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Startup Guide Reykjavik launched on December 6th

The independent, Berlin-based publishing company Startup Guide is releasing its first guide in Reykjavik. Filled with inspiration, how-to’s, case studies and tips for starting up, the book highlights how to start up a business​ ​in​ ​the​ ​thriving​ ​startup​ ​scene​ ​of​ ​Reykjavik​ ​with​ ​stories​ ​from​ ​local​ ​entrepreneurs.

“Central to Reykjavík’s strategy is a focus on quality of life for our citizens, and embracing a welcoming, personal and warm atmosphere for newcomers, immigrants and our guests,” says Mayor of Reykjavik, Dagur B. Eggertsson. “We want to provide world-class education, an interesting and vibrant cultural scene and a safe city. In short, a place to make things happen, and a place to be. Startup Guide Reykjavik is an excellent overview of the Reykjavik’s startup scene, and we welcome you to use it to explore what our beautiful city has to offer.”

Startup Guide, a creative content and self-publishing company, was founded in 2014 by Sissel Hansen. The company wants to inspire and empower entrepreneurs through creating in-depth guides of startup ecosystems around the world. Other cities they’ve covered include Berlin, Lisbon, London and Tel Aviv.

Small but buzzing Reykjavik has seen a massive increase in the amount of tourists visiting the city in recent years. Its compact but very well-connected startup network enables the startup community to flourish, and this has been captured in the Startup Guide Reykjavik book.

“After being hit by the financial crisis, Reykjavik has mainly regained its current economic power via tourism. The huge number of visitors, a growing housing market and decreasing unemployment are all good signs of a fast-developing country,”Sissel Hansen, CEO and founder of Startup Guide, writes in the introduction. “Reykjavik is often the stopover between Europe and the Americas, and I believe this could become a strong business connection point too.”

She adds: “It’s wonderful to see a small community working so closely together to develop a myriad of new initiatives and projects that reach outside their own country.”

Startup Guide Reykjavik features up-and-coming startups such as Jurt Hydroponics, Aldin Dynamics and Genki Instruments, interviews with local influential people and an overview of the city’s coworking spaces and programs.

The project is sponsored by Reykjavik​ ​City​,​ ​Promote​ ​Iceland​,​ ​NSA​ ​Ventures​ ​and​ ​Arion​ ​Bank​.

The book will be released at the Startup Guide Reykjavik launch event on December 6th, 2017 ​at 4pm ​which ​is open to the public and will take place at Bryggjan Brugghús ​with support from the NSA Ventures​. ​The event is co-hosted by ​the local community partner Icelandic Startups, Northstack and Women Tech Iceland.

The event registration page can be found on Eventbrite.

The book can be pre-ordered at


Highlights from the Icelandic delegation at Slush 2017

This year, a delegation of nearly 100 people from representing startups, investors, media, diplomatic services, industry groups and more, is at Slush. The delegation was planned by Icelandic Startups and Promote Iceland, with participation from Slush and the Icelandic Embassy in Finland.

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NetApp paid $51m in cash for Greenqloud

Yesterday, NetApp released its quarterly results for the quarter ending on October 27th. Amongst other things, the report included a line on the Greenqloud acquisition:

On August 4, 2017, we acquired all of the outstanding shares of Greenqloud ehf., a privately-held provider of cloud management software based in Iceland, for $51 million in cash, of which we preliminarily allocated $10 million to developed technology, $38 million to goodwill, and the remainder to other assets. (src)

As a reminder, the largest shareholders of the company were the following:

  • Kjölur fjárfestingarfélag, 38.8%

  • NSA Ventures, 15.8%

  • Omega Iceland, s.á.r.l (Novator), 13.4%

  • KP ehf. (Birkir Kristinsson), 11.6%

  • Kelly Ireland, 7.5%

  • Meson Holding (Vilhjálmur Þorsteinsson), 1.1%

All investors made a profit on their investment, former CEO Jónsi Stefánsson said in a statement. (And we apologize for making it look like that was not the case before)

All in all, a decent sized exit (the biggest software exit in Iceland since WuXi’s $61m acquisition of NextCODE in Jan 2015).

(Read our longer analysis of the acquisition here)

Updated on Nov 30, 16:11 with correct information on the profit of investors.

Introducing Quarter: A co-working space and community for SaaS companies in Iceland

Several months ago, a SaaS focused co-working space was opened in the old “Morgunblaðshöll.” That space now has a name – Quarter – and they’re hosting their first event (supported by Community Fund) tomorrow – Wednesday Nov 29th between 17 and 19(Facebook link). It’s open to all, with free refreshments at Quarter, the fourth floor of Kringlan 1.

