Nordic Buy Out Forum News

Can the Nordic venture market deliver on its promise?

30 November 2018


Recent years have seen a revival of the Nordic venture scene with more than 3 billion euros raised by VC funds in the Nordic region over the last 5 years, according to Invest Europe data. In 2016, Swedish EQT Ventures launched the largest fund in the Nordics to date, amounting to €566 million and contributing to an exceptionally high fundraising number for the year. In the same five-year period, companies founded in the Nordics attracted a total of 2.7 billion euros in investments. Nearly one third of this was invested by foreign VCs, proving the increasing attractiveness of Nordic startups to international investors. Adding up to the strengthening internationalization of the region, Nordic VCs have invested a total of 600 million euros into startups based outside of the Nordic countries within the same period.

These numbers do call for some optimism. But can the Nordic venture market deliver on its promise?

In Norway, activity in the seed space is booming, with investments in Norwegian start-ups back at 2012 levels, reaching NOK 174 million invested last year. The Norwegian venture market, however, failed to exit the lull of recent years, with only NOK 544 million invested in Norwegian companies in the venture space last year. The number of investments, 47 in total, was the lowest in over 10 years.

Did we succeed in creating a startup hub, and then got stuck? Can Norway and the Nordics move on to add “scaleup region” to our name? And how optimistic are the VC players themselves about the future? And exactly what Nordic policies and areas for cooperation should we promote to secure we manage to build a world-class VC community supporting global companies with a strong Nordic foothold?

Join me at the Nordic Buy Out Forum on Dec 5 to hear more.

Rikke Eckhoff Høvding   

Five questions to Phillip Moehring


What is great about AngelList?

AngelList enables startups to find out more about investors they want to work with. It’s been very hard to find information about investors, their portfolio, and investment interest. AngelList is built to help entrepreneurs improve that part of their fundraising journey.

For investors, AngelList is the best place to fund great entrepreneurs – either by investing directly or through syndicates, where investors can co-invest with the world’s best angel investors.

What role, in your opinion, should public funding have when it comes to investing in start-ups?

Early stage startup funding is extremely risky and requires years of experience. There’s a sharp divide between startups “support funding” and startup equity financing with a return expectation. I think it’s great that a lot of governments are supporting entrepreneurs in their early days and hope this to continue. When it comes to return expectations, startup investing should be managed and selected by professionals from the sector. AngelList Syndicates are built with this in mind: a professional lead investor invests in a startup and gives others the opportunity to co invest alongside at the same terms.

In your opinion, what is the most exciting tech company at the moment?

That’s like asking “who’s your favourite child” – I am very excited by many of the founders who I’ve worked with. Many of them are now reaching breakout success, other founders have folded their businesses and are starting the next ones, which is great. Right now, I’m very interested in machine learning, autonomous vehicles, and professionally focused mobile applications.

You are used to working internationally. In your experience, which country or city has the most exciting and happening start-up environment?

Silicon Vally is of course the leading startup market, and no other place is coming close to that. In Europe, London leads with a head start, and my home town Berlin is a strong second with a lot of growth in activity, startups, and funds. Paris, Helsinki, and Stockholm are doing well, and many other European cities start to build strong activities as well. For now, I think the ones that are able to connect into the bigger hubs are with most opportunities – be it for local knowledge and specialization, affordable tech talent, or a great funding ecosystem.

And finally:

What are your expectations for next week’s visit to Norway and to Nordic Buy Out Forum?

I hope to meet the best and most active investors of the Nordics and of course Norway. I’m excited to learn more about the local eco system and to share the experience of AngelList and my investment activities.