By June 13, 2019

After Splashing Millions Impact-Investing In Sweden, Norrsken Heads To Africa

By June 13, 2019

Swedish Norrsken Foundation is one of the major players in impact entrepreneurship in the European country. With deep pockets and state-of-the-art co-working space, the investor has made impact entrepreneurship a boiling topic in the startup scene of Sweden.

Startups in East Africa now have a new source of investment and mentorship, as Norrsken has announced the unveiling of its second house in Kigali, Rwanda.

The impact investor took a huge leap to open a hub in Stockholm three years ago, and now it eyes the East African country’s entrepreneurship sector.

Located on the former Ecole Belge campus, the Swedish firm’s Kigali center will kick off with seed investments of USD 25 K to USD 100 K for early-stage startups from all verticals.

While the fund size has not yet been established, it is reported that Norrsken Kigali will extend the fund to more significant series-stage investments between USD 100 K to USD 100 Mn as time goes on.

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Norrsken Co-Working

Why Rwanda?

Norrsken, who is currently looking to hire talent to serve as a local director for its new Kigali office, has the goal to open 25 new houses around the world.

In a talk session with CNBC Africa, the firm said that is has chosen Rwanda as its first branch due to the impressiveness the country has shown over the years. Funda Sezgi, COO of Norrsken, said the East African nation has great potential, with an incredible economic growth (7.5 percent on average).

Norsken is betting on Rwanda first because of the country’s devotion to development, robust infrastructure, excellent connectivity, and the remarkable ease of doing business compared to other countries.

According to the World Bank Group, it is easier to set up a business in Rwanda, than in the United States and France. Due to the country’s geographic position, it serves as a gateway to other East African countries and Central African markets, where Norrsken plans to subsequently expand to.

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Rwanda as an entry point to two African regions. (Courtesy: KfW Entwicklungsbank)

Norrksen looks to transitioning Rwanda from an agriculture-dependent country to a more knowledge-based economy. The move into the country is also part of the organization’s fervent focus on the power of tech entrepreneurs to innovate solutions to problems and bring about capacity building.

Its first launch outside of Sweden, Norrsken wants to make Rwandans wealthy and be the most prominent startup hub in East Africa.

Scintillating Kigali’s Tech Scene

Rwanda has a relatively sparse population of about 12 million and compared to some other African countries; its tech scene is also relatively small. But the country is progressing on the back of the government’s push to prioritize tech events and overall growth.

The country is a leader in drone adoption in the continent, the same reason for its strong ties with San Francisco-based UAV startup Zipline.  

Announcing the entry of Norrsken into Rwanda, the Minister for ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) Chief Investment Officer Guy Baron, welcomed Norrksen into the Rwandan market, noting that it will go a long way in boosting entrepreneurship and innovation in Rwanda.

“We are grateful for the trust you have shown, and for you being here is a sober reminder that the country is on course of becoming a pan-African entrepreneurship and innovation platform, creating solutions not only for Rwanda but the entire continent,” Ingabire said.

Norrsken is more focused on making the world better than a billion people, than raking in a billion dollars. The foundation brainchild of Niklas Adalberth, Klarna co-founder, who himself has so far invested more than USD 79 Mn from the USD 2.25 Bn fintech.

Norrsken was founded in 2016 after Niklas existed the unicorn to start a foundation focused on startups and create co-working spaces for companies to scale impact-making tech innovation. Erik Engellau-Nilsson (pictured above) is the chief executive at Norrsken.

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