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Authenteq raises $1.3m seed round co-led by Initial Capital and Draper Associates

Icelandic startup Authenteq recently received seed funding from investors from three major tech hubs in the world. The company is working on distributing a blockchain based digital biometric ID to all internet users. The funding rounds, which totalled around $1.3m was co-led by London based Initial Capital and Silicon Valley based Draper Associates. Also investing in the round is Berlin based Cavalry Ventures.

“I see great opportunities in what Authenteq is doing. Their business model is sound, the market is huge and the problem of identity is only growing. For me that’s a sustainable investment project that was started by experienced founders” says investor Tim Draper on why Authenteq caught his eye.

“Getting such a well rounded team of seasoned and well known investors as well as former entrepreneurs is a great acknowledgement of what we’ve been working on”, says Kari Thor.

Authenteq describes its process as “a highly secure automatic process of verifying a person’s real identity without the need for human interaction offers a frictionless method for anyone that has a smartphone and a government issued identity document to verify their identity to a high degree of certainty and assurance.”

“Since every common data point currently used to establish an identity was hacked for almost half the US population we’ve received increased interest from US focused companies that have until the Equifax breach relied heavily on the Social Security Number system for online identity verification,” says CEO and co-founder Kári Thor Runarsson.

“Although that in itself is a very insecure and unreliable verification method, the US focused companies now have the incentive to adopt a more rigorous method for identity verification and we feel an increased interest from consumers that are demanding a method that can verify their identity without the need for them to hand over a whole range of personal information,” Kari adds.

Some of the features of the Authenteq ID is that it is a sovereign digital identity, which means that the user owns and controls the information that is collected and verified. Authenteq in fact does not have access to the user’s information which is heavily encrypted on both the user’s phone and on the blockchain.

The startup has so far been funded by the founders and grants.

“I’ve been extremely proud on how far we have taken Authenteq without taking in outside equity financing. So far we’ve built an amazing and talented team of dedicated people that share our vision and mission, but now was the time to shift up a couple of gears and increase our team size as well as benefit from the amazing experience and portfolio network of our investors.” continues Kari Thor.

The company is currently working on pilot projects with a selection of companies it plans to launch with early in 2018.

This funding round brings the total raised by the company to around $2m, the rest of which has been in mostly non-equity grants.

The Nordic Web launches angel fund to invest across the Nordics

The Nordic Web, a long time collaborator of Northstack and one of the main resources for data and analysis on the Nordic startup ecosystem, just announced its angel fund. Neil Murray, founder of the Nordic Web, leads the fund, which is backed by more than 50 investors across the ecosystem.

“I’m proud that The Nordic Web Angel Fund is backed by more than 50 people who wish to play an active role in directly supporting the ecosystem in the Nordics,” says Neil Murray, founder of the fund. “By leveraging the expertise and knowledge of our investors in the fund, we can offer unrivalled support in helping early-stage Nordic startups, with access to a whole community behind them.”

The fund will invest in 10-15 early stage Nordic startups over the next twelve months, which would make it one of the most active funds in the region.

A number of investors in the fund are individuals active in the Icelandic startup scene – including Georg Lúðvíksson, founder of Meniga; Helga Valfells, Hekla Arnardóttir, and Jenný Ruth Hrafnsdóttir of Crowberry Capital, and Kristinn Hrobjartsson, of Northstack.

More info on the fund here.

Disclosure: Kristinn Hrobjartsson (me), co-founder of Northstack, is an investor in the fund.

Memento launches new money pooling service in their mobile wallet solution

Memento, together with Islandsbanki, just deployed a new service allowing anyone to raise money together (or as Icelanders say it: leggja í púkk) with a group of friends, co-workers, fellow students or the whole community. The service has now been added as a new feature in the digital wallet app Kass.

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Icelandic biotech innovation invited to India

Two Icelandic companies have been invited to participate at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) to be held in Hyderabad, India, next week. The companies are Platome Biotechnology, represented by its CEO Sandra Mjöll Jónsdóttir-Buch, and Kerecis, represented by its CEO Guðmundur Fertram Sigurjónsson

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New startup career fair to help Nordic startups attract international talent

The following is a guest post from our friends at Founders House.

The Nordic startups need talent. Everything from highly experienced CMOs to that kickass intern that help you set up a new lead generation cycle. The best candidates we see are often referred by personal network such as the early international employees, previous colleagues with startup experience, and don’t underestimate the expats and spouses.

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OZ Sports among seven companies to participate in first Nordic Scalers program

OZ Sports – previously known simply as Oz – is one of the seven companies chosen to participate in the first edition of Nordic Scalers. Nordic Scalers is a six month scaling program that connects chosen startups to mentors to help them scale in the US. Icelandic Startups is the local partner for Nordic Scalers.

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Nortstack – Reporting and analysis of the Icelandic startup scene