The Nordic Pitch
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am happy to have the opportunity to welcome you all to the Nordic Pitch.
I would like to start with a Norwegian saying:
"Collaborate when you can, compete when you have to". This saying reflects our Nordic culture of fierce independence, balanced by shared social values and sense of solidarity.
I have just been at the Olympics in Pyeongchang. There we were competing with Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Denmark. But here in Austin, our countries are joining forces to promote the Nordic brand. Whether large or small, our companies offer valuable solutions, and we are united to compete in the global market.
Together, our countries have 26 million inhabitants and the region as a whole is the world’s 12th largest economy. Although we have only 3 % of Europe’s population, we have produced 50 % of Europe’s unicorns. Spotify, Klarna, Supercell, Rovio, Zendesk, Linux, Opera – and the list goes on...
Today, at the Nordic Pitch, we will be hearing from five promising new companies: Penstable from Denmark, Lexplore from Sweden, Mightifier from Finland and No Isolation and Diwala from Norway.
They have been selected by a jury based on their exceptional technology, research-based insight or unique business model. These companies are internationally scalable and are all working towards at least one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Making the world a better place is not just a talking point for these companies, it is their vision. If you share their vision, talk to them, invest in them, partner with them or buy their solutions.
Nordic startup companies are used to cooperating in the American market - many of them share office space in the Nordic innovation houses in New York and in Palo Alto. I was there for the opening of the one in Palo Alto in 2011, and have since been involved in the community and experienced its power.
Companies learn from each other, inspire each other and they help each other to improve through their networks and shared experience. During this event, for the rest of South by Southwest, and after having returned home, let us all continue in that same spirit of collaboration.
On a final note, I would like to take the opportunity to invite you to Norway and Oslo Innovation Week in September this year. Oslo Innovation Week is a place for people to share global solutions, an event that connects the international community to the Nordic region, and that creates connections between startups, corporates and investors.
I would particularly like to thank Oslo Business Region for organising this special event on behalf of all the partners.
I’m truly happy so many of you have found your way to this event this afternoon. Thank you for coming – and enjoy the pitches!