Alumni portrait - Magnus Arveng - NTNU Alumni
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Breaking new ground as an entrepreneur
Position: Co-founder & CEO Ntention
Education: Master of Science Industrial Economics and Technology Management
Magnus Arveng started the company Ntention already the first year as a student at NTNU and has hit the wall both once and twice. But now NASA partners sees the potential in using technology from Ntention in the next generation of spacecraft.
When Magnus Arveng started his engineering degree in Industrial Economics and Technology Management in 2015, he didn’t want to miss out on anything that student life had to offer.
- I was going to live the good life as a student in Trondheim and threw myself into just about everything. I was involved in all kinds of activities during the sponsorship weeks and took on seven different volunteering roles. Then I hit the wall before Christmas, I had not understood that being at university required much more effort than high school, says Arveng.
After Christmas, he stepped down from five of the roles. He kept the one in Start NTNU where he also became leader of the project “Gründerjakten” in 2016. Start NTNU works to promote innovation among students, and inspired Arveng to start his own company in 2016.
Hit the wall
Ntention and Arveng have just moved from Trondheim to Oslo and are in the process of setting up in a new office in Oslo. He is happy with how far the company has come today.
But it has come at a price, as along the way he has gained some hard-earned entrepreneurial experiences. He describes himself as a mediocre student and starting a business already the first year at university did have a negative impact on his grades.
- I have broken new ground. My recommendation to others who want to become entrepreneurs is to first join a startup to gain some experience and wait until the end of university to possibly start their own business. I started the first year, and it resulted in overwork and burnout - you won’t know where the wall is until you have hit it.
As if starting a business and working on a master's degree in Industrial Economics was not enough, he also started a two-year master's degree at NTNU's School of Entrepreneurship. He only needs to pass one subject and master's thesis to complete the degree.
Next generation spacesuit
The most important product they have developed is a sensor glove that makes it possible to translate hand movement data into machine commands. In 2019 they attracted the interest of NASA partners.
- The NASA Haughton Mars Project saw the potential of the glove being used in the next generation of space suits. We have researched it together and found that the glove will facilitate the work of astronauts in space. With small movements, the glove will comprehend what the astronaut wants to do, such as sending out a drone, steering a rover or opening a hatch.
In April, they will know whether their partners, Collins Aerospace, will win the tender in the USA in the competition for the next generation of space suits. He is incredibly excited to see the outcome.
- What motivates you?
- Oh, it is to create something new, something that in a way is bigger than yourself. This gives me a completely indescribable feeling that just must be experienced.
Granddad and Steve Jobs as role models
When asked about who his role models are, Arveng mentions two people. One is Steve Jobs, while the other is his grandfather whom they called Mokke. Steve Jobs because of everything he has created and achieved - his grandfather because he was always present.
- Mokke was always there and followed up. Whether it was at a football match or coming to the school to tell stories from World War II.
One of the most important things he has brought with him from NTNU is his network. All five full-time employees who work for Ntention are from NTNU. In addition, there are three part-time students from NTNU on the team that live in Trondheim.
- My grades are nothing to write home about, but this is not what will get me a job the day I may have to apply for one - it is the contacts you have established. Seven out of ten jobs are not even advertised, it's about knowing people.
8 a bit on the side
- What was your dream job when you were 10 years old?
- Engineer - I built a robot in 3rd grade at primary school.
- Your biggest mistake as a student?
- Believing that it is not possible to fail an exam if you make a little bit of effort. Exam in fluid mechanics proved me wrong.
What talent would you like to have?
- Being better at dancing on a stage.
Which 3 qualities do you value most in others?
- Honesty, positivity, committed people who care for others
This makes me happy
People who smile
I'm afraid of
To end up alone, even though I do not think it will happen
Favourite travel destination
Worldwide! Have a love for California where I lived for six months.
One or more legendary book tips
Science fiction: The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
Non-fiction: Greenlights, by Matthew McConaughey
Text: Lisbet Jære