Summarizing Nordic Buyout Forum 2018

5 Dec, 2018

On December 5, around 540 representatives of the Nordic venture capital and private equity industry came together for knowledge sharing and discussions on current hot topics at the Nordic Buy Out Forum 2018 (NBOF). Highlights included figures from an upcoming report by the Nordic venture capital associations on the role of venture capital for economic growth and Verdane Managing Partner Bjarne Lie's keynote on the impact of the pending Amazon entry for Nordic retail.

NBOF is co-hosted by the Norwegian Venture Capital Association. In her speech, CEO Rikke Høvding presented interesting facts from a report commissioned by NVCA and the other Nordic venture capital associations: The Role of Venture Capital for Economic Growth (out in January) by Copenhagen Economics. According to NVCA, 59% of venture capital investors are more optimistic about the future than 12 months ago, and two thirds of the optimism is driven by the growing number of prominent startups – and thus – high-quality investment opportunities. The optimism is not unfounded. According to NVCA, the scaleup company density (later stage venture companies) in the Nordics is far ahead the European average of 1 scaleup per 100,000 people. The Nordics is home to almost 1,000 scaleups, which amounts to 3.4 scaleups per 100,000 inhabitants.

In his speech “Your margin is my profit – what will the pending Amazon entry mean for Nordic (e)retail”, Bjarne Lie, managing partner at Verdane, dove into the threat Amazon represents to Nordic retail, and what established local online players should and must do to fight back. Amazon’s market entry in the Nordics is not a question of if, but when and how, and Bjarne highlighted how Verdane is working together with the consumer internet portfolio companies to prepare for the change in the competitive landscape.

Other speakers included Jim Strang, managing director and head of EMEA at Hamilton Lane, who gave a 2018 market overview, also highlighting the positive sentiment around secondary direct investments and growth technology investments in Western Europe.

Socially responsible investment was among NBOF’s key topics, specifically how to anchor your investment hypothesis in the 17 Global Goals and building purpose-driven organisations in light of global issues like climate change, resource scarcity and changing demographics.