Interview with Erik Fossum Færevaag
“Make time to explore your industry and keep growing and expanding your knowledge. Read books, talk to people and learn!” – Erik Fossum Færevaag
Today we feature Erik Fossum Færevaag, the founder at Disruptive Technologies. We hear their story in their own words, their successes, their challenges, and their insights.
Can you please tell us a little bit about you and what you do?
I am the Founder, CFO, and Chief Strategy Officer of Disruptive Technologies, the developer of the world’s smallest industrial-grade wireless sensors for use within the IoT market.
Can you please tell us in your own words how did you start?
A born nerd, I was always attracted to tech, electronics, and physics. From a very early age, I plagued my parents with questions about how things worked – television, computers, phones. How was any of it possible? And it’s a curiosity that I carry with me still. Because, when you think about it, technology is pretty amazing!
After studying microelectronics and computer science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, I continued my studies at Southampton University in the UK, before starting work for several successful deep tech companies.
I started out building microchips. I had a number of successes in the semiconductor industry – I joined a team designing the world’s lowest power microcontroller EFR32, and the world’s fastest-growing ISM band radio Ics. But the IoT interested me from the time I first became aware of it, and the challenges intrigued me. It felt like something that I could become involved with, so I changed tack and Disruptive Technologies was created.
Thank you for that insight. So can you tell us…What does your business do?
Disruptive Technologies are creators of the world’s smallest sensors, making IoT simple.
Our smart sensors, which can be used to collect data from almost anywhere, are both wireless and the smallest ever to be created – to date, at any rate! But despite their size, they also have a battery lifetime of up to 15 years, and the technology to fully encrypt any data collected. They answer some of the biggest hurdles that have prevented the widespread adoption of the Internet of Things. It’s basically simplifying a complicated process, enhancing its functionality, and making it accessible to the masses.
And that’s really the aim of everything we do at Disruptive Technologies. Finding ways to fulfil the promise of the IoT. Only more efficiently.
What’s the story behind your success? What led to your aha moment? how did you get to where you are now?
I think, if you are going to succeed at something, you need to be good at it… Which might sound a bit pretentious or self-satisfied. But although I’m extremely focused on what I’m doing and always focus on one thing at a time, really investing in individual projects, without that integral interest and drive, you’re never going to be really happy, even if you’re achieving success.
And that’s kind of my ‘Aha moment’. I realised early that I wanted to learn electronics, to understand how the world works. And that I should continue to work for a company where I could continue to learn, to understand that industry beyond the basics so that I had the foundations to go out and do something for myself.
That was the plan from when I started uni; let’s try to understand microelectronics. Work really hard. And when you think you understand everything there is to know, go out and work for yourself.
Thank you for sharing that. What’s been your life’s biggest lesson so far?
Naivety has probably been my greatest challenge. Like a lot of people, I entered business thinking that the idea was everything, and everything else would fall into place afterwards. But everything from the manufacturing process to operating the telecoms takes time, experience and understanding.
Taking a product to market is a lot more complicated than I ever would have imagined before I started out. And when you’re doing something new, there’s no guide.
You can’t look at other companies and see how they do it, you can’t sell the same way, you can’t use the same channels, the end customers aren’t the same and the messaging is different. You have to work it all out for yourself. And I wasn’t expecting that.
You can’t look at other companies and see how they do it, you can’t sell the same way, you can’t use the same channels, the end customers aren’t the same and the messaging is different. You have to work it all out for yourself.
If you were to go back in time, what piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
I’m probably lucky in that I don’t have any regrets about becoming an entrepreneur. I think the path I took was a good one for me. Starting at smaller businesses, gaining the knowledge and experience I needed before starting my own business gave me the foundation I needed to grow. So, if I was advising my younger self, the instruction I would give would be to follow your intuition and to work hard.
When you start out working in a small company run by somebody else, you gain a foundation of knowledge from someone who has already been there. You can speak to everyone, and take on knowledge as you grow. That was extremely valuable to me.
It isn’t the fastest route and maybe not the easiest, but I would definitely recommend this path to entrepreneurialism.
We’re nearly halfway through our interview so it’s a great time to ask how does your business run. What three tools make your business run better?
We use a lot of tools and apps at Disruptive Technologies, especially for collaboration since the pandemic hit. But there are three that I really wouldn’t do without.
1. – Google Drive. Most people are probably already familiar with GDrive, but that’s because the functionality is great. Cloud never used to be the norm, but Gdrive has helped to make it so now. It builds connectivity and collaboration and basically makes life a whole lot easier. What’s not to like?
2.- Superhuman. I love Google for so many reasons, but I have reservations when it comes to Gmail. It is not the easiest to use. Whereas Superhuman has saved me hours for effort. It’s beautifully designed. The team behind it obviously understands the problem of email overload, and their design solves it.
3. – Workflowy. If you’re looking for project collaboration made simple, Workflowy is it. It helps with organisation and allows you to fully visualise projects as they evolve. It’s a platform employed by the whole Disruptive Technologies team. I don’t think that we could do without it.
What do you know now that you wished you had known before?
I would say everything! Even though I planned and set aside everything I thought I needed to start, founding a successful business still takes more than you expect. It’s harder than you think, costs more than you think.
I don’t think that I’m alone in being too naive about the operational expertise you need. There’s always departments that you need to dig deeper into than you think – such as planning your go to market strategy. There are segments within segments to investigate and resolve.
There are endless complexities to running a business… But that kind of makes naivety a good thing. Because if we truly understood what was involved, few people would ever start.
What has been your greatest or proudest achievement or moment?
Releasing our product to market in February 2019 will always be a difficult achievement to beat. Having spent 5 years developing and industrialising, it was a proud moment for everyone at the company. A huge achievement.
What future life goals do you want to achieve and why?
For the business, we have big plans. Initially, we want to expand to new countries and eventually enable a world of miniaturised sensors.
But for the longer term, we want to be able to look back in 20 years and see that our stamp-sized sensors are making the world more autonomous. Not just enhancing productivity but making working and living conditions more comfortable, improving sustainability and efficiency, and making life easier and safer. That would be a great achievement.
To finish our inspire questions…”We believe that sharing inspiring words can inspire others.” If there was one positive thing you would say to someone to inspire and empower them what would it be and why?
All advice is really dependent on what you’re interested in and good at. But my general advice would be to make time to explore your industry and keep growing and expanding your knowledge. Read books, talk to people and learn!
Many startups just execute but it’s always good to have input from other people. You’ll still make mistakes, but hopefully not as many of them.
“Thank you it has been great learning more about your founder story and Disruptive Technologies”
To learn more about Disruptive Technologies. Visit
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