15, 2015 Garage Technology Ventures, Norway’s StartupLab, and Silicon Valley-based MAD-Partners today announced the launch of Silicon Valley Catalyst, a new joint venture to fund and grow brilliant emerging European technology companies in Northern Europe that are ready to launch in the U.S.  The collaboration brings together a team of experienced Silicon Valley and Nordic venture players to provide investment capital and intensive individualized support to startups at a level beyond the standard incubation/acceleration programs being offered in the Valley and around the world. 

Unlike standard acceleration programs, Silicon Valley Catalyst will provide a customized support model for each individual startup, including intensive development focused on the specific needs of the company, with a particular focus on the requirements of companies bridging to Silicon Valley from the Nordics.  Qualifying companies will be accepted from a broad range of sectors, but the joint venture will focus primarily on information technology, communications and software.  Each company selected will receive $100,000 in seed funding.  As part of Catalyst, each company rapidly develops the agile processes, techniques, and tools used by the best Silicon Valley companies.

The initial partners in Catalyst are Garage Technology Ventures in Silicon Valley, StartupLab in Norway, and MAD-Partners in Silicon Valley.  Nordic One, an alliance of the leading tech incubators in the Nordic region, is also supporting the initiative.  The initial partners are looking to add additional partners, especially venture firms and incubators in Northern Europe, as the initiative expands.

“In an increasingly competitive landscape, startups must find new and smarter ways to grow their business,” said Tor Bækkelund, who bridged his own company from the Nordics to a global success, and is now a partner at StartupLab.  “Our overall ambition is to help startups fast-track their development by focusing on getting their first global customers, partners and financing.”

Catalyst aims to attract ambitious technology entrepreneurs with compelling products or services ready to realize their international potential.  The focus is to help Nordic Startups on an individualized basis with:

  • Customer acquisition
  • Team building
  • Operational infrastructure
  • Financing

“Too many programs are focused on pitching and fundraising,” said Pekka Parnanen, who has successfully bridged many of the leading Nordic companies to Silicon Valley, and is the founder of MAD-Partners, a market access and business development firm.  “The only way to build a successful company is to get customers.  That’s the right priority for good entrepreneurs.”

“There are a lot of great ‘acceleration’ programs for entrepreneurs, but ‘batch’ programs can only take a company so far,” said Bill Reichert, a serial entrepreneur and managing director of Garage Technology Ventures.  “As we have learned throughout the years, each great company follows a unique path, and so we have designed our training and coaching accordingly, based on our experience investing in over 100 companies.  We want Catalyst to be customized so that each participant gets useful support in the areas where they need it most.”

Silicon Valley Catalyst is not intended to compete with accelerators and incubators.  “We work with incubators, accelerators and investors to help them take their most promising companies to the next level – specifically to launch and grow their companies in the U.S.,” said Reichert.  “The companies may have already graduated from an accelerator program and now are ready for a catalyst to jumpstart their launch and growth in the U.S.”

“We are looking for ambitious technology entrepreneurs with compelling products or services ready to go global,” said Alexander Woxen, a partner at StartupLab in Oslo Norway.  “Emerging technology companies need to expand beyond their regional beginnings and step up to the world stage.  Silicon Valley Catalyst is designed to provide support for those companies.”

“The work is intensive for three months, and then Catalyst provides ongoing support, according to the needs of each company,” said Woxen.  “Underlying the model is an alignment of interests between the entrepreneurs and the Catalyst partners – through their equity interest, the Catalyst partners win only if the entrepreneurs win.”

Additional information about the Garage Silicon Valley Catalyst is available at the website, where startup companies can also apply for consideration:

Silicon Valley Catalyst:


About StartupLab

StartupLab is a leading Nordic technology incubator and an early stage investor located at Oslo Science Center. Currently 80 companies are part of the incubator.  StartupLab is run by experienced entrepreneurs with extensive international networks.  The team at StartupLab is the initiator of the Nordic One, the Nordic alliance of leading tech incubators, backed by Nordic Innovation.  For more information about StartupLab, visit:

About Garage Technology Ventures

Garage Technology Ventures is a seed and early-stage venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley.  When Garage launched in 1998, the firm pioneered the acceleration model, working intensively with startup companies like Pandora Media and LeftHand Networks, and nearly 100 other startup companies, to help brilliant entrepreneurs build brilliant businesses.  Bill Reichert is managing partner of Garage, co-founding the firm with Guy Kawasaki after a career as a serial entrepreneur, launching four high tech companies in Silicon Valley.  For more information about Garage visit:

About MAD-Partners

MAD-Partners is a boutique market access and business development firm focusing especially on the needs of the Nordic and Baltic companies in Silicon Valley. MAD-Partners has a proven track record of bridging over 50 companies from the Nordics to Silicon Valley.  For more information, please contact Pekka Parnanen:

About Nordic One

Nordic One is an alliance of leading tech incubators in the Nordics, including STING (Sweden), KoppiCatch (Finland), ScionDTU (Denmark), Innovation House (Iceland) and StartupLab (Norway).  Nordic One’s mission is to unite the startup hubs across borders in the region. Our goal is to strengthen the support system for Nordic entrepreneurs.


In Europe, please contact Alexander Woxen:   Email:

In the U.S., please contact Bill Reichert:  Email: