2016 was the year that investments in Norwegian startups reached consistent levels. This consistency has continued into 2017, meaning that while the level of pace has considerably slowed down, Q1 was still a more than respectable quarter for investments.
Yet, for an ecosystem that looked set to be the fastest growing in the region once more in 2017, there was 0% growth from Q1 2016, which demonstrates that things have considerably slowed down for now. The consistency is clear though, only 6 investments separate the best and recent quarters in the last 15 months.
The capital invested was also fairly “standard”, coming in slightly above Q1 2016, which notably was the quietest quarter in 2016 for the total amount invested, providing hope that the rest of the year may see significantly more capital come in.
This is all despite two rounds taking place above the $10 million mark, but then again, with 7 in 10 investments happening below the $1 million mark, this is not that surprising.
The two larger investments indicate an ecosystem that is slowly maturing and producing companies that are promising enough to raise Series A and beyond, however, the majority of activity is at a very early-stage, with few making progress in the pipeline in Q1.
Despite concerted branding efforts in Norwegian EdTech and with Kahoot! being Norway’s breakout startup success in recent years, no one vertical has yet to truly establish itself as the most popular, either in the number of startups or the number of investments. However, Enterprise SaaS came out on top in Q1.
Some of the most prominent names from the Norwegian startup scene in recent years raised some of the most significant amounts in Q1, as despite the unspectacular number of rounds, Norway appears to be witnessing a certain level of maturity at the beginning of 2017.
Oslo still comfortably dominates proceedings, representing 76.74% of all rounds, compared to 73% in 2016 as a whole.
International investment is still low in Norway despite its recent increase in both profile and capital. In fact, only Sweden has a lower % than Norway in the region. However, this is due to very different reasons, a plethora of local funding options in the former compared to not-very many in the latter. In short, Norway still needs both International and local investments to increase in order to provide the fuel it needs to keep growing as an ecosystem.
In conclusion, Q1 one was a fairly unspectacular funding quarter for Norway, but by no means a disappointing one, with Fuse and Xeneta’s funding rounds particular bright spots. Even still, the fast pace at which Norway’s investment scene had been growing at certainly put its breaks on in Q1, and although we expect faster activity in the rest of 2017, breaking the 100 investment mark for the first time in a calendar year may not be the inevitable event we felt it would be in our 2016 funding analysis.