Translation IvdT
DAGENS INDUSTRI 19/6/99
 
 
 

Incubators makes ideas in the enterprises develop


By Nina Åkerberg
 

One of Silicon Valley’s most celebrated entrepreneurs is in Sweden to advise how to support good company ideas from the very beginning. During the year it is the intention for Swedish trials to start with company incubators.

There is a gap in the market for risk capital which many persons with innovative ideas has difficulties to come across. Nobody wants to risk money on innovations and ideas on the growing level no matter how good the idea is. It is simply too much work for the investor.

Scientist David Nordfors, working actually at the KK foundation, is working on a project in Sweden with so called company incubators. The idea is that newly established companies would get a chance to grow during a couple of years in a shape of company collectives in which the support consists of administrative and technical infrastructure, and of certain expert support.

’’I have studied company incubators in Israel since 1995 and we have had several delegations there. Hopefully we will start trials with something similar this year in Sweden’’ says David Nordfors.

Anybody should have the opportunity to approach to get entrance to a company incubator, but the idea is that invitations should especially be directed to immigrants, because they by tradition have had difficulties to get help to their companies. Originally Israel started her incubators as assistance to the one million very well educated Russians who suddenly were knocking on the door after the fall of the Soviet Union. Today immigrants hold 40% of the places.

’’It is important to take care of the initiative power of the immigrants, which they have already when they arrive to a new country. Development demands changes’’, says the entrepreneur Kamran Elahian, founder of among other of Cirrus Logic, Planetweb and Neomagic, some of fastest growing companies in Silicon Valley last year.

They are certainly no bad advisors David Nordfors has to his assistance. Kamran Elahian, born in Iran, is one of Silicon Valley’s most entrepreneurs. He has started seven enterprises in USA and an additional three in Israel together with the Israeli Eliezer Manor. Manor in his turn is the founder of both Israel’s Venture Capital Association and one of the company incubators with the support from the Israeli government.

’’One should never copy an idea just like that. But one can learn, cooperate and adjust. We can give advise and help in opening doors and creating contacts’’ says Eliezer Manor.

Half of the Israeli companies in incubators have so far managed after their protected two years.

Eliezer Manor and Kamran Elahian will now cooperate closely, together with a Japanese colleague, and they will establish a global risk capital company, Global Catalyst Partners, with offices in Silicon Valley, Israel and Japan.

The risk capital will be at least 20 million dollars and the venture capitalists in Global Catalyst Partners will be especially interested in the technological incubators when chasing good company ideas to exploit.

David Nordfors is discussing at present with representatives of the academic world how a Swedish staking on company incubators would look like. The Integration Board, Ministry of Trade and the University of Karlskoga/Ronneby support the project.

Kamran Elahian was nominated by the magazine Business World to Silicon Valley’s main serial entrepreneur in 1997, with six started companies of which five profitable, at the same time the magazine Forbes nominated his company Neomagic to the shining star of the 2000s.