ITSA is a 12 weeks Business Accelerator Program for Tech Startups. We gather once a week for a full day meeting with pitch training, feedback, workshops, lectures, food and mingling with business partners. The last day of the program is the Open Demo & Pitch Day Competition.


On the Open Demo & Pitch Day Competition, a jury selects a company that will get a 500 000 NOK offer of investment from Validé and will also be a candidate for a 2 mill NOK minimum investment from Validé Invest AS.


We are located in the Innovation Park in Stavanger.




Open for all Startups that work with new and innovative tech products, services and solutions within ICT, Energy, Health, Welfare technology, Food, Agriculture, Gaming and Creative Businesses.





Benjamin Sommer

Agile coach & trainer I Innovation mentor

Benjamin works with entrepreneurs and organizations to help them succeed with continuous improvement and innovation. He focuses on lean, business model innovation and making product development teams go fast.

Benjamin holds a Certificate of Business Excellence from University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business and a Master of Business Administration from University of Agder.

He has written and translated several book son agile/Scum and Business Model Innovation. For a list of investments and board positions see Benjamin’s Linkedin-profil.

Sean Paul Shanor

Sean Paul Shanor is a Norwegian American globetrotter having spent most of his life in Dubai and the Far East, with the majority of the last decade running operations for professional golf events worldwide. At 30 he came home to Norway, got sparked by his first ever Startup Weekend, and has been engaged in entrepreneurship ever since. He’s cofounded a number of startups, pushes lean business methodology through Lean Startup Circle Stavanger, and loves to ask “Why?” - over and over and over again.


In 2016, he lead and energized over 150 participants through 4 week accelerator programs that built 16 companies. Now he’s focused on facilitating Startup Weekend’s worldwide, giving inspirational talks for universities and companies, life coaching and positively affecting a billion people through his company SynergySpace.

He holds two Bachelor degrees in Finance and Hospitality Management, a Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics, and is an engaged Course Assistant for the Pennsylvania State University Data Analytics Masters program.


Dagfinn Wåge

Head of Innovation at Lyse Group

Dagfinn joined Lyse in 2006 coming from Telenor. He holds two master degrees (MSc and MoM) from Stavanger University and Norwegian Business school BI. His first role was as Chief Product Officer and Chief Innovation officer in Altibox before becoming Head of Innovation in the Lyse group in 2012. Having a profound interest in the field of new digital business models, he recently published a book on this theme


Kyrre Tangen Andersen

Attorney & Assosiate Partner at Kluge

Kyrre works both in Kluges energy department and in Kluges ICT / intellectual property law department. He has also been involved in Kluges department for procedure and public procurement, and has a broad practice that includes ongoing assistance, project implementation related to oilfield development and dispute assignments.

Kyrre is also responsible for Kluges Gründerhjelp in Stavanger.


Frederic Willassen

Associate| Audit & Assurance| Siviløkonom

Deloitte AS

Associate at the advisory department at Deloitte Stavanger. Experience from audit and advisory projects including valuations, due diligence, bankcruptcies and more.

MSc in Economics and Business Administration from NHH.

Bjørn Christensen

Partner at Alliance Venture

Alliance Venture is a Norwegian venture capital firm investing in early stage technology companies. Total capital under management is 850 MNOK (about € 100 million).


Bjarte Magnussen

Commersial Director at Validé, Manager at Validé Invest

Executive MBA from Rice University, Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business, USA, and MSc in Business and Administration, Bodø Business School.

Bjarte has 20 years of experience from different technology companies in all phases, start-up, growth and maturing, including 8 years in the management team of the telecom company Altibox, responsible for business management and finance, central to business acquisitions and development of new business models.

Mirjam Engelsvold

Founder & owner at MindUp

Early in her career, Mirjam received top management experience from an international company with over a thousand employees. Today, she transforms learning into practice at a high pace, with a clear and contagious willingness to develop and believe in opportunities. She never places people in the booth and brings along a lightness that creates a great atmosphere and security in the process of working with people .

