We are all aware of the fact that Norway is relatively traditional when it comes to investments. We’ve seen an uptick in the interest for startups the past 3–4 years, which seems to escalate, but largely the focus is on real estate, oil and shipping related industries as well as seafood (and we’re undeniably world class at this stuff).
As startup founders ourselves, we know how different it is to pitch an idea to American early stage investors vs. Norwegian ones. We all understand that investing in what you know well is preferred to investing in unproven technology with the perhaps even more unknown outcome. However, we feel it’s time to ignite some change in mentality.
A vision of the future
We have a vision of the future that includes a society with self-driving cars, electric airplanes, a revolutionized food industry, production industry, health industry, bank & insurance industry (and more), and eventually a working artificial general intelligence. On the exponential road ahead, we believe that Norway should take a greater part in the innovation. As an example, to date, about $755 million has been invested in AI related companies in the UK. Norway? Likely less than $2 million. It’s so small that finding the exact number is hard.
We took the initiative to start Norwegian.ai because we love exponential technology and we love startups. The fund will be managed by a professional team with fund experience and have advisors to help it make the right investments. Fundamental to the fund is that we believe technology can solve most of the world’s pressing problems, and we’d like to fund founders that set out to solve these.
Another element to our grand plan is the need for Norway to create new jobs eventually. There are clear indications that during the next five years we’ll see certain developments drastically reducing the need for human workers, a trend that will only further increase year for year. One of our portfolio companies have developed and operates autonomous trucks on public roads. Next month they will demonstrate a 24h continuous, completely autonomous, route in Nevada with their Semi trailer. This is today. In five years, fewer truck drivers.
One of the best countries in the world
By investing heavily in creating a hub, culture, knowledge, and innovation within AI we can create new jobs in these new times. This, of course, will require much more than our initial capital of 1 billion NOK. Probably 20–50x that. But, as one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and the leading nation in many traditional industries, we can do it! I mean, why wouldn’t we do it?
For the ones that have a different view of the future, we completely respect that. We suggest, in that case, that the fund act as a hedge to significant investments in traditional industries. Hedging is always smart.
Lastly, we want to make it very clear that the long-term plan must be a team effort between all future thinkers, and all incubators, accelerators, universities, angel investors, and hopefully our government. We invite everyone to join us in a pursuit to ignite Norway as a hub for exponential technology, and ultimately increase our chances of a good future.
Drop us a line if you would like to join us.
On behalf of the Founders,