Managing Director at 657 Oslo
Anine Willums Karp is the Managing Director of 657 Oslo – Norway’s largest Coworking Space for the Creative Industries. Together with founders Anniken Fjelberg and Joachim Levin, their vision is to accelerate passionate people and ignite great ideas. The workspace acts as a catalyst for connections and brings the community together in various ways, from informal gatherings around the ping-pong table to content-driven events led by the community itself. To keep the values behind their Creative Collaborative Community intact, curation is key.
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Disclaimer: all content within the Startup Ecosystem Summary and Editor’s Guide sections is written by and reflects the personal perspective of the guest editor. The guest editor is not responsible for content within the Country Snapshot and Community sections, as much of this content is compiled from external sources and does not necessarily reflect the guest editor’s view.
The startup community in the big cities has flourished over the past few years, and so the national scene follows. The Norwegian startup ecosystem has been expanding massively in recent years, with tech entrepreneurs now looking for new ways to grow even further. Norway’s focus on enabling new companies to grow has certainly matured, increasing the levels of value creation, scalability and sustainable growth throughout our country.
Thanks to a solid ecosystem of coworking spaces, accelerators, incubators, hubs, investors and support funds, a wave of Norwegian companies have entered local and international markets. In Oslo alone, there are more than 50 innovation spaces all existing to help entrepreneurs shoot for the stars. As a positive ripple effect, Oslo-born, as well as Norwegian startups and scaleups in general, now have the possibility to take an important and profitable position in the global ecosystem.
Norway faces several major challenges. On the one hand, we face major global challenges in areas such as climate, health and energy, which calls for a more sustainable society. At the same time, Norway must adapt from a strong petroleum-based business sector to other and more sustainable activities. This entails a strong need for more knowledge, creativity and innovation.
We highlight seven critical success factors that are of crucial importance for Norwegian entrepreneurs’ ability to survive and grow – be it internationally, nationally and regionally. These are all in our ecosystem’s top of mind focus going forward.
Editor’s choice of the country’s top 10 emerging tech startups.
Editor’s pick of which ‘Featured Startup’ is especially worth following and why.
Editor’s choice of the industries with the most potential for technology disruption and growth.
Editor’s perspective of the maturity level of talent in the ecosystem.
Editor’s commentary on how the country’s culture and history have impacted the ecosystem.
It’s considered relatively uncomplicated to start a business in Norway, but rigid work regulations and relatively heavy bureaucratic processes are perceived as obstacles to Norwegian entrepreneurship. Norway has a relatively high proportion of young growth companies (gazelles), but there are few innovative new establishments, and the majority of growth companies remain small. A lack of culture for innovation as well as limited knowledge and experience, especially within commercialization and scaling, are considered to be the main reasons why there are few major global successes. An attractive labor market, little need for – and willingness to – take risks may explain some of the low pace of innovation.
We’ve seen a good growth of entrepreneurial environments in the private sector in the last couple of years. Such environments help to create commitment to take the chance to live out the dream of creating something of your own. The ecosystem that increasingly consist of more and more incubators, knowledge hubs, innovation hubs and coworking spaces such as MESH, StartupLab, 657 Oslo, Innovation Dock, Bergen Works, Work-Work, DIGS, Blender and FLOW are important for building culture, national and international networks, and for increased attention from politicians and investors. And we’re starting to see the ripple effect – since 2010 there’s been a 66 percent increase in scaleup companies.
Interested in becoming more involved in this ecosystem and connecting with local ecosystem leaders? Let us know.
Antler Norway (Oslo): Based on the number of companies in the portfolio (over 250), Antler is one of the world's largest tech investors for early stage companies.
Sagene Tech Ventures (Oslo): Sagene Tech Ventures is a pre-seed venture fund established in Oslo in 2016 investing in B2B SaaS companies based in Norway.
Sarsia (Bergen): Sarsia is a Norwegian early stage Venture Capital fund manager investing in technology companies within the energy / technology and biotechnology / life science sectors.
Skyfall Ventures (Oslo): Early stage venture capital firm. Backing companies with extraordinary founders that leverage technology to scale fast in markets ripe for change.
TRK Group (Oslo): TRK Group is an Oslo-based Active Ownership Firm, founded by long-term McKinsey Senior Partner Trond Riiber Knudsen. TRK Group is aiming to catalyse growth for promising entrepreneurial ventures across three particularly exciting domains: Disruptive Technologies, Digital service transformation, and Emerging Africa.
Coworking Norge (Country-wide): As a member of one of the coworking places in the network Coworking Norge, you have free access to flexi places up to 5 days per. month (with a few exceptions).
Technoport Conference (Trondheim): Technoport Conference is an international deep tech event, which contributes to turning research-driven technological innovation into valuable real solutions.
Oslo Business Region: Oslo Business Region was established 1 January 2014 and is a limited company funded and owned by the City of Oslo. Its key objectives are to work for more successful innovation and technology startups in Oslo, collaboration between public and private companies, talent attraction and international profiling. In addition, it supports businesses in Oslo during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Ungt Entreprenørskap: A non-profit, nationwide organization that, together with the education system, the business community and other actors, works to develop children and young people's creativity, creative joy and belief in themselves.
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