Kristine Moe Sirnes

Marketing & Communication

Kristine has been working with marketing and communication in large corporates for more than 25 years. The last 5 years as a Marketing Manager for Corporates at DNB Rogaland/Agder. She has been deeply involved in the transformation DNB has been through recent years, and in pursuing their aim to become the best bank for startups and entrepreneurs. Perhaps she loved being part of the startup communities so much that it turned out to be the reason for her resignation? She started her own company in 2018 and now works as a partner at Innovation Lab, helping businesses stay relevant. Her force of nature is to help people and businesses continuously find better solutions, and to help startups in any way possible.

Tore Gjedebo

CEO at Styrbjørn AS

Karen-Elisabeth Ohm Heskja

Strategisk rådgiver partnerskap, Digitalisering og Forretningsutvikling, DNB

Karen-Elisabeth is driven by her passions, and her passions lies in innovation processes, stimulating the startup ecosystem and connecting people to create energy and impact.

Previous positions: Manager Corporate Innovation, Statoil, Labout Relations Manager, CHC, Country Manager Mexico and Cuba, Gateway Collegue as well as various roles in the UN, the Norwegian Refugee Council etc. in North Korea, Colombia, Venezuela, Israel/Palestine, Guatemala.

She is initiator and partner in several innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives in the Stavanger area, as Stavanger Startup Weekend and TEDxStavanger.

Tatiana Iakovleva

Professor of Entrepreneurship in Stavanger Business School, Stavanger Center for Innovation Research, University of Stavanger, Norway.

She received her Ph.D. in Management from Bode Graduate School of Business, Norway (2007), with focus on Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Her Master of Science in Business is from Norway (Bodø) and from Russia (St. Petersburg)

Dr. Iakovleva’s research interests include personal and organisational antecedents leading to innovation and superior entrepreneurial performance on enterprise and regional level, female entrepreneurship, responsible innovation, as well as factors affecting entrepreneurial intentions. She has over 35 publications in International Journals. She is currently leading an international research project on responsible innovation across 6 countries funded by Norwegian Research Council.

Magnus Jepson

Co-Founder of WooThemes & WooCommerce, Advisor at Automattic, Investor with Sprettert

WooThemes was launched by three entrepreneurs from three different countries in 2008 and grew to 55 employees from 16 different countries before it was purchased by Automattic in 2015. WooCommerce has become the most widely used online store system, with over 28% market share, and Automattic has Over 500 employees who work only from home. How has it been to build an international company with so many employees who do not have an office space?


Magnus Jepson is co-founder of WooThemes, due to WooCommerce, one of the fastest growing open source e-commerce websites in the world, purchased by Automattic in 2015. Magnus is currently working as a consultant at Automattic, the company behind, and as an angel investor with Sprettert.


Henrik Jesman Sunde and Simen Ytre-Arne

Founders of Zoaring

Henrik Jesman Sunde and Simen Ytre-Arne are entrepreneurs behind the company Zoaring AS. The company creates innovative videos for businesses that show the core of a product or service based on video scrambling; filming of drawings. Henrik is a graduated pilot and Simen has music education with jazz as a specialty. In the fall of 2011 they were on a tour of Europe, and during a cafe visit in Sardinia they were seated and drew up thoughts and ideas on some napkins. This led to the business idea of making dissemination videos that just took shape for short-circuiting messages. Since both had just been students and used to long, inefficient and traditional learning processes, they saw the need to shorten learning processes in short, precise and fun movies.


Krister Mangersnes

Pttent Attorney at Homsø

Head of Patent Department. European Patent Attorney (EQE). Ph.D Solar Cell Technology and M.Sc. Material Science. Previously Researcher at Department of Solar Energy at Institute for Energy Technology (IFE).

Technical fields: renewable energy, nanotechnology, semiconductors, mechanical engineering and oil & gas technology.

Stein Aamot

Partner & Patent Attorney at Zacco

Stein has more than 20 years of international industry experience in the field of development of encryption technology, communication products, control systems and business development prior to joining Zacco in March 2009 as an IP Consultant.

Steins experience encompasses 10 years as CEO of startup R&D companies Sospita (1997-2000) and High Density Devices (Founder 1998, CEO 2001-2008) working with encryption products in the data security field, and including close cooperation with US DoD, Norwegian defence department and other NATO countries security agencies.


