#NordicMade 2019

The story of the hashtag created to pool news on the Nordic technology and startup scene and unite the Nordic startup ecosystem, #NordicMade.

#NordicMade is a community-based movement for branding, marketing and outreach, to promote both regional and international awareness of Nordic tech. Its vision is that by unifying key Nordic messages and encompassing the entire Nordic startup ecosystem under one brand the entire region can attract more international talent, get better access to funding for startups, gain market expansion through stronger networks, enhance the integration of best practices through knowledge-sharing, and further build a community across borders.

#NordicMade is a place for content. It’s an umbrella for Nordic meetups, events, collaboration, and representation globally. #NordicMade platforms gather and promote news on the Nordic tech scene, and facilitate the #NordicMade community.

The community organises meet-ups and coordinates #NordicMade visits abroad including company excursions, events and showcases. #NordicMade also gathers information about the most relevant startup and tech events in the Nordic countries to share with you.

Newest

In 2019 the #NordicMade network will be made more official. It will set out to fulfill the commitment that was taken with the #NordicMade manifesto in 2017.

Making #NordicMade more official will help the entire Nordic startup ecosystem gain more leverage and become more systematic. Maria 01, together with Slush and TechBBQ, received initial “seed” funding from the Nordic Council of Ministers’ branding instrument, The Nordics, to hire a Head of #NordicMade. Alexander Proctor, previous Operations Manager for Rising North, was hired in January 2019.

“ #NordicMade will become a stronger rallying point for the entire Nordic startup ecosystem. Together the ecosystem can pool a greater audience, gain more far-reaching global visibility, and coordinate common Nordic efforts.”
– Alexander Proctor, Head of #NordicMade

#NordicMade hired a marketing agency to broaden the visual identity and strengthen the #NordicMade brand, build a communications strategy and content plans for 2019. In the future the #NordicMade network will be provided with a brandkit that educates on and offers tools for promoting the Nordic technology scene globally, among other things. In 2019 #NordicMade has already redone the www.nordicmade.org website.

The ownership of #NordicMade will always lie with the entire Nordic startup ecosystem. The hiring of a Head of #NordicMade enables broadening and educating the network and better coordinating the Nordic startup ecosystem towards common goals.

“The Nordics can more than stand on their own for both investments and exits on a European and global level. So, let’s drop the “per capita” rhetoric once and for all. Let’s start talking about having 10+ billion dollar exits, not about having 27 million people.”
– Neil Murray (www.nordics.vc)

It’s time to update the Nordic rhetoric on the region’s startup scene. Join the effort.

#NordicMade just did a redo of www.nordicmade.org. Go check it out.

#NordicMade is now also live on:

Twitter (est 2015) — https://twitter.com/NordicMade
Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/nordicmadehq/
Linkedin — https://www.linkedin.com/company/nordicmade

Below you can read further on parts of the #NordicMade [hi]stories. Disclaimer: #NordicMade collaboration has been happening in many places in many ways — the stories below are but a fraction. It’s a long read.

#NordicMade — Get the whole Nordic startup story

In 2015 Nordic Innovation, the Business {insert country name} of the Nordics, announced that the Nordic startup community had joined forces. Back then Dmitri Sarle, CEO of ArcticStartup, said that “although we cover different stories, from different angles and in different languages, our goals are the same — to help promote the scene, connect the communities, create companies”.

The belief was that the Nordics could raise more attention to the notable Nordic startup scene as a whole rather than individual countries. #NordicMade began “to let the world know about all the exciting startup stories from the region”.

Together we are stronger

Frederik Waitz Søborg worked as a Communications Advisor for Nordic Innovation in 2014. Although #NordicMade has many authors, Frederik is known as the initiator. He was the one who invited some of the most active startup journalists to the initial meeting, in the summer of 2014, from which #NordicMade began.

In May 2014 at a meeting in Mývatn, a volcanic lake in northern Iceland, the Nordic Prime Ministers concluded that there was a need to promote Nordic coordination and visibility. One emphasis was “to work on regional branding, with the aim of strengthening the competitiveness of the Nordic countries”. What followed was the Strategy for International Branding of the Nordic Region 2015–2018.

