Gloucester’s `Innovation House’ aims to book bold ideas in a tranquil setting

The Inn Magnolia is now the Innovation House, a meeting place for entrepreneurs.
The Inn Magnolia is now the Innovation House, a meeting place for entrepreneurs.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

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With its gilt-framed paintings, floral wallpaper, and delicately carved mantels, the Innovation House hardly looks the part of a modern high-tech hub. But that’s the future that software entrepreneur Jon von Tetzchner has planned for a renovated bed and breakfast in the Gloucester village of Magnolia.

The former inn will be part incubator, part retreat space. It will play host to revolving cast of young international and local companies that want to network and collaborate with others in the tech space, or get away from their home offices to recharge in a peaceful rural setting. The space, formerly the Inn Magnolia, made its official debut with an open house reception last weekend.

The project is based on the Innovation House that von Tetzchner—co-founder of Norway-based Opera Software—opened in his native Iceland last year with the goal of boosting the country’s economy, which was particularly hard hit by the global financial crisis.

“He wanted to help give back something he felt he owed,” said Anne Stavnes, head of human resources and culture for the two innovation houses.

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