Erik Dyrkoren

“The prior work done by NTNU has been extremely important. It gives so many advantages, because you start from a quite high level of maturity.”

Erik Dyrkoren

CEO, Zeabuz AS

Previous postition:
CEO, Blueye Robotics AS

Dyrkoren, co – founder and CEO of NTNU spin-off Zeabuz, is a serial entrepreneur with passion for the ocean and making impact through introducing new technology and inventions into the market.

Dyrkoren has experience from managing space logistics at the European Space Agency and as a field engineer for multinational giant Schlumberger. He has during the last decade devoted most of his time to the ocean innovation doing research at MARINTEK and managing business clusters. More lately Dyrkoren was a co-founder and CEO of the NTNU spin-off Blueye Robotics

A word with Erik

First of all, what is Zeabuz and what challenge do you address?
Zeabuz is a NTNU spin-off company that develop and sell technology for self-driving, small, urban ferries. Our key uniqueness is autonomy as a service, enabling these ferries to operate in urban areas in a safe and cost-efficient way.

A worldwide problem is the exceptional population growth in the cities. This causes major problems regarding logistics, emissions, and mobility. Building more roads for cars is not the solution and utilizing the existing waterways has a large potential.

We want to reestablish the water ways as an important part of the mobility infrastructure in modern cities using autonomy and self-driving ferries that are emission free, available 24/7 to the citizens and has no personnel cost.

What made you jump into a startup after working in several large organizations in attractive positions?
I wanted to explore the exiting journey of being an entrepreneur. Even if it is extremely complex and challenging, it also gives you a lot of freedom and influence. This freedom releases a lot of energy and enthusiasm that appeals to me in the day-to-day life as an entrepreneur. To engage great people towards some big hairy goals and work together to reach them, is what gets you up in the morning. Starting this second journey feels good, and enables me to be more confident, focused and achieve more, quicker and with less stress.

Why NTNU and NTNU Technology Transfer?
The initial work done in the project by NTNU and NTNU Technology Transfer, was essential in my decision to accept this challenge. They provide a unique platform to start off from, with qualified technology, IP access, an initial team, collaboration with NTNU and financing. On top of this you get the NTNU brand with all its credibility that really gives a kick-start for the spin-off. This professional setup from NTNU makes things more predictable and attractive as an experienced entrepreneur.

Why would you recommend to others to become an NTNU Entrepreneur in Residence?
Being an entrepreneur in a deeptech startup involves a lot of risk and uncertainty and is definitely not for everyone. My mantra has always been inspired by Richard Bransons famous saying: “Screw it, let’s do it!” Just take the leap and make sure to learn and have fun on the way. If you fail, you can always try again with a little more experience and insight.

Any key experiences from your previous jobs you want to share?
High productivity does not necessarily come from working 24/7 and being involved in every detail of the operations in a startup. As a CEO my most significant role is to have the overview, be focused, recruit the best talent, and make the right decisions. Several years of work experiences in different industries including both space, oil and gas and the maritime industry gives me a unique ability to handle uncertainty and navigate stormy waters. Combining this with young talents that challenge the established truth makes a team immensely powerful. Money is not my main motivation, but money can give you flexibility and the ability to do things and realize dreams.

What is your passion?
To innovate within areas that matter and drive processes forward together with talented and skilled people.

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