Oslo: The Nordic’s Growing Startup Hotspot

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The fastest growing Nordic country in terms of investment is Norway, and Oslo is leading the way. Here's what you need to know to start your business in this city:

Check out the infographic on how to start up in Oslo!

Norway is the fastest growing Nordic country in terms of the number of investment, and Oslo is leading the way in Norway. The ecosystem is growing with increasing exits, flourishing support and grants from governments, new startups and players in the ecosystem, exciting new programs connecting investors, startups and corporation and rising international media attention. The startup community in Oslo is a vibrant one, with many events and co-working spaces popping up around the city. No wonder it’s the buzzing hotspot in the north.

Going North: Oslo

Advantages Of Founding In Oslo:

  • Increasing amount of investment especially for seed and, lately, angel investment.
  • Early / pre-seed startups receive governmental support in the form of grants.
  • Mature internet infrastructure as well as early adopters of new technology.
  • High level of proficiency in English.
  • Talented and highly educated people.
  • High quality of work-life balance.
  • Short distance to amazing nature.
  • Low amount of capital to register and own a limited company.
  • Global-minded people.

What Founders Have To Consider:

  • Oslo has been known as one of the most expensive cities in the world for rent, cost of living, transportation etc.
  • High taxes and expensive workforce.
  • Relatively low series A funding opportunities.
  • With 5 million people, Norway itself is a small market to test products.

Get To Know Oslo’s Community

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Oslo has seen an incredible growth of startups and service providers, with co-working spaces popping up, and international events such as Startup Extreme that put Norway on the international startup map.

Info On Upcoming Events, Meetups & Other Occasions:

Regular Events & Meetups:

Oslo hosts a large number of startup events, local chapter of international events as well as frequent collaboration between community players.

  • Startup Weekend Oslo is the local chapter of Startup Weekend. Organized 3 times per year (February, June and October).
  • Oslo Startup Day: Oslo Startup Day is a regular event organised by the Oslo Business Region every month. Each month has a different theme, speakers and frequently collaborates with different ecosystem players.
  • MESH AfterWork is a monthly event for the startup community to meet for a relaxing drink after a work week, organised every first Friday. It is open for everyone.
  • Bubble Bar: is a set of concepts for Oslo’s tech startup community, by founders for founders. It takes the form of a talk show / panel discussion with various experts on a monthly basis with diverse topics each month.
  • Fuck Up Nights Oslo is the local chapter of a global movement where stories of failed businesses and projects are told, questioned and celebrated. It takes place once every two months.
  • Product Tank is an event by product people for product people, highlighting product management, product design, development and user experience.
  • Sustainability Jam Oslo is part of Global Sustainability Jam – an intense 48 hour workshop aiming to develop a new service, a physical device, an initiative, or a network that drives the world in a more sustainable direction.
  • Green Drinks Oslo: A networking event every 1st Tuesday of the month for people who care about the environment.
  • Rockstart Answers Oslo is the local chapter of Rockstart Answers, an event that brings together early stage founders and experienced entrepreneurs to solve startup challenges.
  • StartupLab’s Join A Startup Day: is a unique event by StartupLab where startups pitch to attract and recruit new people to work or intern.
  • Startup Sauna Oslo is the local chapter event of Startup Sauna. It is a one-day coaching event, taking place two months prior to the accelerator program in 20+ cities within the Nordics, Eastern Europe and Russia.
  • Mobile Meetup Oslo is a regular meetup dedicated to all aspects of the mobile world.
  • AppAcademy Norway’s leading arena within app and mobile developments.
  • Startup Grind Oslo is the local chapter of Startup Grind.
  • Drink Entrepreneurs: a monthly drinks meetup for entrepreneurs.
  • Lean Startup Meetup Norway: hosted by Lean Startup Norway, Lean Startup Circle Norway is a community dedicated to learning and applying the Lean Startup, business model- and customer development practices.
  • Business Model User Group is an open group that holds meetups in various cities in Norway, including Oslo.
  • DigitalBar gathers digital heads for a casual beer four times a year in Oslo. Participants include digital leaders, developers, designers, strategists, marketers and analysts who gather to share experiences and build relationships.

