12 outstanding Oslo start-ups to watch in 2018

9 Nov 20172101 Shares

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Norway flag. Image: William Perugini/Shutterstock

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Norway’s capital city, Oslo, is home to a thriving start-up ecosystem that captures the best of Scandinavian ingenuity and originality.

As well as a buzzing start-up scene, Norwegian capital Oslo is considered a marvel of the technology world for a number of reasons. The nation – made particularly wealthy because, unlike Ireland, it did not sell off its oil and gas rights willy-nilly – boasts one of the largest concentrations of privately owned electric vehicles in the world.

The city is also home to Opera Software, creator of the popular browser that was bought last year for an estimated $600m by a consortium of Chinese investors called Golden Brick Capital.

Norway is also investing heavily itself in the future and has created a €100m investment fund called Norwegian.ai to support artificial intelligence (AI) projects.

Key groups such as Startup Norway, founded and led by passionate entrepreneurs, give the ecosystem a sense of community and cohesion while Oslo’s start-up ecosystem boasts a lively events calendar.

There are events such as Startup Weekend Oslo, held three times a year, while the Oslo Business Region holds Oslo Startup Day on a monthly basis. Mesh Afterwork is a monthly drinks event held every first Friday while Bubble Bar is a set of concepts for the start-up community organised by founders for founders. There are also nights such as Product Tank focused on product designers and the user experience (UX) tribe. For those who care about the environment, there are events such as Sustainability Jam Oslo and Green Drinks Oslo.

Startup Sauna Oslo is a one-day coaching event that takes place two months ahead of the accelerator programme in 20 cities across the Nordics, Eastern Europe and Russia while Startup Grind Oslo is the local chapter of the start-up community.

The city also has a good number of accelerators, including Angel Challenge, 500 Nordics, MashUP Norway, TheFactory, Techmakers and Norselab and Katapult Accelerator, as well as incubators such as StartupLab, Simula Research Laboratory, Siva, Kjeller Innovasjon, Venture Factory and Moonwalk.

And so, here are the ones to watch in 2018.

Fuse

Fuse is a UX platform that creates apps aimed at making development easier and fun for designers and developers. The UX tool suite maker reckons that by doing so, it could halve the development time of complex applications. Founded in 2011 by Morten Fornes and Anders Lassen, Fuse recently raised $12m in a Series A round led by Northzone and Alliance Venture.

Greenbird Integration Technology

Greenbird Integration Technology has developed a hybrid cloud platform for big data integrations that empower the smart grid, smart cities and the industrial internet of things. Established in 2010 by Thorsten Heller, the start-up supports 80pc of the utilities through its SaaS solution, Metercloud, as well as its Ghostwriter smart meter simulation technology. Greenbird raised €4.5m in funding last year through Statkraft Ventures and ETF Partners.

Inzpire.me

In a world where ad blockers are allowing users to pummel brands for the mistakes of the past and present, Inzpire.me is all about helping brands find a better way to connect with their audience using data-driven tools. Founded in 2016 by Marie Mostad and Mats Lyngstad, Inzpire.me has raised more than $1.1m from SNÖ Ventures and private investors.

Kahoot

One of the world’s fastest-growing game-based learning brands, Kahoot recently reached the 1bn player milestone and it has more than 40m monthly active users. Kahoot was founded by Johan Brand, Alf Inge Wang, Morten Versvik, Asmund Furuseth and Jamie Brooker. It raised $10m in funding last year, bringing total funding to date to $26.5m.

Key Butler x Lotel

A Scandinavian take on the sharing economy, Key Butler x Lotel is a joint venture between Oscar Hellenes’ Lotel and Sune Liengaard’s Key Butler. The player makes it easier for Airbnb ‘rentrepreneurs’ to manage their rentals by taking care of things, from cleaning and services to the handover of keys. The start-up earlier this year attracted a $650,000 investment round led by Norwegian hotel billionaire Petter Stordalen.

Meshcrafts

Norway is one of the world’s biggest adopters of electric vehicles. Meshcrafts has created a technology platform for real-time communication, from electrical chargers and parking spots, to vehicles, operators and the public. Meshcrafts is a 2013 spin-off from a student enterprise project at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

No Isolation

On a mission to eliminate loneliness, No Isolation shines a light on the problem as well as building communications tools to help people living in vulnerable situations. Its first tool is AV1, a robot designed to help children and young adults with long-term illnesses to participate in everyday life. AV1 is currently helping more than 200 children in Norway, Sweden, the UK, Romania and the Netherlands. Another tool, Komp, is designed to improve communication between generations and family members. Founded in 2015 by Matias Doyle, Karen Dolva and Marius Aabel, No Isolation has raised $2.8m in funding to date.

Otovo

An online platform for distributed energy and solar panels, Otovo has created an algorithm for planning rooftop installations and prices based on addresses and data, such as terrain and houses. It has also created a system for buying and selling surplus energy. Founded by Simen Fure Jørgensen in 2016, Otovo has raised €6.1m in a round led by utility firm Akershus Energi.

Socius

Socius began as a user-generated storytelling platform for digital publishers, but has since pivoted to become a content management platform that turns a brand’s influencer posts into highly engaging native ads for the world’s biggest websites. Socius was founded in 2013 by Daniel Butler and Frode Jensen. It has raised $431,600 in funding so far from investors including 500 Startups and RAA Ventures.

The Future Group

The Future Group is a social entertainment platform that blends mixed reality with TV. In its own words, it “transports the TV studio into a computer game engine” to allow people in front of the camera to interact with objects in a virtual world. Founded by Bård Anders Kasin, a former technical director at Warner Brothers, and Jens Petter Høili, founder of FairChance, The Future Group recently raised $20m in a Series C round from Ferd and Aker ASA along with a number of other investors. In total, the company has raised close to $57m in funding to date.

Vivaldi

Vivaldi is the maker of a new desktop browser for power users that is led by Jon von Tetzchner, founder and former CEO of the iconic software firm Opera. Designed for the web’s most demanding users, the browser is highly customisable for people who want more out of their web experience. Vivaldi is entirely self-funded.

Xeneta

Xeneta aims to disrupt the $200bn container shipping market by offering a crowdsourced price comparison service for ocean freight. Founded in 2012 by Patrik Berglund, Thomas Sorbo and Vilhelm Vardoy, Xeneta recently raised $12m in Series B funding led by Smedvig Capital and existing investors Creandum and Alliance Venture, bringing its total fundraising so far to $20.5m.

Updated, 8.45am, 9 November 2017: This article was updated to correct the funding amount raised by The Future Group to date from $28.5m to (close to) $57m.

Also updated 08.01, 10 November 2017: Updated to recognise a strategic pivot by Socius from user-generated storytelling to native advertising for brands.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com