Rising North is a fund that aims to help Nordic startups become global leaders. The fund was launched in October 2016 with a NASDAQ bell ringing as part of the #nordicmade trip to New York.
In her keynote speech at the fund’s launch, Helga Valfells, CEO of NSA Ventures, Iceland, and Steering Board Member at Rising North, said:
“In the Nordics we work hard, we are extremely loyal to our company or our cause and we love technology. It is therefore no surprise that the Nordics have produced a string of very successful technology companies. During the last five years, the Nordics, which account for only 4% of the European population, have produced over 25% of all European exits.”
The fund is operated in Finland by the Startup Foundation, which is a non-profit founded in 2012 to support entrepreneurship and startups. This year, a total of 550 000€ has been reserved to support new projects.
”The Nordics have become one of the leading startup hubs in Europe but that is not enough. With Rising North we want to help the Nordics become one of the leading regions for entrepreneurship and innovation in the world,” says Peik Hämekoski, the Operations Manager for the fund.
Funding ecosystem-building projects
Today, Rising North announces four new projects that have received funding. The latest recipients include the new Nordic.AI festival, a one-day event connecting the brightest minds in artificial intelligence; Nordic Activities at South by Southwest, various smaller events and activities at SXSW Interactive to present Nordic startups; VR-Resan, a trip helping Nordic virtual reality startups with go-to-market in Asia and #NordicMade Showcase, a series of events in California showcasing emerging Nordic startups to US investors, media and industry professionals.
On top of the new projects, Rising North also announces a new member to the Steering Board. The Danish serial entrepreneur and angel investor Esben Gadsbøll joins the multinational Rising North Steering Board which consists of investors, entrepreneurs and industry experts. The board evaluate the applications once a quarter with the goal of identifying the 2-5 projects which to finance. The next deadline for applicants is in two weeks on March 31st.
”Rising North is unique in the sense that we only fund projects that are created jointly by at least three Nordic
organizations. This forces people to work together which isn’t always easy but almost certainly beneficial in the long run.” Hämekoski adds.
Nordic collaboration is one of the key elements in Rising North as the initial funding for the whole fund comes from the Nordic Council of Ministers. With Rising North the local entrepreneurship communities have yet another initiative to start to collaborate with their Nordic colleagues. In a few years we’ll see where that takes the whole Nordic startup ecosystem.