When it comes to business and innovation, Nordic Innovation is in charge of figuring out how to implement strategies issued by the Nordic Council of Ministers. “We had to figure out how to reach the vague descriptions in the political programme”, says Frederik Waitz Søborg. This was how he came about to invite Nordic startup media together. #NordicMade became apart of Nordic Partnership for Entrepreneurship and Financing, a Nordic Innovation Lighthouse Project, in 2015.

“Nordic Innovation wanted to be a spider in the web in which #NordicMade was the web that connected all the players in the media and when the web was complete we (Nordic Innovation) could pull out and go work on something else.”
– Frederik Waitz Søborg, Danske Bryggeri

Action areas of the Nordic Lighthouse Project, Nordic Partnership for Entrepreneurship and Financing:

@ Nordic insights, optimization and alignment of framework conditions
@ Improving Nordic entrepreneurs’ scaling and go to market capabilities
@ Helping startups attract Nordic and international talent
@ Promoting Nordic region’s growth entrepreneurship scene
@ Improving access to capital for young scalable Nordic companies

One hashtag to unite them all

“One aim was to brand the Nordics as a great place to do startups. Then we were like ‘it’s just me in an office in Norway, but there’s so much going on on the ground.” Frederik’s goal was to “compile all those efforts, make each contribution to entrepreneurship a layer in this Nordic pie.”

“I hosted a few meetings with the community builders. I went for startup media to begin with. There was this bridge towards community building, they were media but they had almost become community builders. In the first meeting they were sceptic, worried about stealing from each other, but everyone realised quite fast that sharing each others’ stuff would just lead to a larger audience for all.”
– Frederik Waitz Søborg, Danske Bryggeri

The initial gathering collected Dmitri Sarle from ArcticStartup, Neil Murray from the Nordic Web, Karsten Deppert working on Öresund Startups, Pia Elmegård and Daniel Laursen from Trendsonline.dk and “two Swedish guys from Breakit (if you recocgnise yourselves, shout out to #NordicMade).

“We actually just created the hashtag because we wanted some form of collaboration. A few months later other organisations started to use the hashtag, they tapped into the brand. It got completely out of control in the best possible way. Then we realised there’s a real need, let’s dive into this. A lot of stuff happened, not coordinated in any way. People meeting up for coffee and talking about developing Nordic cooperation.”
– Pia Elmegård, Growth Tribe

2015 Launch

“Sometimes to communicate something inside the Nordics, it’s better to communicate it outside the Nordics.”
– Frederik Waitz Søborg, Danske Bryggeri

Frederik’s task was to find the key players in the Nordic ecosystems, ask them if they saw any relevance and invite them to be apart of #NordicMade. ArcticStartup registered the nordicmade.org domain to collect the use of #NordicMade into one place.

“In the beginning, I was the central coordinator of #NordicMade. I was lucky to meet a Slush employee early on in 2015. We talked about how to collaborate. Slush was doing so much for the Nordic ecosystem. They ‘took over’ #NordicMade.” Fredrik’s encounter with Slush lead to the first #NordicMade trip, the #NordicMade Delegation to New York City, already in August 2015.

Photo by Slush/Jenny Jungell.

Ding dong!

“Tuesday 25 August, people passing Times Square in New York City could not help but notice the Nordic startup community. The ever-present Nasdaq Tower was dressed in red as the stock market closing bell rang, featuring the newly launched #nordicmade hashtag.”
– Nordic Innovation, 2015

#NordicMade was launched at NASDAQ in New York, August 25th 2015. Eleven of the most influential Nordic startup organisations came together, went to New York along with 10 Nordic startups to launch #NordicMade on Times Square, just a year after #NordicMade had been initiated.

