Feeling inspired by lots of others posting their predictions for the year to come, I wanted to stick my neck out with a few predictions about what we’ll see in Norwegian tech/startups in the coming year. Obviously, these are just predictions, and I look forward to revisiting this post in a year to check my accuracy. Here you go:
High profile startups will die: At least two startups having raised +$10M will have to close the shop or sell at unfavorable terms. I don’t have any specific companies in mind, but it seems unlikely (from a statistical perspective) that all companies will be able to continue growing successfully. “Rockstar” companies will die, and this will be both surprising and disciplining for the local ecosystem.
Few foreign investments: Exceptions will apply, but not many companies will raise big $ from abroad. Not because local founders aren’t investment-worthy, rather because there’s still a communication gap - founders still need to learn how and who to approach when with what. International investors will continue to visit more frequently though, as the opportunity is obvious - same demography as rest of Nordics but much less crowded.
More corporate venture: 2018 was a year where Norwegian corporates really started to invest in startups, and I expect this growth to continue through 2019. One could argue more money is good, or that money with potentially conflicting interests is not good. Or both. It’s probably somewhere in between. And it’ll be more of it in 2019.
Still out of sync: The correction we’re seeing in the US tech sector will not affect Norwegian startups - investments will continue to grow (both # and total amount), both because of new domestic funds launched in 2018, and because Norwegian tech will continue to be partly out of sync/lag relative to rest of world.
Climate change: Following the launch of Nysnø, an increasing desire to move away from the oil economy (especially in big cities, where most startup investments are made), and an growing awareness around this issue globally - 2019 will be the year where Norway seriously becomes a place for climate positive startups. There’s just to many skilled engineers with energy-related competency for this not to happen.
Norway as an attractive market: Amazon will launch this year (I believe), and we’ll see more international players go after the Norwegian markets within (micro) mobility, banking (Revolut’s already here), marketplaces and more. Consumers will win, local startups (and corporates) will struggle - some will win, some will die, some will be consolidated.
No new option rules: Everyone will continue to ask for more fair laws regarding employee stock options, but nothing significant will happen this year either. It’s the most obvious change politicians can make (one that will benefit everyone). Still, they haven’t figured it out yet - despite appeals from just about everyone within the industry - so I don’t think they’ll figure it out this year either.