What role the state should play in forming a healthy startup environment

Nordic Startup Bits have interviewed some of the most prominent Nordic VC’s, Gregers Kronborg from Northzone, Martin Hauge from Creandum, and Niels Vejrup from SEED Capital about their view on the Nordic startup scene.

In the series of articles Nordic Startup Bits will look at the most promising, the worst and the biggest challenges on the Nordic startup scene based on the interviews. The third article will look at what role the state should play in forming a healthy startup environment. Gregers Kronborg thinks it is difficult for Nordic VC’s to raise money from private investors because for them individually Denmark, Norway and Sweden is subscale from a management perspective.

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“It is a condition for venture cases that the states continue to subsidies the Nordic VC’s and as the environment matures they support with larger amounts. If we look at the USA even though the market for VC’s is a lot more mature, the state continues to indirectly subsidize the ecosystem, so we need to do that in the Nordic countries as well. At the same time we need angels and super angels that have exited a startup and can contribute to the environment.”, Gregers Kronborg, Northzone Capital

Martin Hauge from Creandum has another view on which role the state should play. He thinks that the state should contribute with capital to early-stage startups with accelerator programs like Startupbootcamp and Accellerace. But the public sector should not play a leading role at the later stage.

“The state should change the current tax legislation for warrants to make it easier for Nordic Startups to get high quality employees from other countries. The current tax legislation for warrants is inefficient and a change will make the Nordics a more a competitive environment.” – Martin Hauge, Creandum

A substantial question is if there is enough of venture capital in the Nordic countries to fund the startups that have a big need for investment. Martin Hauge emphasizes that if you compare the amount and availability of Venture Capital to the size of the Nordic countries we probably have sufficient capital to fund the most promising Nordic startups.

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Niels Vejrup, from SEED Capital, thinks the state plays an important role when it comes to the creation of successful nordic startups. We have across the Nordic region established some safe and caring societies that are based on the welfare system. On the other hand Niels Vejrup thinks we have some challenges in the global competition when it comes to create very large and successful companies.

“We have too few very rich serial entrepreneur and business angels that have the money it takes to invest in interesting early-stage startups. It is difficult to change fundamentally without change the tax system radically. Because of that it is important that the state support early stage startups which they already do through ‘Vækstfonden’, ‘innovationsmiljøordningen’ and many other initiative.” – Niels Vejrup, SEED Capital