There is not much daylight in the North, darkness is taking over. Bears are hibernating in their caves, waiting for the spring sun to wake them up again after the long winter. How about the startups of the North? Is everyone sleeping or just hiding in their offices? Just like the bears, hibernating and waiting for that spring sun spread it’s light all over to revive the feeling of excitement? Do we really have to accept the situation and wait many months to get that feeling?
Have you ever tried to lure some top level investors to the North during the deepest winter to meet you and listen to your cool idea or significant progress and of course to give you money to go and conquer the world? Go ahead and try, that’s going to be a tough task, the North is an investor no-go area between December and February. But the companies need to interact with investors all year long, right? Can we do something about it? Yes, we can and we will.
It was last May 28th, afternoon in Helsinki at Arctic15 when I was chatting with an investor in the “Deal Room”, our networking haven, asking him what was his experience so far regarding the event. He was very happy with the excellent networking possibilities and meeting a lot of companies, he loved the atmosphere and gave praise on the food. But there was one thing that he was not happy about: the weather. It was late May, but only about eight degrees and raining outside, definitely worth complaining.
But as I told him that it was out of my control and it was 22 and sunny just two days ago, he kept on going how it is not nice to come here and face this weather, that we should do something about it. Then at one point he said that “You know what, Jan, you should just pack these startups on a plane and fly them to someplace nice and warm. I would be happy to come to see these companies there.” This gentleman who gave birth to the idea, Garan Goodman from Wayra Munich, was very happy to hear yesterday that his suggestion is becoming a reality! In a form of Arctic Startups in the Sun!
Yes, that’s right, folks! In February, when it’s cold and dark here in Northern Europe, when the international investors don’t want to come here to meet the startup companies, we’re going to put 50 companies on a plane and fly them off to Spain! During February 4th-7th in Murcia, we’ll have a startup event, which includes private and public parts, talks, workshops, one-to-one meetings, coaching, even some wine tasting and golf! Not to forget some parties and networking.
We invite 50 companies from all over the Nordics to join us. Maybe your company could be one of the lucky ones who get to go. Quite many of you will want to go as the event is free to attend. However, we have a limited amount of slots available, so we have to go through an application process.
This event is an international collaboration between ArcticStartup and the Government of Murcia, and to match our 50 companies, they will bring the local companies to join in so we can learn from each other and make new connections. We will accept a mix of early-stage and later-stage companies.
Another reason why we have chosen Spain as the first target of Arctic Startups in the Sun, is of course the very interesting Spanish and Latin American market opportunity for Nordic companies. There is almost 50M people just in Spain, and via Spain you can find ways to enter into the whole Latin America of 600M people. So definitely something to look into, and one of the key points of interest will be exploring possibilities, meeting the right partners to help enter, grow or pilot your business in these markets. So if you have plans regarding Spain and Latin America, this is your chance to take the next steps. If you haven’t thought about it, maybe you should.
Naturally we have been discussing about this concept with a group of various international investors and other players, and the response has been quite positive. When you mention February-Spain-Startups-Sun (and some parties too!), it is not really a hard sell to most European investors residing in UK, Germany, Switzerland or in the Nordics. And these will be joined by the local Spanish VC’s, angels and corporates, so we expect quite a nice group of investors. But that’s not all. There will be the local government officials looking for solutions to improve the efficiency in various sectors, and also sports clubs from La Liga who are looking new ways to monetize their global fan base, not to forget Telefónica, the telecommunications giant who will be present too..
The main interest sectors are B2B & B2C software and services like Media, Web, Mobile, Gaming and Ecommerce, plus Sports, Health and wellbeing, Cleantech and energy, Education, Logistics, Food Technology and Tourism. These are the main themes and we may accept some companies which are closely related to these areas if there is free space available.
We’ll bring in some cool international speakers and coaches, and shall announce some names soon. Regarding the investors, the likes of Index, Accel, Balderton, Wellington, EarlyBird, Inventure, Creandum, Highland, Telecom Italia, Creathor, European Investment Fund and so on have expressed their interest to join. So you will be in good company. You’ll find more info and the application form here. Also you can follow on the website as we update the speakers, investors and other participants list.
So what are you waiting for! If you feel this is something for your company, go ahead and apply to join Arctic Startups in the Sun – Murcia edition! Viva el Norte, viva España!