15.03: ITSA Day 1: 09.00-13.00:Kikk off, Pitch & Selection day for new ITSA Companies

22.03: ITSA Day 2: 08.30 - 15.10

23.03: Mentor day with Sean Paul Shanor

05.04: ITSA Day 3: 08.30 - 15.10

12.04: ITSA Day 4: 08:30 - 15.10

13.04: Mentor day with Sean Paul Shanor

19.04: ITSA Day 5: 08.30 - 15.10

26.04: ITSA Day 6: 08.30 - 15.10

03.05: ITSA Day 7: 08.30 - 15.10

09.05: ITSA Day 8: 08.30 - 15.10

15.05: ITSA Day 9: 08.30 - 13.20

22.05: ITSA Day 10: 09.00-14.00 - DNB Investor Day

24.05: ITSA Day 11: 08.30 - 15.10

25.05: Mentor Day with Sean Paul Shanor

29.05: Pitch Training Day 09.00 - 12.00

31.05: ITSA Day 12 - Open Demo & Competition Day with Partner & Company dinner


More info. TBA


Changes may happen




  • The main objective is simply to give startups access to the resources necessary to develop faster.


  • Give insight and acceleration in business development and Lean management


  • Urge startups to work to verify one or more MVPs to find a market fit as fast as possible


  • Development of one or more business models


  • Development of an Investor presentation


  • Give valuable Pitch training & feedback


  • Development of network to external partners, customers, co-participants and investors


  • ITSA is a general business accelerator program and we expect participating companies to transform insights and learnings to develop and accelerate the companies specific concept, MVP, marked and business model.




The program will have 12 full day gatherings for startups and partners. The full day gatherings will consist of company pitch with feedback, lectures on Business development, Lean Startup, MVP, marketing, legal matters, racing capital, sharing from entrepreneurs, mingling with partners and breakfast & lunch.



The Pitch sessions for the participating companies will be based on weekly tasks, and the goal of the pitch sessions is to accelerate business development for each participating company and develop a Investor presentation during the program.



The last full day Gathering is the Open Demo Day & Pitch day Competition. The best ITSA company will get an invitation to the Validé Incubator program and a offer of a 500 000 NOK investment from Validé.




  • One of the ITSA companies will be offered a place in the Validé Incubator and a 500 000 NOK investment from Validé. The company and will also be a candidate for the Validé Investment Fund and a 2 mill NOK minimum investment


  • This company will be picked out on the Open Pitch Day & Competition, by a jury


  • The ITSA program will consist of 12 full day gatherings (09:00-15:00) including one company pitch and selection days and one open pitch and competition day. This also includes 22 lectures & workshops on business development & sharings from experienced founders


  • Each ITSA company will get a business advisor from Validé and will get a one-to-one meeting each week during the program


  • The ITSA program has a fee of 20 000 NOK pr. company


  • Free Workspace for participants in the Innovation Park during the program


  • We offer breakfast, lunch and the possibility to mingle & meet with our network including investors

  • The ITSA Companies that are not present incubator companies, will be possible candidates for the Validé Incubator at the end of the ITSA program


  • Student companies can apply to the Plogen program for additional support. For more information and qualification criteria please visit: Before applying please take contact with the program manager.


ABOUT ITSA: ITSA aims to make an impact on the startup community in Norway. The accelerator is powered by Validé; Technology Transfer Office, Business Incubator, Accelerator & early stage investments. The Accelerator program builds on many years of experience with developing startups on the West coast of Norway. We aim to be a vibrant hub for startups, entrepreneurs, founders, mentors, investors and students. ITSA runs two accelerator programs a year bringing together new companies, mentors, investors, industrial partners and founders for weekly gatherings and sharing of knowledge, feedback, pitch sessions, network, pains and relieves. We collaborate with other startup hubs and communities in Stavanger and in Norway because we think sharing is caring and we want to strengthen the important community of creating new possibilities and new growth.


Contact the accelerator if you want to contribute with anything:


- you can also check out the ITSA team.

Business adress:

Validé AS

Måltidets Hus


Richard Johnsensgate 4

4021 Stavanger



T: +47 51 87 59 00

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