Grundr Academy

The Factory is Oslo’s premier start up hub that provides a foundation for early-stage Scandinavian entrepreneurs to grow their companies, helping them turn ideas into businesses, build a compelling brand, market-test their products, and create a business that is ready to be presented to investors through our accelerator programs.


Grundr Academy is one of those programs, and it is a specifically curated digital offering designed to take your start up from idea to investor-ready.

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Grundr is a series of videos designed to bring your start up from idea stage to investor ready. We go over branding, marketing, MVP's and go-to-market strategy, pitching effectively, financial essentials for any start up, how to valuate your company and get investors, and finally we review the start up ecosystem so you know where you fit in to the community at large.

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Course Descriptions

What is included in each module of the course?

Robert D.B. Leinders-Krog & Haley Zerwas

Robert Leinders-Krog is a founding partner of XY01 and its CEO. With his international background and passion for great branding, he is one of the leading strategic brand consultants in the Nordics. Speaking four European languages fluently, and having worked in most European countries, he is truly an international advisor, transformation facilitator and keynote speaker.

Haley Zerwas is a brand management and strategy specialist at XY01. She is an American national with extensive marketing and communication experience in global industrial technology companies working primarily in the oil and gas, energy and maritime industries.


Topics covered:

  • The importance of vision and company culture
  • Branding for startups vs. corporates
  • Brand management
  • Driving growth with branding
  • Testing on branding




Value proposition - an innovation, service, or feature intended to make a company or product attractive to customers

Core narrative - an impactful story, and a strategic way of telling it

Positioning – a marketing strategy that aims to make a brand occupy a distinct position, relative to competing brands, in the mind of the customer

Customer journey – the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand.

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Sean Percival

American entrepreneur, investor and author originally from California. He has invested in over 120 startups and founded several of his own. Through his work in acclaimed accelerator programs like 500 Startups and the Katapult Accelerator, Sean has helped to mentor 1000s of startups on growth marketing and fundraising.


Topics covered:

  • Go to market strategies
  • Marketing on low budget
  • Email as a tool for go to market
  • Hiring for marketing positions
  • Partnership as a growth strategy



Multichannel marketing - blending of different distribution and promotional channels

FOMO - fear of missing out

Conversion - customers who have completed a transaction

‘Jobs to be done’ framework – what is the job people are hiring the product to do

Landing page – lightweight mini website focused on single action – 

AB testing - randomized experiment with two variants, A and B

AdWords – Google's advertising system in which advertisers bid on certain keywords in order for their clickable ads to appear in Google's search results

Negative keywords – let you exclude search terms from your campaigns and help you focus on only the keywords that matter to your customers

Anders Haugeto

Coming from IT consulting backround, Anders is a co-founder of Iterate, developing digital products as well as helping startups develop their own.


Topics covered:

  • Minimum viable product (MVP)
  • Product testing 
  • Lean Canvas
  • Gaining sales traction from product testing
  • Vision/Founders fit



User journey – series of steps (typically 4-12) which represent a scenario in which a user might interact with the thing you are designing

MVP – minimum viable product: a bare minimum you can do to prove that your idea is viable for users

Mashups – using existing systems and tools to learn about customer needs

Prototype – early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from

Problem interview –  a structured conversation with a potential customer with the aim of testing if the need behind the idea is real

Early adopters – who starts using a product or technology as soon as it becomes available

Value proposition - innovation, service, or feature intended to make a company or product attractive to customers

Product market fit – being in a good market with a product that can satisfy the market

Cristobal Alonso 

Experienced serial entrepreneur and global executive who leads Startup Wise Guys, the leading B2B accelerator in Europe, with more than 120 investments in early stage SaaS B2B companies and a portfolio value of more than 4x.


Topics covered:

  • Pitching for investors
  • Elevator pitch
  • 3 minute pitch with slides
  • 10 steps to an engaging pitch

Sarah Lerche

President of CFO services at Palo Alto, New York and Oslo based company Escalon Services providing interim financial services to early stage companies.


Topics covered:

  • Budget vs. forecast
  • Sales metrics
  • Company road map
  • Financial model



Business forecast – an estimate or prediction of future developments in business such as sales, expenditures, and profits. 

