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A healthy ecosystem for FinTech innovation in Norway, out of the ashes of oil

It is no secret that the money contained within the Norwegian wealth management fund is derived from the discovery and appropriate use of the oil reserves that were found off the shore of Norway. What is more, the continued growth of the fund has been a direct result of the continued investment into the oil industry over the past few decades. But it seems that the recent lowering of oil prices, as well as the continued push for renewable and sustainable energy sources, has been reason enough for Norway to start divesting from oil and other fossil fuels. They have been seeing the gradual decrease in the efficiency of performance from these companies and have deemed it reason enough to start looking for other areas to invest in.

The resulting drive towards alternative investment has caused a startup and technological innovation renaissance in the already quite tech savvy Norway. The fund is not looking to invest just outside but is looking within the borders to find valuable investment opportunities. In doing so, Norway has managed to allow the creation of more than 800 startups within the country, with a significant number of these startups exploring technological advancements that might be useful to the Fintech field.

The tech boom of Norway

Robin Peterson from the news service of Norske Casino website suggests that the divestment from oil resulted in a need for some new potential investments, and the Sovereign Wealth Fund saw value where it had not looked for it too much before. While the fund is also heavily concentrating on the field of renewables, a portion of the investment, that is significant in size, is currently being directed towards technological start-ups. The majority of these startups are software based, looking to work on highly advanced technologies. These include machine learning techs, big data processing tech, as well as a number of innovative Fintech solutions.

A number of venture capital firms within Norway, beyond the sovereign wealth fund, have been looking to start investing in these Fintech companies and innovative start-ups as well. According to them, Oslo is quickly becoming more and more attractive to research centres, labs, innovative centres and so on as they the amount of investment into technology and the number of startups within the country grows. According to the investment funds, they are more and more excited to see these developments take place, as they make the startup ecosystem healthier and more diverse.

And as the ecosystem grows and becomes more diverse, more and more opportunities arise within the country to start working on projects that were not necessarily possible before. More young people are looking towards starting their own companies that concentrate on technological solutions. One investment that has already been showing results and producing interesting results for the financial industry within the country has been the 11: FS investment done by the Norwegian DNB. After 8 months of work, the 11: FS banking architecture system was created, which is unique and efficient, beating a number of banking architecture systems around the world in terms of both. The DNB was extremely excited to help fund this change, as the Norwegian banking systems and industry seemingly has been in dire need of an update for a long time.

Keeping an eye for opportunity

The current state of the Norwegian startup market gives those who are keeping an eye on it hope, that there is more to come. The level of investment into startups, Fintech, and otherwise interesting companies has been having a positive net effect on the entire economy. With more and more startups coming every year, there is bound to be a firm that creates a piece of software that might be exceptionally innovative in terms of Fintech. It is also worth looking at the Norwegian ecosystem and considering investing time and effort into working with it. The technological potential for this country seems to be unlimited when it comes to financial technologies and new, innovative solutions to old problems. Having a vested interest in divesting from oil makes it one of the few countries in the world that will be moving rapidly towards new tech in order to support its growing sovereign wealth fund. 


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Konstantin Rabin

Konstantin Rabin

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18 Aug 2015



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