Slush
Aaltoes
Startuplifers
SUP46
SESS
Icelandic Startups
#CPHFTW
Founders House
Startup Norway
MESH
StartupLab

Photo by Slush/Jenny Jungell. Tarmo Virki, currently working for Reuters, and Dmitri Sarle, in collaboration with the Nordic Tech Writer Network, produced the first #NordicMade edition of CoFounder magazine to boost the New York visit.

Slush took over leadership in organising #NordicMade trips, with other newer #NordicMade organisations, such as SUP46, Icelandic Startups, and Startup Norway joining in more heavily. Nordic startup media continued uniting by arranging tech writer meetups, the first of which took place at TechBBQ 2015 and second at Slush 2015. A Nordic Tech Writer Network began forming.

Nordic Tech Writer Network

Øresund Startups
CoFounder
ArcticStartup
Trendsonline
3in
Hybe
The Nordic Web
Silicon Vikings
Nordic Startup Bits

“What I liked with #NordicMade meetups at events was that a feeling kind of emerged, that Slush and TechBBQ became hubs. That could be scaled to STHLM Tech Fest, Startup Extreme… Like having meetings when people meet anyway.”
– Karsten Deppert, Øresund Startups

Our Nordic Year

Video by Slush. Projected on Times Square during #NordicMade visit to NYC in 2016

2016 was a year of delegation trips. #NordicMade events took place in Tokyo, Copenhagen, New York, Singapore, Shanghai and Helsinki.

“Slush is determined to strengthen the cohesion between the Nordic startup communities in order to build traction in the Nordics globally. For Slush, it’s important to be a part of building the #NordicMade community, to showcase Nordic startups, inspire students and help the next world conquering Nordic game changers forward.”
– Jessica Blechinberg, Slush (2017)

2016 was also a year of meetings

“Since 2016, we spent like a year on how to structure #NordicMade, how to formalise it.”
– Pia Elmegård

During 2016 #NordicMade held a series of meetings in which the network began to discuss formalising of the network under the hashtag.

“We did workshops with community people, having talks on how to collaborate on Nordic activities. For a few years there was quite a few of these activities going on. But it was a lot of these sort of think-tank workshops, we talk a lot, but never really do a lot.” Jonas Almeling, from Business Sweden, had been involved in Nordic startup ecosystem communities since around 2010.

“One of the very simple ideas we had back then was that all of these community partners are already creating content. They’re doing so much all the time, all that needs to be done is to just tapp into that. Not focus on producing our own content. Something as simple as we’re going to make sure we get all the newsletters and news from all the others and promote their news, events, stories, and pitches.”
– Pia Elmegård

The #NordicMade Manifesto

“The leaders of Nordics’ main startup community leaders met yesterday in Copenhagen to draft a manifesto that formalizes the #NordicMade community into a strategic partnership.”
– Nordic Business Insider (2017)

In 2017, seventeen leaders of the Nordic startup ecosystem community formalised #NordicMade and signed the #NordicMade manifesto.

The founding organisations:

Aaltoes — Finland
Angel Challenge — Norway
ArcticStartup — Finland
#CPHFTW — Denmark
Founders House — Denmark
Icelandic Startups — Iceland
Maria 01 — Finland
MESH — Norway
Nordic.AI — Nordic
NordicStartupBits — Nordic
Øresund Startups — Sweden
Slush — Finland
Startup Sauna — Finland
Startuplifers — Finland
SUP46 — Sweden
TechBBQ — Denmark
The Nordic Web — Nordic

Through #NordicMade, the seventeen organisations committed to:

- Attract international talent to the region
- Better access to funding for startups
- Market expansion through stronger networks
- Integration of best practices through knowledge-sharing
- Community building across borders

“Our main focus in the next few weeks is for us to make a more structured organisation for NordicMade including exploring the possibility of hiring a Head of NordicMade and appointing a board,” said Neil Murray, founder and editor-in-chief of The Nordic Web.
– Nordic Business Insider (2017)

Rising North fund 2016–2018

Photo by Aamumehu. Rising North was operated by Startup Foundation. Alexander Proctor, Operations Manager for Rising North; Kaarlo Väisänen, CEO of Startup Foundation; Eva Fogdell, Marketing Manager for Rising North (left to right).