Oslo also has a rich community meetup in various specific areas and technical interests such as Oslo VR Meetup, Oslo Energy Tech Meetup, Internet Of Things Oslo Meetup, Angular Meetup, Framsia etc.

Yearly Or Major Events, Festivals, Conferences In Norway:

Since Norway is a relatively small country, the major events listed below include events beyond Oslo.

  • Startup Extreme is Norway’s leading startup event. Organised in Bergen and Voss by the leading startup ecosystem player Startup Norway, it combines a startup conference with extreme sports.
  • Oslo Innovation Week is a five-day series of events held each October with 60 events, 8000 attendees, 100 pitches. From seminars and talks, pitching contests and hackathons, to workshops, breakfast meetings and company crawls. The events are organized by over 90 different organizers such as corporates, startups, accelerators and organizations.
  • Technoport: An annual conference in Trondheim where entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders, students, researchers, and other key people gather for crowdsourcing, master classes, matchmaking, and inspirational talks.
  • Javazone: the biggest community-driven conference for modern Java Developers.
  • Grundermessen: an event providing products and services entrepreneurs need in the process of operating a business.
  • Norwegian Developer Conference: one of Europe’s largest conferences for .NET & Agile development. Today NDC Conferences are 5-day events with 2 days of pre-conference workshops and 3 days of conference sessions.
  • Venture Cup is the world’s largest business plan competition. Each year hundreds of teams compete to create the best business plan.
  • EMAX Norge is a meeting place for young people who are genuinely interested in entrepreneurship and want to start and manage their own business sometime in the future. It’s organised over four days in which participants are challenged on their own skills and knowledge about entrepreneurship in a nice interaction with workshops, inspirational talks, and other activities.
  • Nordic Startup Awards: a series of events in the Nordic countries, to recognize and celebrate the startup ecosystems based in the Nordic region.
  • Norwegian Venture Capital Conference: a yearly conference organised by NVCA.
  • Nordic Edge Expo: Nordic Edge aims at becoming one of Europe’s most important arenas for knowledge exchange and inspiration to creators of smarter businesses, smarter homes and smarter cities.
  • Nordic BuyOut Forum: organised by NVCA. The annual M&A event that joins the venture capital and private equity industry and others involved in the transaction market in Norway and the other Nordic countries.
  • Norwegian Investment Forum: the largest annual venture capital event in Norway that gathers 300 participants from the Nordic venture capital community, business angels and startup companies. International keynote speakers set the agenda and point out trends for the coming years. The Norwegian Investment Forum presents the most interesting blend of promising Norwegian startups, from digital/mobile, life science and med tech, energy/maritime and impact investments.
  • Cutting Edge Festival showcases the latest in science, technology and entrepreneurship.
  • Global Entrepreneurship Week Oslo: The Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) is a year-round platform of programs and initiatives aimed at creating one global entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Volunteering Possibilities:

A lot of the events listed above often need volunteers as it’s a great chance to not only get experience but also to get a start for students or newly graduates to get to know the startup scene in Oslo.

Looking For A Co-working Space In Oslo?

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Co-working Spaces In Oslo:

