Seed Forum Oslo

About Seed Forum Norway

The 1st Seed Forum in Oslo was an integrated module in VentureLab Investment Forum spring 2003 following the major success of bringing Norwegian companies to match with investors in London since spring 2002. Starting in Oslo in 2003 the idea was to match with investors both in London and Oslo at the same time. Since spring 2004 the venue of Seed Forum Oslo was established as a separate venue but also conducted in continuation as a part of Investment forum until 2007 in partnership with VentureLab.

Seed Forum in Norway was originally developed as an integrated part of Campus Kjeller (now Kjeller Innovation) since 2001 and the “Seed Forum Concept” was transferred by Campus Kjeller to the Seed Forum Norway Foundation spring 2003. The Seed Forum Norway Foundation was initiated by the 14 Norwegian start-ups which had until then presented in Seed Forums in London. The 14 start-ups also formed the Seed Forum Norway alumni network at the same time as an integrated network with Seed Forum Norway.

Seed Forum international forums in Oslo has been organised very 6th month since 2003 in various venues among others Felix at Aker Brygge and PwC at Skøyen, and from 2007 the main venue has been the 2nd floor auditorium of the PwC headquarter in Bjørvika. Companies from many countries in addition to Norway have presented to Oslo based investors in Seed Forums in Oslo among others Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia. Seed Forums in Oslo is known as a continues and main access point for Norwegian investors to investor ready start-ups from Norway and oversea.

The regional Seed Forum program in Norway was developed since a first grant from the Regional Office of Innovation Norway in Buskerud for a complete Seed Forum process as a part of the “Kongsberg Technology Days” in 2004. Since then 45 local Seed Forum programs have been organised in Norway following grants from Innovation Norway Regional offices in Konsgberg, Drammen, Tønsberg, Stavanger, Bergen, Bodø, Lillehammer, Gjøvik, Hamar, Trondheim, Steinkjer, Tromsø and Ålesund. Several regional Seed Forum programs have also been organised from 2005 to 2011 for the Oslo region hosted by DNB in the bank former headquarter at Aker Brygge and in the old Sparebanken Nor headquarter in Tollbugata. The regional Seed Forum pitch trainings and investor forums have been mainly hosted by DNB and PwC. Innovation Norway conducted a major evaluation survey of Seed Forum activities in Norway in 2007 which led to such major results so that Innovation Norway prolonged it`s regional cooperation and financing of Seed Forum regional programs until 2011.

Investor pitch trainings was established as a concept in Norway since 2002, and international pitch trainings has been organised at least once per month in Oslo since then. Until autumn 2008 the trainings in Norway also included companies from all other countries to present in Seed Forums overseas (mainly Sweden, Iceland, Finland and The Baltics) but these pitch trainings grew into such a major amount of participating companies so that since spring 2009 each respective country has organised and further established separate pitch trainings which today is known as Seed Forum Academy. More than 1000 Norwegian companies have so far participated in national and regional pitch trainings in Norway to present in Seed Forum in Oslo / Norway and overseas.

A major development for Seed Forum in Norway was the grant scheme by Innovation Norway to the regional Seed Forum processes as well as the partnership agreement with DNB first concluded in 2005 and renewed in 2008. Other major partners / sponsors of Seed Forum in Norway during the years has especially been Law Firm Selmer until 2006, DLA Piper from 2006, Oslo Patent Bureau, PwC, Investinor and Argentum. Seed Forum was one of the initiators of Oslo Innovation Week but choose to end the partnership in 2010 due to lack of event visibility and have instead joined a partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Seed Forum Norway Foundation has received more than 100 project grant letters since 2003 and is since 2014 also a major operator of bilateral projects among others on behalf of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to establish key functionality of innovation systems in developing countries such as Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, the Balkan Region etc. This is the paradigm shift of development aid where Seed Forum in many ways is a first mover. Spring 2017 the Seed Forum Norway Foundation has also received the special status on tax deduction on charity donations from the Norwegian Directorate of Taxation. Seed Forum Norway is known for its world-leading expertise in such activities.

The Seed Forum Process including the format and content of Seed Forum investor pitch trainings and investor forums has been developed in Norway and is currently an export product form he Norwegian innovation system to many other countries and Seed Forum organisations around the world. The Global Seed Forum Process has also been initiated from Norway as Seed Forum Norway was the sole founder in 2004 of the Seed Forum International Foundation in the UK which is the global collaboration unit for all Seed Forum entities and processes. The Seed Forum Norway Foundation continues to hold it special position as a global competence centre on innovation in the Seed Forum network.

Seed Forum managers in Norway:

2003 – spring 2007Steinar Hoel Korsmo
Spring 2007 – spring 2008Trond A Frost
Autumn 2008Berg Moe
2010 – spring 2013Steinar Hoel Korsmo
Spring 2013 – spring 2015Håvard Bjor
Autumn 2015 – spring 2017Thomas Due
Autumn 2017 +Tormod Granheim

Other staff members:

  • Håvard Bjor, market secretary, 2005
  • Barbro Danielsen, market secretary, 2006 and spring 2007
  • Jonathan Herron, market secretary, autumn 2007
  • Christopher Hernes, market assistant, 2007
  • Ingri Johnsen, market secretary, 2008
  • Joachim Mc. Lean, market secretary, autumn 2015 – 2017

Current board members Seed Forum Norway Foundation:

  • Steinar Hoel Korsmo, Chairman 2003+
  • Terje Seterli, SVIA (The Industrial Corporation of Norway), 2007+
  • Lasse Meholm, SF alumni representative, 2007+
  • Espen B. Høiby, SF alumni representative, 2009+
  • Jon H Nordbrekken, investor representative, 2009+

Previous board members Seed Forum Norway Foundation:

  • Thorvald Steen, Board member, VentureLab, 2003 – 2007
  • Bjørn Eriksen, Norwegian Trade Council / Innovation Norway, 2003 – 2007
  • Berg Moe, SF alumni representative, 2003 – 2007
  • Abraham Foss, Innovation Norway, 2007 – 2009

Various prominent representatives have given opening remarks and key-notes in Seed Forum Oslo as for example:

  • Mayor of the City of Oslo, Fabian Stang
  • Deputy Minister for EU Affairs, Elsbeth Tronstad
  • Ambassador of Estonia to Norway, HE Simmu Tiik
  • Former Minister for Trade & Industry, Trond Giske
  • Ambassador of Macedonia to Norway, HE Enver Abdullahi
  • Ambassador of Bosnia-Herzegovina to Norway, HE Emir Poljo
  • Ambassador of Ukraine to Norway, HE Vycheslav Yatsiuk
  • Ambassador of Ukraine to Norway, HE Yurii Onichenko
  • Ambassador of Ukraine to Norway, HE Oleksandr Tsvietkov

Seed Forum Norway office locations:

2001 – 2002Campus Kjeller – integrated part of Campus Kjeller (now Kjeller Innovation)
2003 – 2005Oslo Science Park hosted by VentureLab
2006 – 2008IT Fornebu (now Technopolis) hosted by the IT Fornebu incubator
2009 – 2013Asker Center, hosted by CathTheEye
2014 – 2017XLR8Hub at Skøyen hosted by VentureLab