It all began with an amusing coincidence when Amalie Eilertsen, the current general manager, was assigned a task at the University to explore the market and identify gaps that could lead to innovative solutions. Initially, she wasn’t particularly interested in the topic of biofouling on ship hulls and its technological and regulatory developments. However, to her astonishment, she found herself more engrossed in this project than any other academic endeavor she had undertaken. The subject matter was timely, relevant, and captivating.
After uncovering crucial gaps in the market, Amalie approached two of her fellow students from the Master’s course in Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Technology at UiA. She knew they possessed the knowledge and determination required to pursue this further. This is how the team consisting of Amalie Eilertsen (CEO), Kennet Karlsen (CTO), and Jarle Haugeried (COO) came into existence.
While juggling their studies, they dedicated themselves to intensive market research and technological design. Just before the Christmas holidays in 2020, they received an unexpected phone call from the port captain at the Port of Kristiansand, with whom they had been in dialogue. He informed them that he had discussed their venture with his network and believed Norsjór had stumbled upon something valuable. «You must pursue this,» he advised. Thus, Norsjór became a reality, and in January 2021, they officially established the company.
Their initial goal was to secure NOK 100,000 in market development grants from Innovation Norway. This funding would enable them to test and determine the optimal wavelength to meet the requirements. However, by the end of Christmas 2022, all their tests yielded negative results, leaving the ambitious entrepreneurs disheartened. The Christmas break was filled with contemplation and extensive research. With renewed determination, they rolled up their sleeves and pressed on. Finally, in the spring, a breakthrough occurred—a positive test result. It was a moment of great relief and accomplishment.
Following the positive test result, they applied for a grant of NOK 900,000 through the Stud-ENT program from Innovation Norway. With their Master’s studies completed, the founders anxiously awaited a response from the funding agency, without a backup plan in place. Then, one scorching day in late June, the phone rang; Norsjór was among the 20 companies in Norway selected to receive the grant.
«This is the initial start-up capital, the most challenging to acquire. Now we can truly concentrate on our product,» Amalie Eilertsen remarked at the time.
With the capital secured, the founders could dedicate their full attention to the project, and they also invested in relevant equipment to continue testing the finished product. As a result, the autumn of 2022 unfolded positively, with advancements in technology development, successful tests, and an overwhelming market response. They even received multiple sustainability awards. Additionally, they connected with a crucial key figure for the company, Jan Eide, a laser technician specialising in optics, who joined the team by the end of 2023.
One of nine. One of over 150 interviewed companies. One of several hundred international companies.
We are the one.
After an extensive and arduous interview process in early 2023, Norsjór received the exciting news that they had been chosen as one of the nine companies to participate in the prestigious 2023 Equinor & Techstars Energy accelerator.
Words fail to capture the overwhelming emotions experienced on this unforgettable day. The magnitude of our achievement, the position we now find ourselves in, and the boundless opportunities that lie ahead are difficult to grasp. Yet, when we reflect upon the countless hours of hard work, the moments of despair when all seemed lost, and the lingering doubts about whether it was all worthwhile, they pale in comparison to the perspective gained today. We will embark on this journey shoulder to shoulder with the formidable forces of Equinor, Techstars, and Capgemini, united by a common goal: NORSJÓR!
Opportunities beckon, and we are ready to seize them. A heartfelt appreciation goes out to my exceptional team, Kennet Karlsen and Jarle Haugereid! Together, we have triumphed, and we can hold our heads high with pride,» expressed Amalie Eilertsen, our esteemed CEO, on the matter.
The Equinor & Techstars Energy Accelerator represents our true mission with this program: to explore genuine business prospects alongside Equinor. With unwavering support from Equinor, Capgemini, and Sandwater, we provide an immersive three-month experience, enveloping companies with the finest mentors and an unparalleled network of corporate partners, investors, and alumni. Through this program, we extend funding and fundraising opportunities, conduct workshops, and curate resources, while fostering numerous invaluable moments for peer learning. It is a proven model that has paved the way for thousands of successful companies worldwide.
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It is a total proactive hull cleaning system and, thereby, no spread of invasive species, no damage to the antifouling (coating) and no spread of microplastic & toxins.
Build, release, build and full market release. We are in the first «build» phase, producing an in port remote controlled MVP for coastal vessels. Then, in the autumn of 2023, we are releasing it to several pilot customers. Finally, we focus on efficiency and automation in the second «build» phase before market release in late 2024.
Biofouling has been a problem for mariners since its origins. In the past, chemical substances such as zinc and copper have been used, which are very effective but negatively impact the sea. However, as a reaction to several regulatory changes in the industry to preserve our ocean, there are new requirements from the market. Unfortunately, today’s solutions with brushes and high pressure cannot meet all the new requirements, so there is a significant demand for new methods for removing biofouling.
We have consistently received good market feedback and have several important Loi and a paying pilot customer contract (Aurora Offshore). And we have more pilot customers in the pipeline. In addition, the World Ocean Council and TOOL nominated us as one of the top ten biofouling innovators in the world.
We can scale drastically due to our innovative technology in a market with suppression of possible technology according to today’s requirements. With our diverse team and a vast network of strategic partners, we will excel and contribute to a more sustainable maritime industry.