  • MESH: the first co-working space in Oslo. Founded 4 years ago, now it is the primary hub for startups and entrepreneurs. Located in the heart of Oslo, it offers co-working space, event space, and even a restaurant.
  • StartupLab: a workspace tied to Founders Fund. StartupLab screen their applicants and only the best entrepreneurs are accepted.
  • SoCentral is an incubator focusing on social entrepreneurship & social challenges that can be solved with economic sustainability.
  • 657 Oslo is a co-working space that offers a place for freelancers, entrepreneurs and businesses within the creative and communication industry.
  • Grundergarasjen: a place that offers space for early stage entrepreneurs working on ICT-related projects. The offer consists of free office space and other useful resources, located at the Simula Research Laboratory at IT Fornebu in Norway.
  • Grundernes Hus offers a place that includes office, meeting room, boardroom, library and cafetaria.
  • Oslo International Hub is a co-working space and incubator helping expats and re-pats get into the Norwegian business scene and grow businesses with an international focus.
  • Bitraf is a maker space in Oslo which is open to anyone 7 days a week. It focuses on analogue and digital needlework, 3D printing, digital art, programming, design, electronics, laser cutting and similar activities.
  • Hackeriet: is a hackerspace in Oslo. Hackerspaces are community-operated physical places, where people share their interest in tinkering with technology, meet and work on their projects, and learn from each other.
  • Kjeller Innovasjon is located at the heart of the Kjeller Research Park in Lillestrøm, Norway. Kjeller Innovasjon gudies the innovation process from an initial idea to a growing company.
  • Teknologihuset: a gathering place for people within the IT industry, and home to a very active research community.
  • Oslo MedTech Growth House is a health technology cluster, dedicated to accelerate and support the development of new MedTech and eHealth products, services and innovative solutions for the Norwegian and global healthcare market.
  • Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator is offering an incubator as well as tailored lab spaces for companies and startups specifically in the cancer research area.
  • Oslotech: built and operated at Oslo science park, it now has more than 160 companies and research organizations rent offices and labs here. Every year Oslotech organizes and hosts many different events in their large in-house conference centre, bringing together students, researchers, enterpreneurs, people from the industry as well as investors.
  • HiOA Maker is open for university and high-school students, developers, artists, designers, researchers and businesses.
  • BI Co-working Space: is a co-working space and a small office community built out of the initiative of students and teachers at BI business school. Open to all BI students who are keen entrepreneurship in practice.
  • Oslo House of Innovation: a new center of innovation and co-working space in the heart of Oslo’s center.
  • Tøyen Startup Village: an initiative of IKT-Norge, it’s an upcoming project to build a startup village to strengthen the Norwegian startup scene.

Financing Opportunities In Oslo

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Accelerators:

  • Angel Challenge is a hands-on investment program consisting of several evenings where the participants learn angel investing together. A group of angel investors will learn how to do their first investment together with more experienced investors. A group of startups will go through the investment process with a chance to get a 1 000 000 NOK investment. The program runs through four phases, starting from the application and preselection, into pitching, due diligence, and the finale.
  • 500 Nordics is part of the global network of 500Startups. In addition to our accelerator programs 500 Nordics operates a $15M USD venture fund focused on early stage startups in the region.
  • MashUpNorway is an Norwegian tech accelerator founded by ICT-Norway, Music Norway, 657Oslo, Phonofile and WiMP with the aim to increase innovation through helping small businesses and startups scale to the next level, building new arenas for smart funding; private capital, venture capital and crowdfunding.
  • FinTech Factory: a new Nordic accelerator program for fintech startups, FintechFactory is a 12-week long, mentor driven accelerator program where investors invest in startups and help to develop concepts, find customers and partners, and scale businesses.
  • TechMakers: providing short term programs with business development guidance, mentors, network, customers. Currently has programs focusing on energy and green accelerator.
  • Norselab: accelerator that does seed investments that most often partner with industry experts to co-found companies.

Incubators:

  • StartupLab: a business incubator and co-working space and with room for up to 140 entrepreneurs. StartupLab also invests in selected startup companies.
  • Simula Research Laboratory, SIVA Incubators (37 in total) is run by the Industrial Corporation of Norway.
  • Kjelleren Innovasjon Kjeller Innovation has established startup incubators at Kjeller and Ås, providing support for entrepreneurs in the early stages of company development. The focus is on energy, the environment, community safety and bioeconomics.
  • Venture Factory: incubator that focuses on e-commerce, technology and performance-marketing.
  • Moonwalk Innovation combines crowdsourcing, crowdfunding and shared ownership to create growth companies over a period of 2 years.

