10 cool start-ups from Reykjavík to watch

5 Oct 2018990 Views

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Reykjavík city scene. Image: TT Studio/Depositphotos

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The capital city of Iceland, Reykjavík has a rocking start-up scene characterised by an eclectic array of digital ventures.

Reykjavík is believed to have been the location of the first permanent settlement by Vikings in Iceland and the city has been a haven for business and trading in the north Atlantic for more than a millennia.

Iceland boasts one of the oldest parliaments in the world, the Alþingi, and Reykjavík has been at the centre of the country’s economic growth, contraction and rebirth since the economic crash of 2008.

The city of Reykjavík boasts a small but growing venture-capital scene with key players including NSA Ventures, Eyrir, Frumtrak, Brunnur and newcomer Crowberry Capital.

Icelandic Startups is a taskforce aimed at fuelling the region’s start-up scene and every year around May an annual innovation and entrepreneurship conference called Startup Iceland is held.

Popular accelerator programmes include Startup Reykjavík, Startup Energy and Startup Tourism, while clusters and workspaces include Innovation Centre Iceland, Ocean Cluster and Innovation House.

And so, here are the start-ups from Reykjavík to watch.

Authenteq

Authenteq is an automatic identity verification and privacy platform that issues a blockchain-based, self-owned and controlled digital ID. Founded in 2015 by Kari Thor Runarsson and Runar Karlsson, Authenteq has raised $2m in funding from investors that include Initial Capital, Draper Associates and Cavalry Ventures.

Activity Stream

Activity Stream is an AI platform designed to help businesses to use big data in real-time to increase accuracy, streamline decision processes and improve operations. Founded in 2014 by Einar Sævarsson and Stefán Baxter, it has raised $2.6m in funding, including a grant from Iceland’s Technology Development Fund.

Data Dwell

Data Dwell brings high-performance sales and marketing tools to the central nervous system of revenue: the CRM. Founded in 2012 in Reykjavík by Olafur Thorkelsson and Skarpi Steinthorsson, and now with offices in London and San Francisco, Data Dwell has raised $1.3m in funding from investors including Frumtak Ventures.

Meniga

White label digital banking platform Meniga was established in Reykjavík and has offices in London, Stockholm and Warsaw. It is on a mission to transform the way banks and advertisers use transaction data. It has so far enabled more than 30bn transactions for more than 65m consumers in 30 countries at a rate of 34m transactions a day. Founded by Georg Ludviksson, Viggo Asgeirsson and Asgeir Orn Asgeirsson, Meniga has raised $30.7m in funding from investors that include UniCredit EVO, Swedbank, Velocity Capital Private Equity, Frumtak Ventures, Industrifonden and Kjolfesta.

Platome Biotechnology

Platome Biotechnology creates animal-free cell expansion solutions for stem cells, a new way to advance cell-based medicine. The company was founded in 2016 by Dr Ólafur Eysteinn Sigurjónsson and Sandra Mjöll Jónsdóttir-Buch and has raised an estimated £1.6m, including £900,000 in grants.

Radiant Games

Radiant Games is on a mission to spark children’s interest in coding through playful learning experiences. The company’s innovative coding game Box Island engages through active participation. The company was founded in 2014 by Vignir Gudmundsson, Haukur Logason, Gudmundur Vidarsson and Þorgeir Karlsson and has raised just over $525,000 in funding.

Sólfar Studios

Sólfar Studios is a virtual reality studio behind Godling and its latest title In Death. It was founded in 2014 by gaming industry veterans Kjartan Pierre Emilsson, Reynir Hardarson and Thor Gunnarsson. Sólfar Studios has raised $2.2m in funding from investors that include Shanda Group, Reaktor Ventures, NSA Ventures and Inventure.

Strimillinn

Screen shots of a price comparison app.

Image: Google Play Store

Strimillinn is behind Neytandinn, a system for the collection, processing and sharing of pricing data, such as the cost of groceries. The system provides an overview of purchase and helps consumers to become more aware of price and product by capturing receipt data via an Android or iPhone app. Founded in 2015 by Sindri Bergmann and Hugi Thordarson, the start-up has been grant-funded by the Technology Development Fund of Iceland for more than €100,000.

TripCreator

TripCreator is an itinerary building platform for travel agencies. Its proprietary algorithms analyse travel itineraries at speed to make recommendations on hundreds of thousands of points of interest. Founded in 2013 by Baldvin Haraldsson, Hilmar Halldórsson and Olafur Hilmarsson, the company has raised $13m in funding, including an $8m round in early September. It is headquartered in Reykjavík and has an R&D operation in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Viska

Screen shot of Viska AI app.

Image: Google Play Store

Viska is an AI-powered knowledge game on mobile that allows you to change your traditional corporate training material into a fun game. Founded in 2017 by Árni Hermann Reynisson, Stefanía Bjarney Ólafsdóttir and Vala Halldorsdóttir, the company has raised $1.3m in seed funding last year from Investa and Brunnur Ventures.

Reykjavík city scene. Image: TT Studio/Depositphotos

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com