Erik Tønnesen, Managing Partner at Skagerak Maturo.

Three weeks after it became operational, more than 100 start-ups have approached the new seed fund in Agder and Telemark.

“We have been extremely busy! We have looked at more than 100 companies or ideas and decided to move on with 8. These are considered interesting prospects, which we will spend more time examining,” says Erik Tønnesen, Managing Partner at Skagerak Maturo, the company in charge of the seed fund.

The majority of the 8 companies that are being considered are located in Oslo, Vestfold, Telemark and Agder.

“3 out of 8 are directly related to the oil and gas industry,” says Tønnesen.

The Norwegian Government allocated MNOK150 for a new seed fund in Agder and Telemark, an amount that had to be matched by private investors. In just three months, the private capital was raised and the seed fund made operational. Oil and gas entrepreneur Bjarne Skeie leads the field of investors with his MNOK 30 investment, followed by Sparebank 1 Telemark (MNOK 25) and Eikabanken (MNOK 20).

“In addition, a number of people, mainly from the oil and gas industry in Agder, have invested MNOK 5 each”, says Tønnesen.

The seed fund will help entrepreneurs through the early stages of the business cycle. The first investment is expected to take place in early 2017.