Different companies

Los Angeles has gradually become a place where great startups are built, as mentioned in the quoted tweet above. The tweet calls these startups “wildly misunderstood” companies, and that reminded me of Norway in relation to the rest of the Nordics. A few thoughts:

There is this convergence between founders and funders. While investors follow great companies, founders are also more likely to successfully build companies within domains where there are lots of investors. My view is this has happened in the Nordics: great companies have been built within certain segments (mostly consumer and SaaS), followingly more funds have been allocated to these domains, which in turn has led to more companies being built within these domains - and so on.

Then the “ugly duckling” of the Nordics emerges on the tech scene after a few too many years working on oil and gas related problems. Companies are being launched, but due to a number of different reasons (different skillsets, networks, vocabularies etc), many Norway-based founders pursue somewhat different opportunities compared to the rest of the Nordics.

A natural consequence of this is that these “wildly misunderstood” companies struggle to raise funds from VCs who, while geographically close, have spent the past decade converging towards a investing in a certain type of companies. And Norwegian founders with large ambitions have to think creatively around how to fund their companies - something I continue to see.

In this age of narrative violations and contrarianism, I’m surprised so few European investors are looking at “different” companies. To really succeed in startup investing it’s not enough to be right, you have to be non-consensus as well.

Norway has a large amount of such companies, and I hope and believe many of these companies will emerge as non-obvious winners in the years to come. It still remains to be proven that these “different” companies are good companies as well - you can’t just be non-consensus, you have to be right as well. And once this happens, you’ll see me tweeting something similar to Shaun Maguire.