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Year in Review: Corporate Venture and Start-Ups

2019 was an exciting year for the Norwegian start-up and venture capital scene. In this article, from our Corporate Venture and Start-Up practice, we will recap some of the most important happenings from the past year.
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The focus on Norwegian start-ups and venture capital scene has increased in recent years and 2019 was no exception. Most importantly we see a clear tendency of increased international attention. An example is the entry into the Norwegian market by leading Silicon Valley based venture capital fund Founders Fund, through its Series A investment in the el-tech company Tibber, placing Tibber in the same league as other profiled portfolio companies such as Airbnb and Spotify. 2019 was also a year of several profiled mergers and acquisitions in the Norwegian start-up field, including Procuritas’ acquisition of Cutters and Getaround’s acquisition of Nabobil.no.

Another large international VC player that looked to Norway this year was Horizons Ventures. This fund is known for its annual “TechCracker” event where the fund’s investment team and portfolio companies gather somewhere in the world to scout for new investment opportunities. This year’s TechCracker was hosted in Bergen, which shows that the Norwegian start-up scene now has what it takes to attract the most profiled international investors. TechCracker was held in close collaboration with the newly established Game Changers Norway Investor Summit. This was hopefully the first of many summits to come.

We are also pleased to see our close partners at Katapult Ocean successfully completing their first and kick-starting their second accelerator program this year, gathering ocean tech companies from all over the world with positive impact on the oceans. Several of the participants from the first accelerator round have already attracted new investors, including Longship’s investment in the electric ferry company Brim Explorer.

Impact investing was definitely one of the big (and welcoming) trends of 2019 and the opening talking point at the Norwegian Venture Capital Conference 2019. Impact investments provide capital to address social and/or environmental issues and refer to investments in businesses with the intention to generate a measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact alongside a financial return. Environmental and social aspects of investments are getting more important in other parts of the investment business as well and Environmental Social Governance (ESG) has a within short time become a vital factor in Private Equity, setting the scene for investments in the years to come.

This article is part of a series of articles where the different practice groups in SVW will summarize the most important regulatory happenings in Norway in 2019.