Since 2012, I have worked with investing in startups in Iceland through my work at Arion Bank in Reykjavik, Iceland. These investments come through the business accelerators Startup Reykjavik and Startup Energy Reykjavik. Each participant in the accelerator receives fresh equity in addition to the various support and perks available. Continue reading
Florealis, a Startup Reykjavik company from the 2013 cohort, has secured its second round of seed financing of ISK 50 million (USD 395,000). The investor group behind the investment consists of experts from the pharmaceutical industry and angel investors. Previously, Florealis had secured another ISK 50 million in its first seed round.
Upphaf viðskiptahraðla á Íslandi
Fram til ársins 2012 hafði fjölþættum stuðningi við frumkvöðlaumhverfið verið ábótavant á Íslandi. Ekki var til stuðningsnet fyrir frumkvöðlana sjálfa, fjöldi fjárfesta var takmarkaður og almenn þjónusta var hvorki sýnileg né aðgengileg fyrir þá sem vildu stofna fyrirtæki og vera hluti af alþjóðamarkaði. Að frumkvæði Arion banka var ákveðið að koma á fót viðskiptahraðli (business accelerator) sem myndi taka á þessum vandkvæðum. Í samstarfi við Icelandic Startups (áður Klak Innovit) varð því Startup Reykjavík til, sem hefur verið starfræktur síðan þá.
In recent months, Iceland has been noticed by some non-local media for a rather typical Icelandic trait – creativity. Iceland has been acknowledged for years for its music scene, design and literal heritage. But today we are seeing a change in the entrepreneurial environment where startups are beginning to flourish, in the sense that they are gaining international (and local) traction. We see companies receiving funding on levels rarely seen in Iceland.
Startup Reykjavik can be proud today.
One of the portfolio companies of Startup Reykjavik Invest ehf., the investment company that invests in companies participating in Startup Reykjavik, received a little over 2 million USD investment from several investors in their Series A round. The company is Activity Stream from the 2013 cohort.
There are currently four venture capital funds in Iceland – three of them initiated in 2015. The investment capacity of these three is around USD 85 million to be invested in the next 3-4 years.
Historically, this is groundbreaking news for Iceland. Never before has so much funding been allocated to early stage companies. Since 2008, much discussion has been around how Iceland, like any Western country, could grow out of the recession in 2009-2010. Well, local investors, primarily Icelandic pension funds and banks, pulled themselves together, and placed a fraction of their capital to venture capital. This has been excellent to the highly innovative Icelandic startup scene yet capital deprived. At least, McKinsey stated in late 2012 that in order for Iceland to be at the same investment level as the United States, annual investment in early stage companies need be USD 25-30M. Finally, the country is getting closer to that reality. Continue reading