Norwegian entrepreneurs move to Denmark to accelerate robot startup: We want to protect NATO soldiers
Their dream is to protect NATO soldiers, so they return home safely to their families. It all started in Norway, but now the dream is coming to life in Denmark. Two Norwegian entrepreneurs and former soldiers have moved to Denmark after being selected by Odense Robotics StartUp Fund for a place in the Technological Institute’s sought-after robot incubator. Here they will develop their robot, which helps special forces, soldiers and police hit target in battle.
“The robot can make a huge difference to soldiers and police forces throughout the NATO community. It is already used today by the Danish and Norwegian armed forces to make shooting training more realistic and equip the forces for real threat situations. It’s about soldiers and policemen’s own survival and their ability to protect their colleagues or citizens,” says Kenneth Skorpen, founder and CEO of BlinkTroll Robotics.
Shooting training is essential for special forces, soldiers and policemen, but targets are usually static. As a result, soldiers often first learn to shoot at moving targets in a real combat situation – and this is precisely the problem that the entrepreneurs behind the Norwegian startup BlinkTroll Robotics want to solve.
They have designed a flexible system where shooting target discs are attached to a robot, which is attached to a rope or cable and operated via a tablet. Unlike other solutions on the market today, BlinkTroll Moving Target System can be easily set up and taken down without major investment in infrastructure. It makes perfect sense, says Skorpen, who has 10+ years of experience from the Norwegian armed foces and special forces, where his work included being stationed in Afghanistan.
“The idea came when I was in the Armed Forces and went through shooting training with static targets. It was simply too far from the real world, where pretty much every threat you face is in motion. So I started building BlinkTroll as a hobby project in my garage. I want to give soldiers, police officers and security forces the best tools to survive, so that they can return home safely to their families,” says the 48-year-old entrepreneur.
Protecting NATO soldiers and policemen
The product has already been sold in several European countries, including special units in the Danish, German and Norwegian armed forces. In addition, the robot has been sold to the police in Belgium and Norway, including in their hometown of Bergen, where all police aspirants go through training with BlinkTroll’s robot. Today, up to 1,000 soldiers and policemen have already trained with the BlinkTroll Moving Target System.
The market is huge, according to BlinkTroll Robotics, who will focus exclusively on NATO’s needs.
“In NATO, there are more than three million soldiers or policemen who have been asked to bear arms to ensure our internal and external security. Our goal at BlinkTroll is to give each and every one of them the training tools they deserve so that they can their job as well, efficiently and safely as possible,” says Skorpen, who last year brought Øystein Hatlestad Hovland to the team as COO.
Scaling up with help from the startup fund
Now the entrepreneurs want to take the company to the next level. BlinkTroll Robotics would like to increase sales to NATO countries in Europe, expand their product range and within a short time enter the American market. They have just been accepted by the Odense Robotics StartUp Fund, which gives robot and drone startups from Denmark and abroad access to soft funding and a dedicated incubator environment at the Danish Technological Institute in Odense. The fund matches startups with leading mentors from the robotics industry, as well as coaches from Odense Robotics and Danish Technological Institute.
In short, Odense Robotics StartUp Fund provides robot and drone startups access to a wealth of expertise and contacts in Denmark’s respected robotics ecosystem.
“Hardware tech is not particularly trendy in Norway, and there is not a large entrepreneurial environment. That is why we are moving to Odense to be part of the Odense Robotics StartUp Fund and the incubation environment at the Danish Technological Institute. Here we can get help from some of the best in the Danish robotics industry to further develop our product and product range, scale internationally and tap into the large robot network here in Denmark. We can hardly wait to get started,” says Skorpen and smiles.
About Kenneth Skorpen
- 48 years old from Bergen, Norway
- Founder and CEO of BlinkTroll Robotics and the developer behind the BlinkTroll Moving Target System, a robot designed to improve shooting training for the armed forces and police.
- 10+ years in the Norwegian armed forces, in the special forces as well as various technical positions.
- Former engineer in the Norwegian oil industry, where he has developed robots for use in oil wells.
- Product designer in his own consulting company, where he has designed a number of products based on his personal passion for hunting
- Read more at blinktroll.com.