Oslo Innovation Week celebrates its 10th year

Norway hosts Europe’s largest innovation convention

Photo: Gorm K. Gaare In venues all across the city, investors, startups, and industry professionals will discuss innovation.

Photo: Gorm K. Gaare
In venues all across the city, investors, startups, and industry professionals will discuss innovation.

Rasmus Falck
Oslo, Norway

Oslo Innovation Week is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. They say the Nordic startup scene is getting hot, and right now the heat is on in Norway. Innovation Norway is Europe’s largest innovation convention. The program includes over 60 events on startup, technology, and creativity. They range from keynote talks to pitching competitions to investor meetings. They are organized by different event partners and held all over the city.

One of my favorites is the Norwegian Investment Forum. The theme this year is the changing landscape of venture investing. A new type of investor is funding the startups. Who are they, how do they work, and what does this means to the international investors and entrepreneurs? The forum is the largest annual venture capital event in Norway and gathers 300 participants from the Nordic venture capital community, business angels, and startup companies. The most interesting blend of promising startups, from digital mobile, life science and med tech, energy, maritime, and impact investments will be presented.

With only 3 percent of Europe’s population, the Nordics have taken on 16 percent of Europe’s venture capital investment and turned that into 3 billion U.S. dollars yearly in exit value over the last ten years. The number of seed-fund companies has quadrupled over the last four years in the U.S. More than 200 micro venture capital firms have raised more than 4 billion U.S. dollars to invest in early stage companies. Angel List and Founders Club are growing. Incubators and accelerators are pushing out large numbers of companies at Demo Day. Now they look to Europe and the Nordics. The European entrepreneurial ecosystems show a general increase in the capacity to generate talent and successful startups, capable of attracting foreign investors. At the forum some of the players will share their views on the new venture capital.

One classic startup problem: the technology works fine, the customer loves the product, but scaling up and international growth is a totally different game. How do you identify the potential global winners from those that will remain small, local businesses forever? How do you go global? These themes are up for discussion at this year’s forum.

Among the other events let me briefly mention the Cutting Edge 2015 Festival at the Oslo Science Park. Here the city’s research and innovation communities join forces to show their latest and greatest. They will present upcoming trends in science, technology, and entrepreneurship, from groundbreaking research to exciting startups that are changing the world. The three top candidates for winning the prize “Changing the World (Wide Web) 2015” will be presented. The prize will be awarded to a Scandinavian web application that changes the world. Another event is the evening seminar about female entrepreneurship gaining momentum. This event will look at the importance of finding a mentor and creating a support network when embarking on the startup journey. These are only some highlights on what’s going on between October 12 and 16 in Oslo!

This article originally appeared in the Aug. 28, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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Rasmus Falck

Rasmus Falck is a strong innovation and entrepreneurship advocate. The author of “What do the best do better” and “The board of directors as a resource in SME,” he received his masters degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently lives in Oslo.