Silje Vallestad
Founder of bSafe

Q: What inspires you?

A: People who think outside the box. If you want true leadership and true innovation, redefine your boxes.

To unlock real innovation, accept the possibility of failure

Since I was 14, my projects have continuously transformed from idea to reality – first within the idealistic sector, and later in business. I think my mission has always been the same: to make the world a better place. When I started my first tech company, I knew nothing about technology or business. But I knew what I wanted for my kids and myself, and with that in mind, I threw myself into deep water and learned to swim. I was a young mother of three and realized that kids are now very young when they gain access to mobile devices. So in 2010, we launched Bipper with Tele2 and Vivacom to give parents a parental control service. But the key idea in this product ended up being a safety alarm, which I later used in my next idea: a safety service for women. Today, bSafe is the most used personal safety app in the world. I thrive when I can improve the way things work and change the status quo for the better. In order to innovate, you need to accept the possibility of failure. Failing is hard, but it’s one of the most valuable lessons you can get!

Silje Vallestad, 37, is an award winning serial entrepreneur and idealist with decades of experience starting international organizations and companies, ranging from high profile conferences, to youth governments, to tech companies. World Economic Forum honored Silje as a Young Global Leader, and she was also named a top 20 business thinker in the Nordics. Silje lives in Bergen, Norway.

This article was published in ‘the Hundert Vol. 8 – Female Startup Founders Europe’, May 2016.