Don’t feed the startup

If you are non-Norwegian and given the odds you probably are, you don’t know or perhaps even care about the Norwegian startup scene. But it does exist.

May 11, 2016

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If you are non-Norwegian and given the odds you probably are, you don’t know or perhaps even care about the Norwegian startup scene. But it does exist, I am living proof of that, although it is still more akin a soapbox than a proper scene just yet.

If you don’t care, well, keep on browsing. If you don’t know, you will now:

  1. Norway has become (filthy and) rich from oil, and now control the world’s largest state fund: As a country, we have money to spend
  2. Production and price of oil are slowing down: As a country, we need to spend money to find the next big thing
  3. The state, investors, private companies and also individuals are increasingly putting money into the startup scene, which is somewhere in-between generation one and two of entrepreneurs: As a country, we want to spend money to find the next big thing

 

So, Norway could be a pretty awesome place right now if you have a great idea, a great team and a great plan of execution. And in many ways it is awesome. However, way too often entrepreneurs in Norway are still looked upon as that amusing monkey in your average zoo.

That’s okay, for now, as we have plans, but don’t feed us with your pocket change.

Read the sign on the cage: Don’t feed the startup. We need something more nourishing, at regular intervals.

I know you are trying to help. I see kindness in your eyes, that’s why you are called an angel by many. But know that your pocket change will not help me, even if I might accept it to silence my roaring hunger. At best it will fill my stomach for a short period, and at worst it will hurt me with higher burn rates and a complicated equity structure that will punish me down the line. Again and again.

Your pocket change will not enable me to take my idea from just “being busy” to “building a business”. Your pocket change will not magically conjure the competencies I need to take complicated choices. It will not propel me into the global scene. Even if I do accept it to silence my roaring hunger. It’s just a snack.

If you want to help and be part of my journey, make sure you come with a full meal and a plan for how to provide that meal for a meaningful period of time. Make sure you come with the vitamins and nourishments I need. Make sure you won’t leave me as you found me, only with an added stomach ache as a parting gift.

We’re okay being the amusing and slightly hungry monkey for now. We have plans.

This is the planet of the apes after all.