Norway's tech scene is an interesting place right now, as the country begins to contemplate a life after oil. With 500 Startups setting up shop, and several high profile (and high value) Norwegian exits in recent months, the attention on Norway is gradually increasing. However, did this increased attention translate into investments for Norwegian startups? In this analysis, we will check the pulse of the Norwegian investment scene, and analyse what 2016 may bring.
In 2015, we tracked 30 investments into Norwegian tech startups, totalling $85.4 million
The momentum we hinted at in the introduction becomes visible when we break down the 30 investments into when they occurred, with each quarter of the year seeing more and more as it went on.
83.56% of the total $85.4 million was raised by just ten companies, which demonstrates that despite the increased number of investments, it was still a small group of Norwegian startups that saw the bulk of the money that was invested into the country's startups in 2015.
Rather promisingly, 1 in 5 investments was made at Series A and beyond, meaning that we are beginning to see Norwegian startups kick-on, and setting themselves up for the potential of raising the larger later-rounds. 4 in 5 investments were seed or below, although noticeably, only 2 were pre-seed, however, with 500 Startups arrival on the scene, we can expect that to dramatically change in 2016.
Interestingly, despite fewer investments than the other Nordic countries (bar Iceland) Norwegian startups had no trouble raising healthy rounds when they did raise money. The medians for both seed and Series A were considerably higher than the medians for the region ($1.04 million and $5 million respectively).
The areas that the investments went into were incredibly diverse, with only three verticals seeing two or more investments into it. This is interesting, as perhaps other than edtech, there doesn't appear to be a particular standout vertical, which gives Norway more freedom as to what it creates, as often when a pre-existing hub exists within a certain vertical, talent just gets sucked straight into it. It will be interesting to watch whether edtech becomes even more prevalent or whether another vertical will also start seeing more momentum than others.
Investments increased from 9 in 2014 to 30 in 2015, representing a massive 233% increase year on year.
As you'd imagine then, the amount of capital also significantly increased, 246.30% from $24.66 million in 2014 to $85.4 million in 2015.
Although Norway is of course starting from a very low base number, the increase year-on-year in terms of the number of investments is the fastest growing in the region. The challenge now is to maintain that growth rate. Despite, the promising signs, the fact remains, Norway received the lowest amount of capital in the region by quite some distance, Finland were 4th with $197.52 million, more than double Norway's total.
However, the signs are there that 2016 will be a big year for Norway, with several investments announced already this January and if we project using the spectacular growth rate of 2015 then this year would see 100 Norwegian startups get investment totalling just shy of $300 million. In reality, that rate won't be maintained, but I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that it's possible for Norwegian startups to raise around $200 million in VC this year, an amount more befitting of the potential, talent and money that exists there, as the country continues to cotton on to the fact that producing tech is as much as a part of its future as oil was to its past.
Now read: The 2015 Nordic Funding Analysis
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