Rolling forecast – a management tool that enables organizations to continuously plan over a set time horizon.

Actuals – documented historical results

Forecast – predicting your business activity for the future


P&L – profit and loss 

Balance sheet – a statement of the assets, liabilities, and capital of a business or other organization at a particular point in time, detailing the balance of income and expenditure over the preceding period

Burn rate – the rate at which a new company spends its initial capital

Unit economics – direct revenues and costs associated with a particular business model expressed on a per unit basis

SaaS – software as a service

Freemium model – a business model that offers both free and premium services. The freemium business model works by offering simple and basic services for free for the user to try and more advanced or additional features at a premium

Conversion rate – the number of conversions divided by the total number of visitors

Churn – measure of the number of individuals or items moving out of a collective group over a specific period

Upsell – practice of encouraging customers to purchase a comparable higher-end product than the one in question

Payment terms – indicate when payments should be made and how

Cashflow – net amount of cash and cash-equivalents being transferred into and out of a business

Sales cycle – process that a company undertakes when selling a product or service to a customer - a series of steps that leads up to a sale

Onboarding – the action or process of familiarizing a new customer or client with products or services

COGS – cost of goods sold

Beta customers – early customers

GA – general availability

Bookings - won, signed, or committed sales

Revenue – income that a business have from its normal business activities, usually from the sale of goods and services to customers

Gross margin – company's net sales revenue minus its cost of goods sold

Net income – entity's income minus cost of goods sold, expenses and taxes for an accounting period

Net burn –  a metric that measures how quickly a startup is using up its venture capital, taking into consideration the revenue the business is generating

IFRS – International Financial Reporting Standards

G&A – General and Administrative Expenses

CAC – customer acquisition cost

MRR/ARR - monthly/annual recurring revenue

Matthew Smith

Founder and presenter at, the leading Mobile Media Brand for short-format episodic content on the Innovation Industry. Former venture capitalist, and a current angel investor. Matthew was listed as one of the 100 most influential and impactful people in the Nordics in 2017.

Topics covered:

  • Valuation - how to determine the value of your business
  • How much equity are you willing to give away
  • Investment options: Convertible loan, option programs 
  • The right investor: who are you asking and why? 


Term sheet - nonbinding agreement setting forth the basic terms and conditions under which an investment will be made. A term sheet serves as a template to develop more detailed legal documents


Equity - A stock or any other security representing an ownership interest

VC - Venture capital (VC) is a type of private equity, a form of financing that is provided by firms or funds to small, early-stage, emerging firms that are deemed to have high growth potential, or which have demonstrated high growth

Equity round - non-public offering of equity securities by a company

Exit – liquidity event – selling the company

IPO – initial public offering - The process of offering shares in a private corporation to the public for the first time - listing on a stock exchange

MVP – minimum viable product

Traction - progress of a start-up company and the momentum it gains as the business grows. customer response and revenue are indicators

Seed round - Seed money, sometimes known as seed funding or seed capital, is a form of securities offering in which an investor invests capital in a startup company in exchange for an equity stake in the company.

Angel round - (also known as a business angel, informal investor, angel funder, private investor, or seed investor) is an affluent individual who provides capital for a business start-up, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity.

Smart money - capital that is being controlled by institutional investors, market mavens and other financial professionals. The smart money in the market is perceived as being invested by people who have a better understanding of the market or access to information channels that a regular investor can't easily access. 

CAGR – compounded annual growth rate - the rate of return that would be required for an investment to grow from its beginning balance to its ending balance, assuming the profits were reinvested at the end of each year of the investment’s lifespan.

ONS – Office for national statistics – what markets are hot

FOMO – fear of missing out

Bootstrapping - a situation in which an entrepreneur starts a company with little capital. An individual is said to be bootstrapping when he or she attempts to found and build a company from personal finances or from the operating revenues of the new company.

LOI – letter of intent

SLA – service level agreement

Pre-money valuation – value of the business before the money comes in

Post-money valuation - value of the business after the investment, important because it serves as a basis for calculation of the percentage you’re giving away in exchange for the investment

J-curve - a phenomenon in which a period of unfavourable returns is followed by a period of gradual recovery that rises to a higher point than the starting point. The phenomenon applies in a variety of fields such as private equity funds, economics, medicine and political science.