Grants & Subventions:

  • Innovation Norway: Innovation Norway provides early-stage funding in the form of a soft grant in 2 phases: market research and commercialization.
  • Founders Fund: investment fund by StartupLab, provided to some startups that have been accepted to StartupLab.
  • Skattefunn: a grant given by The Research Council of Norway (Forskningsrådet), that provides funding for a startup’s R&D project to develop or improve a new product, service or production process.

Crowd Investing Platforms & Network:

Angel Investors Network:

Venture Capital Investors:

Other Networks:

Get Further Info On Statups In Oslo

Oslo_mentors

Community & Government/Official Network:

  • Startup Norway: the primary key player in the startup community that organizes Norway’s major startup events and programs, such as Startup Extreme, Angel Challenge, Nordic Startup Awards, and community programs such as Startup Weekend and Startup Summer.
  • Innovation Norway is the Norwegian Government’s most important instrument for innovation and development of Norwegian enterprises and industry.
  • Oslo Business Region: develop areas, networks and tools to support startups to successfully launch and grow their business ideas. OBR organizes Startup Day, pitching contests and events for startups as well as establishing the Oslo Innovation Embassy at The Trampery in London and at the Capital Factory in Austin.
  • IKT Norge is the interest group for the Norwegian ICT industry that represents the full range of the spectrum from the major players down to small entrepreneurial companies.
  • Connect Norge: a non profit organization that connects entrepreneurs with businesses and investors. Connect Norway provides investor network, forums, mentoring, pitch events, etc.
  • Oslo MedTech is a health technology cluster, provide co-working space at MedTech Growth House.
  • Oslo EdTech Cluster: is an industry cluster development, commercialization and export of Norwegian learning technologies (EdTech).
  • Oslo FinTech: a new cluster of fintech startups that has recently organized Oslo Fintech Week.
  • NorwayMakers is the umbrella organization for makerspaces in Norway.
  • Nordic Innovation: a Nordic institution that promotes trade and innovation that includes inititives for startups with its programs such as Nordic Startup Manager, Nordic One, Start Nordic, Accelerate Life etc.
  • Build2Grow: part of OsloTech, Build2Grow organizes Innovation Camps, events and is a special meeting place for those who work directly towards entrepreneurs through incubators, chambers of commerce and established centers, as well as those actively working towards entrepreneurship.
  • Start Norge: student organization for entrepreneurship and innovation.
  • Silicon Vikings is a network of nodes with the mission of building a borderless community supporting Nordic and Baltic innovation. Silicon Vikings is a 30,000+ network headquartered in Silicon Valley with nodes throughout the Nordic and Baltic region including Oslo.
  • Abelia is the business association of Norwegian knowledge and technology based enterprises.

Practical:

  • Bronnoysund Registry: the place to register your company and startup. Bronnoysund registry organizes Norwegian public administration and operates the online portal Altinn.
  • Oslo Chamber of Commerce
  • Patentstyret: The Norwegian Industrial Property Office
  • Servicekontoret for Næringslivet (The Agency for Business Development): services a municipal agency responsible in informing and advising entrepreneurs about laws and requirements related to starting a business enterprise in Oslo.

Local & Nordic News Outlets:

Interesting Oslo Tidbits:

Oslo has seen a slow but growing number of companies closely cooperating or developing incubation, accelerator or business programs with startups. The program ranges form a three-months on-site program designed to grow startups and business, to an intensive 3-months accelerator program for selected tech startups to accelerate their way to their first customer, to opening up a competition for startups in specific verticals.

Companies such as Opera, Telenor, Microsoft, Dell has often taken part in startup events as partners or sponsors, as well as banks such as DNB and Nordea. Norwegian companies such as Statoil, Posten, Storebrand, Hafslund, to public corporation such as the local kommune (county) have also developed programs or competitions to boost the startup community.

 

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Last updated: August 25th, 2016

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