One of the most interesting data-points in our H1 Nordic funding analysis was the performance of Norway and their ever increasing funding numbers. In this post we’ll take a deeper look into these and what they mean. But first:
Methodology and Disclaimers
- The most important thing to mention, is that at the end of a quarter we spend time updating our database from investments that we either missed at the time or were subsequently uncovered post the original analysis. Therefore, some of the numbers, particularly on the number of investments per quarter differ in this analysis from previous ones you may have read previously.
- We are largely able to achieve this increased accuracy due to the higher quality of available data sources that exist in the region these days, particular shout-outs deserve to go to Nordic9, Nordic Tech List and Northstack.
- Any differences that occur in our datasets are predominantly due to methodology, therefore it is important to outline ours:
- We only record publicly disclosed, private minority (equity and loan) investments into Nordic tech companies. We do not include secondary investments, nor do we include accelerator investments (for entry into a programme)
The Number of Investments
There were a total of 67 investments in H1 2018 (35 in Q1 and 32 in Q2), this was a 76.3% increase compared to H1 2017, significantly above the increase seen across the region as a whole which was 2.2% year-on-year and comfortably outperforming every other Nordic country in terms of the rate of growth.
Incredibly this was more investments than Finland in H1 2018 and just 5 behind Denmark. After threatening to challenge these two more mature hubs for a couple of years, Norway has finally reached the point where it can be well regarded as one of the most active ecosystems for investment in the Nordics.
Q1 was a record ever quarter, whereas Q2 also broke the 30 investment barrier. It remains to be seen whether this is the new normal but if the rate of investment was maintained throughout the remainder of 2018 then Norway would be on course to surpass 130 investments, comfortably beating last year’s record year of 87, in fact it is rather incredible that they are just 20 investments shy of that number with half of the year still to go.
The Amount of Capital Invested ($M)
Just as Q1 was a record quarter for the number of investments, it was also one for the amount of capital deployed. In total, $185.8 million was invested into Norwegian startups in H1 2018 which is a 69.68% increase on H1 2017.
In fact, 2018 has already surpassed 2017’s total for the whole year and is just $7 million shy of 2016’s record year, meaning that this year will be a record year for capital invested into the Norwegian ecosystem.
The Number of Investments per Round Size
So, where are these dramatic increases in investment happening? Well, the good news is everywhere. All throughout the pipeline we see more activity at every stage than H1 2017, although interestingly investments under $0.5 million remained the most consistent (and there were less between $10-20 million)
Still, this is additional proof that the Norwegian ecosystem is maturing as we’ve been hinting at and expecting to take place and it’s great to see further evidence of this in the numbers.
The Number of Investments per Vertical
As the ecosystem has been maturing, one or two verticals have yet to really take their place as the area(s) that was seeing the most funding in Norway. Education has probably threatened the strongest over the years and it also performed strongly in H1. Still, it was FinTech and Enterprise SaaS stood out as the most backed verticals.
Gaming, with 4 investments was probably the most interesting vertical that stands out here, potential proof that there is some strong gaming talent in the country, not something that instantly comes to my mind when I think of the Norwegian ecosystem.
The Number of Investments per City
While it was predictable that Oslo dominated the majority of investments, it’s fascinating to see Bergen emerge as the ecosystem with the 2nd highest number of investments with double-figures reached. With Stavanger in 3rd, it’s clear that the West Coast of Norway also has something to offer in addition to the capital city.
It’s odd that Trondheim only recorded one, however I have noticed a recent trend of companies and entrepreneurs who originated from Trondheim choosing to start/locate their startups in Oslo instead, this may well have contributed to the lack of investment numbers.
The % of Funding Rounds with a minimum of 1 International Investor
The percentage number of international investors participating in Norwegian funding rounds has also increased, although this was perhaps inevitable with the number of more mature rounds that have been raised in the country. Still to go from 13% in Q3 2017 to just below the 18.9% recorded across the region in H1 2018 is a significant increase and something that is required if Norwegian companies are able to continually raise these later rounds.
We’ve talked a lot about the promise and potential in Norway’s startup scene for the last couple of years and we are now beginning to see this turn into tangible numbers.
Halfway through the year and we can assuredly say that 2018 will be a record year for the number of investments and capital deployed with 120+ investments and $300 million+ invested looking certainties, a world away from the 17 investments and <$100 million recorded in the whole of 2014, just 4 years ago.