Sponsored article: This article is sponsored, meaning in this instance it has been financed by Mess&Order. The article was written independently by our editorial. We only run sponsored content which we feel benefit our readership, and every time we run some we will explain why we did. In this case, we believed it to be important to showcase that there are things happening outside the capitals in the Nordics and because we believed these four companies operating under the radar to be worthy of more attention.
Of all the Nordic countries, Norway probably relies on the dominance of its capital’s hub less than the others, but this has nothing to do with Oslo’s own performance, and more to do with the fact that other Norwegian cities have strong tech ecosystems and heritage of their own, with Trondheim and Tromso both home to their own thriving tech hubs. However, there’s also another Norwegian city with a promising tech cluster: Stavanger.
Stavanger is a city many consider to be the wealthiest in Norway, (a country already renowned for being rich) due to their relationship with oil, and the fact that the city has 5000 oil companies based there. Now, this is good in terms of Stavanger being a very international city, however there’s a very big downside for the tech community too, with the focus very much on oil still. The city is even home to one of the largest VC funds for oil and gas in the world in HitecVision, however this wealth has yet to find its way to the tech sector, and investment is still low despite the potential of available investors and capital present. However, Mess&Order, a private co-working space are on a mission to change that.
Having only started a year ago, incredibly there are already 50+ companies located within the space. This is testament not just to Mess&Order, but to the growing tech scene in Stavanger, one which as we mentioned, can be overlooked when you typically think about Norway. The companies within Mess&Order are all fairly early-stage and collectively the companies located there have raised 15MNOK ($1.7 million) through a combination of government and local money.
In order to get a better idea of the type of companies currently working at Mess&Order, we decided to shine a spotlight on four of them, all companies that have raised a little bit of money, and demonstrated an international potential.
Dappd is an adtech startup focused on creating a new ecosystem for digital marketing. The aim being to give consumers control of advertising in all channels and ensuring relevant ads. This area is obviously a hot topic right now, so it will be interesting to see Dappd’s take on this. Their angle appears to be the fact that Dappd will learn over time what is interesting by getting to know the user, whereas targeted advertising relies on a lot of assumptions. Interestingly, one of Dappd’s goals is to show less ads to consumers, with the focus being on quality rather than quantity, a solution which in theory appears to suit both consumers and advertisers.
To date, they’ve received 650,000NOK ($73,000) from Innovation Norway, and they are currently raising a seed round. They’re in Alpha right now, and are aiming for a closed beta at some point during Q1. If you head over to their site, you can sign up to that beta right now. (They’ve somehow made that process quite fun, so check it out).
It’s possible that you have heard of this company before, as they have previously been on the front page of DN, one of Norway’s main newspapers. Zoaring enables you to explain your ideas, no matter how complex into a nice and easy to understand message in video format. Understandably they’ve been a hit in the corporate space, and they are able to boast DNB and Statoil amongst their customers. It’s quite hard to pigeon-hole Zoaring as their product transcends e-learning, marketing and video, in spite of that though, their product and its advantages are easy to understand, putting them in a strong position.
Like Dappd, they’ve also received money from Innovation Norway, with 1.2MNOK ($135,000) taken in at this point.
You can view a showcase of their clients projects here.
Reemsys is a safety tech company focused on the maritime sector. Their first product ‘Rescue Pod’ is due early this year and is designed to help save a child’s life when an emergency occurs at sea. They have a number of pending patents in order to develop even more innovative emergency and protection systems for this sector. They’ve previously been declared one of the most promising startups in the region when shortlisted for the DNB Innovation award in 2013.
Reemsys have so far raised a total of $600,000, with the latest (and largest round of funding coming last year.
You can examples of their innovation here.
Huddlestock is a fintech startup started by former hedgefund quants from the likes of Meditor Capital and UBS, researchers from the University of Stavanger, and local serial entrepreneurs. The fintech startup received early funding from the University and Innovation Norway, and has the rather ambitious stated aim of “democratising the financial investment industry”. In practice, Huddlestock makes it possible for any trader, regardless of investment amount, to have the same large scale benefits and access to information that hedge funds have, only paying fees if you make a profit. The company has recently opened a London office, targeting Europe’s fintech capital. Although the exact amount is undisclosed, Huddlestock have raised the most capital of the companies located in Mess&Order at an eight figure valuation (NOK).
Transparency and equal opportunity are two of the things that the financial sector could really do with, so I’m certainly interested to follow Huddlestock’s progress as they attempt to tackle these issues.
Clearly, there is some strong potential to be found amongst these companies and in Stavanger itself, and it demonstrates that the Nordics are producing good companies outside of the main hubs too, showing that it pays to look off of the beaten path sometimes, and that investing in oil is certainly not the only place to put your money in Stavanger if you are looking for the possibility of big returns.
If you would like to know more about Mess&Order or the companies profiled in this article, then you can reach the CEO of Mess&Order, Pia Warland at [email protected] or +4790865351