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Norrsken VC - Impact investing in a market downturn with Agate Freimane
Episode 623rd May 2022 • Climate Insiders • Yoann Berno
00:00:00 00:34:42

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Agate Freimane is a General Partner at Norrsken VC, a €125m Swedish early stage impact VC investing in technology that solves some of the world’s greatest challenges.

She comes from investment banking at Morgan Stanley and then worked at a PropTech/Fintech startup: Brickvest.

In today's show, we will discuss with Agate:

  • the state of Climate Tech in the Nordics
  • the correlation between impact and financial returns
  • What the current economic slowdown means for Climate Tech VC
  • the biggest learnings from raising Norrsken VC and investing in 41 companies

Listen and Learn

  • The Norrsken backstory: how 3 unicorn founders started 6 years ago a one-stop shop for impact investing (2:00)
  • Agate’s views on the Climate Tech scene in Sweden and the Nordics (4:50)
  • How Stockholm wants to become the global impact capital (5:00)
  • The transition from a tech ecosystem to impact ecosystem (5:30)
  • The power or role models to scale the ecosystem (6:00)
  • How Northvolt’s success led the charge to a booming Swedish electric ecosystem (trucks, airplanes, boats) (7:00)
  • What Agate thinks of the “classic VC downturn letter” that most VCs have been issuing to their portfolio companies (9:40)
  • Startups with strong fundamentals will remain the best VC cases (11:20)
  • Why impact startups might be the most resilient in an economic downturn 
  • VC investing comes down to two options: vitamins vs painkillers. Impact companies are the painkillers (12:00)
  • Is 10 years sufficient as a time-horizon for deeptech hardware solutions? (13:00)
  • Why Norrsken looks for deep tech startups that have immediate pent-up demand (14:00)
  • The one area where Agate has completely changed her mind in the past 2 years (17:10)
  • Why  Norrsken’s biggest mistake was to fall in love in something else other than the team (18:00)
  • Agate’s tips to people that want to break into Climate Tech and join a startup (22:50)
  • The 700 Climate tech jobs listed on Norrsken’s job board with  (24:00)
  • Why the hardest part is to break into the Climate community and why it gets much easier to transfer between companies once you understand the climate ecosystem (25:00)
  • How Norrsken runs investment decisions (27:40)
  • The 1-to-1 correlation between financial and impact returns (29:00)

Show Links

Nordics funds list: