Norwegian startup startups came together this week during Oslo Innovation Week to discuss how to scale up effective solutions and overcome bottlenecks in order to stay ahead of the climate tech game.
Oslo Innovation Week is a collaboration between public and private, start-up organizations and businesses, local and global companies. The conference has been supported since 2005 by the city of Oslo, with the aim of bringing sustainable business solutions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
According to the data aggregation website Datawrapper, Norway is the country with the lowest vulnerability to climate change, while being the most skilled at protecting itself from extreme climate disasters. This may involve climate mitigation policies and initiatives, but also increased investment in finding technological solutions to prevent climate change.
Climate technology and clean technology refer to technologies that address the climate crisis with projects aimed at reducing emissions and waste, climate mitigation and adaptation. As the world moves toward renewable energy, clean technology is attracting increasing investment as the country moves capital away from the oil sector. “Cleantech received more than three times as much capital in 2020 as in 2019, attracting almost twice as many investments,” said Victoria Marie Everssen, Deputy Mayor for Public Ownership and Business Development in the City of Oslo, at the launch ceremony. of Oslo Innovation Week.
“New companies play a vital role in the green shift. And if we are going to achieve our goals, we depend on new solutions and innovations,” he continued.
This year’s central theme is “Scaling for Global Success”: the goal for companies is to find ways to expand beyond national borders.
Norway’s competitiveness, especially against the better-known Silicon Valley, is based on the so-called “Nordic model”, allowing talents to find work-life balance, higher wages and a safer environment to live.
From just two co-working spaces in the city center born ten years ago, now startup hubs have multiplied, reaching around 50 accelerators, industrial clusters and co-working areas in the city.
“The support system around startups is extremely strong to help us be market-ready,” said Ingrid Dynna, CEO at NoMy, a startup harnessing the power of fungi, adding that in addition to investment firms , public funding from local initiatives and research centers is steadily increasing.
But there are still challenges for climate startups like NoMy, which is an asset-heavy company because, as a “hardware” startup, it makes a real patented product: “Most venture capital is more willing to invest in low-risk investments like the climate startup producing software that has a faster return on investment,” continued Dynna, “There is a need to support hardware companies all the way.”
For Bjørn Simonsen, managing director of the first green investment company listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange Saga Pure, to keep the Norwegian climate ecosystem thriving, there is a need for investors to have more knowledge of the industry they are investing in and to understand this material Companies they may require long development cycles, but they may have great potential to mitigate climate problems and bring about real system change.
Some Norwegian investment firms have now aligned themselves with this vision: “We can’t just solve the climate problem by investing in software,” agreed Nina Heir, managing director Climate at investment firm Katapult Accelerator. Katapult just launched a new accelerator program for 23 scalable impact tech startups: “We screened over 19,000 companies from 64 countries, and among those selected, 95% are hardware companies,” Heir continued. They include Austrian mobility startup Gleam Bikes that provides electric cargo bikes, Italian feed program Ittinsect that produces aquaculture feed using circular methods, and Estonian packaging startup Decomer Technology that creates eco-friendly water-soluble packaging solutions.
Beyond its investment changes and investor education, Norway also aims to future-proof green investments by finding concrete and transparent ways to measure the impact of its Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) goals, the framework that helps investors navigate and check investments. “Companies can no longer just offset their efforts, they need to take real climate action and invest in solutions,” said Nito Simonsen, co-founder of ClimatePoint, a platform and innovation company that helps businesses get the most environmental solutions, after measuring the climate. impact and predict their investments through an innovative measurement system. The aim is to ensure that ESG is not just a benchmarking exercise and that business firms do not use ESG solely to gain advantages over competitors.
Over 25,000 participants took part in Oslo Innovation Week, which ended today in the traditional 100 pitches event format, where a jury of investors and startup founders will review more than 100 startups worldwide and award a cash prize of $18,500 to startup to continue to scale up the journey and hopefully become a climate unicorn.