Norwegian climate tech gains traction in the US

US Panel
Panel discussion on climate tech featuring (from left to right): Tonje Ørnholt (Oslo Business Region), Tom Even Mortensen (Sandwater), Nancy Pfund (DBL Partners), Sierra Peterson (Voyager Ventures), and Geoffrey Eisenberg (Ecosystem Integrity Fund)

Published by Oslo Business Region, 26 April 2024

A delegation of 45 Norwegian startups met with over 70 American investors to build stronger business collaborations around climate tech.

The gathering was part of the USA and Norway - Connecting for a Greener Tomorrow business program, which was a part of the Crown Prince of Norway’s visit to the US.

In Norway, climate tech is top priority for investors; 50% of all investments in 2023 were directed towards this sector. Despite a 30% global decrease in climate tech investments compared to the previous year, the demand for climate technologies remains steadfast.

American investors showed a strong interest in Norwegian climate tech, recognizing its potential for growth and impact. During the program, climate tech startups Findable, Glint Solar, Sustie and Tenix presented their innovative Nordic solutions, which resulted in a lot of follow up meetings with at least 10 US investors.

We had a chat with Karl Liapunov, Head of Energy at Norway’s largest tech incubator, Startuplab, in San Francisco, about the success of Norwegian climate tech and the future direction of the sector.

Karl 2
↳ Karl Liapunov speaking at Cleantech Summit 2023 during Oslo Innovation Week

Norway has 300+ climate tech startups. A number that keeps growing. Why are they so popular among investors?

“Norway’s climate tech scene is reaching the level of maturity where the ecosystem starts to build on itself. The concept of new startups being born by previous employees of successful scaleups is not new (Paypal, Skype etc.), but we are now starting to see the beginnings of that in Norwegian climate tech. You only need to look to the charging companies in Stavanger as an example. The progression from Zaptec, to Easee, to Amina is a perfect case study of this effect.

We are starting to see this in the applications we get at Startuplab. Founders are not only highlighting industry experience from places like Equinor and Statkraft, but also successful startup journeys like Tibber, Cognite, and Choose. Having success stories to look up to inspires more to try the same.”

What areas within the Norwegian climate scene are growing fast?

"The adaptation tech sector has gained a lot of attention lately. Adaptation tech are solutions designed to help us live with the effects of the climate crisis, rather than mitigating the crisis itself. This segment only received 7% of total climate funding, while the market is estimated to reach 2 trillion annually in 5 years time.

7analytics is a great Norwegian example. They use hydrology, geology, and data science to develop high-precision risk tools that help everyone from infrastructure owners to architects plan for imminent and future impacts of climate change.

We also have to mention data center decarbonization. Data centers account for a massive amount of energy usage and C02 emissions which will inevitably grow massively to keep pace with AI compute needs. For context - every question put into Chat GPT accounts for about 1 liter of water for data center cooling.

Norway has the potential to take a world leading position in this space due to its already renewable domestic energy profile, and also to work creatively with its preexisting offshore competence. A super exciting company in that space is Orca Connex.“

The top 10 growth deals in Norway were in climate tech last year. Is this trend continuing in 2024?

“2024 has had a great start thus far. In just the first two months of the year, 16 climate tech deals were announced. Companies like Chooose, Photoncycle, Inherit Carbon Solutions, and Cartesian to just name a few all announced substantial rounds. It’s a promising sign for the rest of the year.

Some things we will be keeping an eye on are grid and power management, long-term energy storage solutions, and new and inventive business models for existing technologies.”

If you want to learn more about Oslo’s 217 climate tech startups, check out the Oslo Dealroom Database.