The Search For The Icelandic VCsDec 28, 2014
When I started up my company 4 years ago in Iceland I tried to find VCs to invest in it, I realized that nobody invested in newly started companies. You had to prove yourself and your company before you could get investors. So I bootstrapped, worked extreme hours and in only three years built up a company that was the largest of it’s kind in Iceland. I thought surely that would be enough proof for the investors so I met up with a couple of VC funds but the answer I got was that I wasn’t international enough for them, I was only focusing on Iceland. Even though I tried to explain to them that this was the reason for why I was looking for the money (to expand it into new countries) they would have nothing to do with me. So I become even more stubborn and decided to do the international expansion all by myself and continue bootstrapping. I opened up my company in Canada and right away I got Canadian investors to invest in the company. Now I returned to Iceland thinking “I have the proof of concept, I have become an international company and I even have foreign investors so the Icelandic VCs can’t possible say no at this point..”
..but they said no.
My somewhat short search for the Icelandic VCs has lead me to the conclusion that most of the VCs here either have no money to invest or lack the experience that I put as a criteria for the investors I am looking for. However I am hoping that this blog post will prove me wrong and somebody will stand up on behalf of the Icelandic VC.
But what I also realized is that Iceland is a small country, you can’t really expect to find many VC funds in a country of 320.000 people and the same is true of most areas you work in, you must be willing to looking for investors outside your own area. I however feel a bit saddened that the startup community I have worked hard on building up is not able to support me at this point but I understand and I will continue to search for outside funding. Hopefully I will be able to help other startups here in Iceland once I have gotten to a position to do so.
However the good news for Iceland is that there are good people working now on putting together new VC funds here in Icelands so hopefully they will be successful and will be able to invest in some of the great startups here in Iceland.
What I learned from this 4 year process is that
it wasn’t the VCs fault that I didn’t get funding.
It was my responsibility to go out there and find it
without limiting myself to the country I was born in.
However difficult it is, you yourself are always responsible
for your own fate and the fate of your company.
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