Innovation Norway - Norwegian Government's most important instrument for innovation and development of Norwegian enterprises and industry. It supports companies in developing their competitive advantage and to enhance innovation.

Horizon 2020 - Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020)

Series A - company's first significant round of venture capital financing.

ESOP – employee stock ownership plan - employee-owner program that provides a company's workforce with an ownership interest in the company.

Convertible loan – loan that converts to stock - type of bond that the holder can convert into a specified number of shares of common stock in the issuing company or cash of equal value.

Jørn Haanæs

Startup Director for Oslo Business Region, the city’s platform for strengthening entrepreneurship. 

Jørn comes from the startup world, having served as CEO of the music tech company Soundrop (exit to X5 and CD Baby). Prior to Soundrop, he was the Marketing Director at Warner Music in Norway. 

Topics covered:
  • Norwegian startup ecosystem
  • Key players (institutions, companies, private figures)
  • Startup/corporate collaboration
  • Norwegian investor landscape
Corporate collaboration - collaboration between a startup and a big established company
Rules of engagement - principles guiding the collaboration between a startup and a corporate
Innovation Norway - Norwegian Government's most important instrument for innovation and development of Norwegian enterprises and industry supporting companies in developing their competitive advantage and enhancing innovation.
Skattefunn - tax deduction scheme for research and development efforts in the business sector.
Altinn - internet portal for digital dialogue between businesses, private individuals and public agencies. Altinn for startups:
Bootstrapping - starting a business without external help or capital
Proof of concept - a small exercise to test the design idea or assumption. The main purpose of developing a POC is to demonstrate the functionality and to verify a certain concept or theory that can be achieved in development.

Once you've finished our course and completed an assessment, we offer a certificate for you to display on your resume, LinkedIn, and, social media.

Grundr Academy course contributors

Learn from industry leaders, experts, investors, and mentors, ready to share their knowledge with you in this highly curated digital course designed to take your start up from idea-stage or MVP stage to investor-ready.

DLA Piper

Camilla Wollan

Partner at global legal firm DLA Piper

Camilla Wollan has broad experience and expertise in the various aspects of Norwegian capital market legislation. She works with advisory services related to framework law and regulatory issues for investment firms, UCITS and non-UCITS (AIFMD), payment companies, credit institutions and exchange companies. 

Oslo Business Region

Jørn Haanæs

Startup Director for Oslo Business Region, the city’s platform for strengthening entrepreneurship.

Jørn talks about how to navigate the Norwegian startup ecosystem, how startups can collaborate with corporates, how to approach investors, and much more!

The Lunicorn

Matthew Smith

Angel investor and former venture capitalist listed as one of the 100 most influential and impactful people in the Nordics in 2017. Founder and presenter at

Matthew talks about company valuation, investment options, smart money and investor-related topics.


Robert D.B. Leinders-Krog

Haley Zerwas

Robert is a founding partner of XY01 and its CEO. Haley is a brand management and strategy specialist at XY01.  

Together they cover the importance of vision and team culture for building a brand that sells.

Escalon Services

Sarah Lerche

President and CFO with 25 years of experience in the financial industry.

Sarah talks about setting up your business model and financial model as a tool to plan resources in the near term and highlight risk areas.


Anders Haugeto 

Anders is a co-founder of Iterate, developing digital products as well as helping startups develop their own.

In the program Anders talks about go-to-market strategy and product testing.

Whereby, former CMO

Sean Percival

American entrepreneur, investor and author who has helped to mentor 1000s of startups on growth marketing and fundraising via accelerator programs like 500 Startups and the Katapult Accelerator.

Sean talks about growth hacking strategies.

Startup Wise Guys

Cristobal Alonso

Experienced serial entrepreneur and global executive who leads Startup Wise Guys, the leading B2B accelerator in Europe.

In the program Cristobal delivers a module on pitching.


The registration for spring cohort of 'From Ideation to Scalability' course is now closed.

Leave your email to be contacted for with details about the summer cohort!