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– It’s an exciting time to tap into the Oslo ecosystems of AI

Marianne Jansson Bjerkman is the Cluster Manager for Cluster for Applied AI, a business cluster focusing on the adoption of AI in Norway. Here are some of her tips to European investors considering the Norwegian market.

Invest in Applied Ai

Why should investors look to the Norwegian AI sector?

– First of all, in certain domains, we have some of the best data sets in the world which are the baseline for developing trustworthy and highly accurate AI algorithms, which of course is crucial for product success. We also have unique incentives for building and supporting new companies, a great Norwegian research environment, and an inclusive socio-economic system that fosters entrepreneurship and innovation. It’s definitely an area with lots of opportunities within different domains that lets us make better use of the resources we already have, or create novel products and business models.

What do companies in Norway and the Oslo region offer that other cities and countries don’t?

– As Norway is a fairly small domestic market, Norwegian AI companies normally think global very early and hence have scaling potential across the borders. We also come from a tradition with deep competencies in handling raw materials, which is a great base for tech companies specializing in energy, circular economy, and logistics. However, the Norwegian AI sector seems to foster a broad range of companies, and we see a lot of cross-industry products that are applicable in almost every domain.

In general, Norwegian companies are known for fostering inclusive environments and the ethical perspective is a very important part of the company culture. The same goes for the sustainability aspect that is rapidly becoming more important to Norwegian businesses. We see that AI companies follow this tradition and that they sometimes even take form as tools to enhance and measure the effect of ethical and sustainability actions.

We also have a great environment for supporting startups. Our government clearly sees how important open innovation is and is making funding available for this purpose. This means the risk of investments are lower.

What are valuable opportunities in the sector right now?

– In general, very exciting things are happening in the field of AI at the moment. Data capability and supercomputers let us run math-heavy algorithms we haven’t been able to run before, and exciting new technologies in decentralized learning and visualization allow us to work with data in safer, more cost-efficient, and user-friendly ways.

A lot of new AI initiatives are popping up in different sectors as we speak. They’re opening up to new business models and the use of data that enables value creation and increased efficiency across borders and sectors.

In my opinion, it’s a very good idea to look into the opportunities of innovative technology companies in the Oslo region. Hopefully, in a few years, we will see several unicorns coming from this sector.

Are there any new innovations investors should be aware of?

- Apart from novel applications for AI, especially in a typically “green” and social context, we see that the technology itself of course is a subject for innovation. For example in recent years, different methods for federated learning that make it easier to handle sensitive data have emerged, and new algorithms that improve precision in learning and decisions are being developed continuously.

Also, we see that new enhanced technology and applications in blockchain are enabling new business models and safe exchange of data between parties in a complex ecosystem.

Opportunities in the AI sector

More information about investing in Oslo

Examples of fast-growing Norwegian AI companies:
- eSmart Systems
- Boost.AI
- Ignite Procurement
- Cognite
- Semine
- Spacemaker AI (Using AI to design more sustainable cities - The Explorer article)
- reMarkable
- Energi.AI

and many others

Small and exciting Norwegian AI companies:
- Greenbird
- Halodi Robotics
- Hyldra Technologies
- Nornir
- AgainX
- SurplusMap
- Völur (Optimal meat utilisation with Völur AI technology - The Explorer article)

and more others

eSmartSystem AI

The pictures illustrates how the AI algorithms in eSmart Systems software solution works to identify components in the power grids.

Microsoft Teams image 1

Both photos by: Nordic Media Lab for eSmart Systems

Do you have an example of success cases in your sector?

– I would like to highlight Völur, a Norwegian company that focuses on optimizing the meat industry using AI to reduce the amount of meat that is needed for the same production rate. That’s a huge success story and I have a feeling they will go far with their technology.

We also have eSmart Systems that uses AI to monitor and maintain critical infrastructure that previously was inspected by humans and considered a high-risk job that was demanding and expensive. Both cases show how transforming and effective AI can be if used right.

Other examples of young and successful AI companies include Boost.AI, Ignite Procurement, Semine, Spacemaker AI, Cognite, Greenbird, Halodi Robotics, andAgainX, among others.

Why should you invest now?

– I think investors should keep an eye on this area and consider investing now because high-quality startups are popping up in and around Oslo, and we see that they have huge scaling potential. It’s an exciting time to tap into the ecosystems of AI in Norway as it’s still early days for this technology, and returns might be great.

Why is the Norwegian AI sector looking for European investors?

– We are included in the European programs and are eager to create value together across borders. Working with European funding initiatives and European programs is extremely important to Norwegian companies as it helps them adapt to a global perspective and market. We know AI technology has great scaling potential, and that it will play a very important role in the future world economy. Let’s scale together to answer the global demand!

Where should investors go to find more information about investment opportunities in your sector?

– Contact some of the ecosystems that govern the AI area in Norway, like Cluster for Applied AI, NORA, or the Norwegian Open AI Lab. We have a full overview of which companies to look out for in the sector and can help you to find the right fit.

What are some opportunities about Oslo investors should know about?

- Despite what you might think, software engineers in Norway are much less expensive compared to other countries such as the U.S. or Germany. Also, we have a high degree of digitalization and more capital available than many other nations. There is also a great focus on green tech innovation, and in 2019, Oslo was the European Green Capital and is ranking no. 1 in eco-innovation and sustainable employment.

Also, today there are more than 50 professional startup communities in Oslo, nurturing the region’s startups in the best way. On the Startup Heatmap Europe, Oslo is now ranking as number 18 in attractiveness.

...startups are popping up in and around Oslo and they have huge scaling potential!

The Cluster for Applied AI contributes to Norway taking a leading position within the profitable and sustainable application of artificial intelligence from a business perspective.

The cluster has more than 60 members and collaboration partners from academia, private and public sectors.

The fast development within digital technologies has led many public and private enterprises to consider, or have started, to apply artificial intelligence (AI) in operational improvement, effectivization, and product and service development.

Cluster for Applied AI is Norway’s first business cluster for applied artificial intelligence and was established by the competence environment consisting of Smart Innovation Norway, Institute for Energy Technology (IFE), eSmart Systems, and Østfold University College in 2019.

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