Shifter’s Norway Roundup #9: Identity beyond oil, smarter telemarketing and the EdTech double down
Shifter’s international editor Kyle Havlicek-McClenahan brings you the essential news from the Norwegian tech scene.
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Well, that’s fair
The 17th of May, a half century later
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Norway’s discovery of oil in the North Sea and, perhaps controversially, could be considered the true beginning of independence for the country. Sovereignty takes many forms: individual agency, collective bargaining, national prominence; what is celebrated every year on this day is a mixture of old and new, of cultures and traditions and tales of how far we’ve come.
But these celebrations were only made possible by something that has become our world’s greatest vice: oil. And the rise of Norway as an oil-based economy and socially democratic welfare state is nothing short of miraculous.
So yes, there is much to take joy in, whether on your first or third bottle of bubbly - but keep in mind the consequences that have yet to play out on our future, and how impossible it may be to maintain the lives we have grown so accustomed to.
To all those out there working on creating the New Norwegian Economy, remember this: it is not just this welfare state we work to preserve, for that may be a fool’s errand. No, from now on we must talk about our global welfare, for it will take all of us to protect our May flowers. So let’s get on it, then! Gratulerer med dagen som var, kjære lesere!
From oil to EdTech, with a side of gravlaks
Building an identity beyond oil
While many are now pointing to EdTech as a salve for the country’s yet-established tech identity, Jan van Oord of investor network Pymwymic sees recent successes as an inroad for broader acknowledgement of underlying potential in the ecosystem. While having a foot in the door of tech identity is a start, the real bottom line is the confirmation of impact - of any kind.
Hotspots in a historically cold environment
For years, Norwegian startups have struggled to attract the attention of their Nordic peers. But with a record number of international VC funds eyeing the region, Norway has been able to stand out and offer more than just fish or oil to would-be investors. Even non-EdTech success stories are on the rise, something that could result in a positive feedback loop in the future.
Goodbye to uninvited dinner guests?
Money in the bank for intelligent telephone sales
I know what you’re thinking, “But I love getting telemarketer calls during dinner!” For the saner among us, the €500k pre-seed raised by NTNU Accel alumnus Headshed will come as a relief: smarter telephone sales for today’s customer relationship management. Among the promises are better organizational oversight, automation and less reliance on volume.
Moving beyond volume in an era of blocked numbers
And while quality over quantity sounds like a good thing - it certainly is for those of us who have a double digit block list on our smartphones - their goals go beyond a better customer experience. Headshed hopes to help centers from spray and pray to insightful analyses that could one day mean we could get unsolicited calls we actually want to receive.
The EdTech double down
Kahoot goes 2 for 2 in Poio acquisition
Fast on the heels of last week’s Dragonbox acquisition, Kahoot is making good on its promises of “more, soon” with the announcement that it is buying reading game maker Poio for €5.8m in cash and stocks. While this might be the least surprising announcement of the month, it highlights one key point: both companies were as proximate as can be to their would-be exiteer.
Double down, we meant only getting started
As Kahoot’s content aspirations come to fruition in real time, questions about scaling and who’s next become much more real. Despite the company’s headcount nearly doubling from 60 to 100 in less than a month, the Kahoot is still actively looking “the world over” for more acquisition targets in its goal of transitioning into a fully fledged EdTech platform. Game on!
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