“Today, it is my honor to launch an initiative called the Rising North. The Rising North is a €1.5 million fund to support the internationalization of the Nordic startup ecosystem, to be allocated over the next three years to joint Nordic projects to accelerate the region.”
– Helga Valfells, Crowberry Capital and Member of the Steering Board for Rising North

Rising North project was a three-year impact fund in 2016–2018 to support the branding, cross-collaboration and internationalisation of the Nordic startup ecosystem. The project was financed as a part of the Finnish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Rising North financed a total of 40 pan-Nordic initiatives involving 97 different organising organisations. Each initiative had to involve a minimum of three different organisations from three different Nordic countries — Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

21% of Rising North funded projects were branded #NordicMade, receiving a total of almost 260,000 euros in funding.

“Rising North also helped to build networks under the #NordicMade theme. Beyond its subprojects, Rising North also participated in organising a number of #NordicMade get-togethers. The teambuilding events arranged in Helsinki, Copenhagen, Reykjavik, Oslo, and Stockholm helped participants to create cross-border contacts and brainstorm new ideas on how to build the ecosystem.”
– Nordics Together, final report of Rising North

Rising North projects took Nordic startup ecosystem actors to 16 different markets in nine different countries on three different continents. 292 startups were taken outside the Nordics.

Rising North drew from The Nordic Cooperation Programme for Innovation and Business Policy 2014–2017 and Strategy for International Branding of the Nordic Region 2015–2018 and identified six key challenges facing the Nordic startup ecosystem: talent, capital, policy, go-to-market, visibility, and representation. Each funded project addressed at least one of these challenges.

For more on Rising North go to www.risingnorth.org.

#NordicMade in 2019

In 2019 the #NordicMade network will be made more official. It will set out to fulfill the commitment that was taken with the #NordicMade manifesto in 2017.

Making #NordicMade more official will help the entire Nordic startup ecosystem gain more leverage and become more systematic. Maria 01, together with Slush and TechBBQ, received initial “seed” funding from the Nordic Council of Ministers’ branding instrument, The Nordics, to hire a Head of #NordicMade. Alexander Proctor, previous Operations Manager for Rising North, was hired in January 2019.

“ #NordicMade will become a stronger rallying point for the entire Nordic startup ecosystem. Together the ecosystem can pool a greater audience, gain more far-reaching global visibility, and coordinate common Nordic efforts.”
– Alexander Proctor, Head of #NordicMade

#NordicMade hired marketing agency to broaden the visual identity and strengthen the #NordicMade brand, build a communications strategy and content plans for 2019. In the future the #NordicMade network will be provided with a brandkit that educates on and offers tools for promoting the Nordic technology scene globally. In 2019 #NordicMade has already redone the www.nordicmade.org website.

#NordicMade is a place for content. It’s an umbrella for Nordic meetups, events, collaboration, and representation globally. #NordicMade platforms gather and promote news on the Nordic tech scene, and facilitate the #NordicMade community.

The community organises meet-ups and coordinates #NordicMade visits abroad including company excursions, events and showcases. #NordicMade also gathers information about the most relevant startup and tech events in the Nordic countries to share.

The ownership of #NordicMade will always lie with the entire Nordic startup ecosystem. The hiring of the head of #NordicMade enables broadening and educating the network and better coordinating the Nordic startup ecosystem towards common goals.

“The Nordics can more than stand on their own for both investments and exits on a European and global level. So, let’s drop the “per capita” rhetoric once and for all. Let’s start talking about having 10+ billion dollar exits, not about having 27 million people.”

– Neil Murray (www.nordics.vc)

It’s time to update the Nordic rhetoric on the region’s startup scene. Join the effort: https://forms.gle/QKSHYWSFZAsBSXr98

— — —

#NordicMade just did a redo of www.nordicmade.org. Go check it out.

#NordicMade is now also live on:

Twitter (est 2015) — https://twitter.com/NordicMade
Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/nordicmadehq/
Linkedin — https://www.linkedin.com/company/nordicmade