Oslo-based VC firm SNÖ Ventures has launched a new $100m fund for Nordic tech companies, and is welcoming billionaire Peter Thiel as an investor and strategic partner.
This is the firm’s second fund, and will focus on early stage, high-growth companies from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Denmark.
“The international venture and tech community are focusing more and more on the Nordic region, and we are positioning ourselves to be the local partner who works closely with global funds,” says SNÖ’s Max Samuel. Samuel joined the firm after working for Thiel Capital, where he helped Thiel develop his Nordic investment thesis.
The announcement comes as PayPal and Palantir founder Thiel is now furiously investing into European tech, just three years on from his infamous comment that there were “no successful tech companies in Europe”.
Thiel’s backed a number of Nordic companies in recent years, including PortalOne and Tibber in Norway ane Spotify in Sweden. PortalOne was a co-investment alongside SNÖ.
“Peter has a global network of the world’s premier entrepreneurs and tech investors at all stages, from pre-seed to public markets,” says Samuel.
“This gives SNÖ and its portfolio companies unrivalled access to funding, strategic guidance, exit opportunities, events and deal flow.”
Portfolio companies will be able to receive guidance from Thiel and his office on growth and scaling.
SNÖ’s first fund deployed 100 MNOK (around $12m) and invested in five companies: football tech company Be Your Best; hybrid games company PortalOne; procurement platform Ignite Procurement; video calling tool Confrere and team work platform Kitemaker.
The new fund will have a similarly broad investment focus, though Samuel says the firm’s particularly interested in the space sector.
It’s an area Norway’s historically strong on, he says, and the country’s also home to Andøya Space, continental Europe’s best-funded spaceport.
“The space sector represents our overall strategy well: leverage our local access to find unique and promising Nordic companies, support those companies with hands-on guidance at each step of their global growth journey, and connect them with the international venture and tech ecosystems to fuel global growth.”
Samuel says Norway’s also interesting at the moment because of the cultural and political shift away from oil and gas investment and into tech and entrepreneurship.
Sweden, Samuel says, is strong on AI, sustainability and consumer internet products, while Denmark is more generalist, with a particular focus on fintech recently.
Overall, Samuel says, the Nordics continue to attract interest from around the world, though there’s still significant value left to unlock. The decentralisation of the global startup community also means Nordic founders are starting to stay in the region longer, rather than heading to the US, he says.