Yast’s story is one of perseverance, friendship, a much needed time tracking concept.
And yes, extreme geekiness.
Yast was launched in 2009 by five young Norwegians entrepreneurs.
It is based in a tiny Norwegian town named Sogndal, known for its great mountains and
intrepid snowboarders and skiers.
The five team members of Yast met at Norwegian University of Science and Technology
in the town of Trondheim in 2003. The team consists of Halvor Gregusson (CEO), Jørn
Sandvik Nilsson (CTO), Jørgen Borgesen, Håvard Halvorsen, and Øivind Loe. Their
background ranges from “security checks” (aka hacking), robot engineering, and
dynamic positioning to high speed naval navigation, leadership, project management to
Getting it going
Looking for the right project to work on together was the first step. Halvor having spent
some time in Boston at an Entrepreneurship program, co-developed a business plan
for a program resembling Google latitude. The team decided that even thought it was a
good project to put it aside for now, and instead to build a time tracker. The idea of the
time tracker came up when Håvard was working for the university and was requested to
to track his hours using the most inadequate tools. But in the teammates`mind, it was
to be a short-time project; its main purpose was to allow the team to get to know each
other professionally. After glowing feedback, they realized that the time tracker may just
be a winner.
With graduation approaching, the friends decided that working for a big oil corporation
was not what they were seeking. It was time to dedicate themselves to Yast and make a
go at it.
Then what happend?
After several positive responses by the blog community when launching a beta in November
2009, the team raised seed funding through Public funds (“free money”) from: “Innovation
Norway, Sparebanken Vest, Sogn og Fjordane fondet, Investors: Fjord invest
(http://fjordinvest.no), and local business angels from Sogndal.
Yast is still growing. It currently has 55 000 active users signed- up, and the team is still
working on new improvements.