Norways New Wave: Hardware
NorWare – From the humble cheese slice to the wooden ski, Norwegian inventors have brought the world many great things. Today, with hardware startups like No Isolation and PodBike reaching international success, Norway's inventors are back and Hardware looks like the new wave!
A question I receive a lot is, “what will Norway be known for”? The Swedes are renowned for consumer tech, with Spotify and King, whilst the Danes hold expertise in Foodtech and SaaS thanks to Just East and Podio. Leaving the Fins and Icelanders with gaming, boasting a stream of companies that include Supercell and QuizUp respectively. So where is Norway placed in all of this?
Well, in my previous article; Why Norway? Why Now! We established that Norway’s startup ecosystem has been booming over the last 5-years. One emerging trend that has been driving this growth is Hardware. The companies listed below have featured more so than any other vertical in international headlines this year.
BlueEyeRobotics; An underwater drone for subsea exploration. Proving to be a game changer for underwater conservation worldwide.
PodBike; A human-powered road legal e-bike with electric assist, with NOK 50M+ in pre-sales.
FlowMotion; Smartphone stabiliser for on the move videography, raised $1.3M on Kickstarter.
No Isolation; A smart robot that reduces loneliness and isolation amongst children suffering from long-term illnesses. Trialing with many medical organisations.
ReMarkable, A revolutionary paper-like digital notepad, as of May reached $12M in presales.
Huddly; Have reinvented the camera, to disrupt the remote office video conferencing space. Are also 1 of the only 9 Norwegian startups to raise a $10M+ round this year.
One thing they all have in common, they are all hardware (hardware, software, services) companies founded and led by innovative Norwegian inventors. An interesting characteristic of the Norwegian market, but why?
To understand what place the inventor hold’s within Norwegian society. One only needs to watch a Norwegian Christmas classic ‘Flåklypa’; a story about an inventor named Reodor Felgen who builds a race car in his workshed ‘Snekkerbu’, to realise this is a nation inspired by invention. It seems that almost every household has a Smørebu’ (Ski Shed/ Man Cave), harboring a proud hobbyist inventor. But what good is a country of introverted hobbyist inventors? One such organisation that has professionalised and accelerated this once hidden private activity, is Creator MakerSpace in Stavanger. A co-working space unlike any, containing topline 3D printers, industrial molding machines and CAD modeling software that would not be out of place in Snøhetta (The architects behind the Oslo opera house). With many of the companies listed above starting out as passion projects, it seems that in the case of this Nordic country, tradition and culture is the mother of all invention.
So thanks to these hardware pioneers (listed above) proving there is global appetite for Norwegian invention. With the help of crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter making passion projects marketable, Hardware just might be Norway's thing! Thanks for reading, thanks Andreas for your cultural influence, more to come.