Mar 21, 2024 — article

What happened during Think BIG Norway 2024?

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With the topic "Where industry meets software", the second edition of the tech conference gathered 250 founders, investors, and industry leaders to redefine the industrial landscape.

By Mari Wachelke

On 20 March, the luminate green couldn't be missed at Aker Tech House. We took over the groundfloor of the newest Nordic tech campus to welcome 250 tech entrepreneurs, investors, and industry leaders to Think BIG Norway. But what was the main goal, one might ask? Honest discussions on what are the actions needed to leverage Norway's advantages in the global stage and seize the opportunities within data and software. 

Hosted by Jan Åge Fjørtoft from Aker Property Group (and yes, also known for playing for the Norwegian national football team), the event served as a platform to explore the transformative power of industrial software, with a focus on Norway's pivotal role in the global shift.

The evening kicked off with a warm welcome from CEO and President of Aker ASA, Øyvind Eriksen,  then our own Co-founder and Managing Partner of RunwayFBU, Tor Bækkelund, took the floor to introduced the conference's three main audiences: 1/3 investors, 1/3 entrepreneurs and 1/3 industry leaders, which set the structure of the three blocks of the evening.

The "the outside-in perspective" led by Global Partner at Accel Venture, Matt Weigand,  and General Partner at Climentum Capital, Malin Carlström and CEO Strise, Marit Rødevand. Among the key points of the fireside chat was the comparison between neighbours. 

"Norway has the talent and the industry domain expertise. The only difference between Norway and Sweden is that there was a success story before in Sweden in software. And all that means is that people saw what good could look like and we're excited to go do it again. You know good exists you know it existed next door you know it exists it across Europe, it exists in America, there's no reason why it wouldn't exists here. So don't wait for the first one to happen, be the first one." suggests Weigmand, who is based in US.

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The second conversation on stage addressed "The inside-out perspective," with three successful Norwegians that made it out there and shared their views, including former CTO of Attensi, Anne-Lise Waal, co-founder of our portfolio company Zerolytics, Atle Christiansen, alongside Founder and CEO of Antler, Magnus Grimeland. The common key learning? Forget the janteloven

“Think big from the start, aiming high", says Waal. "Keep the mindset that failure is not an option. Founders need to be both in the balcony and the dancefloor", highlighted Grimeland.

And the third block was the corporate side discussing the next big opportunities in industrial software and the strategic positioning required to capitalize on them. The fireside chat featured CEO of Aker BP, Karl Johnny Hersvik, and industry experts Karl-Christian Agerup, from Antler, Silje Gronning, from Energy Impact Partners, and Dan Ouchterlony, from Telenor Amp.

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Talks, tests and triumphs

The program also included two special flavours in between talks. Espen Skorstad, Founder & Psychologist, shared his "BIG Thinker insights," and the overall results from our exclusive (and non-scientific) business Big Thinker personality test, offering thought-provoking perspectives on the intersection of psychology and innovation.

Next on the program was the launch of the report Industrial Tech Triumphs, made in collaboration with RunwayFBU and Accenture Norway, shedding light on key trends and developments in Norwegian startup successes.

The discussions didn't end there. Attendees were invited to an afterparty at the new RunwayFBU Tech Hub, where they had the chance to mingle with portfolio companies, attendees, and friends.

Take a look at the official Think Big Norway photos here Photo credits: Gorm K. Gaare

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