OSLO, Norway – Astia is the premier organization that ensures access to capital and expertise for high-growth, innovative companies founded by women. Astia Angels is its global investment group that exclusively invests in women-led startups.
Astia CEO Sharon Vosmek and Astia Angels investor members will play key roles throughout Oslo Innovation Week, Sept. 24 – 28, week thanks to invitations and support from DNB, Norway’s largest financial services group, the Norwegian Professional Women’s Network, Innovation Norway, Grundr and prominent Norwegian-based Astia Angels members. Astia was approached to participate when the Oslo Innovation Week manifesto was published targeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals through entrepreneurship, technology and innovation with a specific focus on gender inclusion.
“Statistics show that men invest in men. As access to capital is one of the greatest obstacles to succeed in creating growth businesses, we want to encourage all good measures that promote investing in women entrepreneurs. Only 20 percent of those who start their own limited companies in Norway today are women. This is almost a societal problem, when we know how important entrepreneurs are for creating new jobs and new values,” said Benedicte Schilbred Fasmer, Group Executive Vice President Corporate Banking at DNB. “We know that diversity generates better results. Together with experts from the world’s leading innovation hub, Silicon Valley, we want to learn more about what they have done to promote entrepreneurs, both women and men, and what results this has generated. Through sharing experiences, I hope that we can contribute to giving Norwegian entrepreneurs an even better chance to succeed.”
For nearly twenty years, Astia has been recognized as an innovator in the space of venture capital and entrepreneurship. Astia Angels investments prove that investing in women delivers well above market returns, with a notable recent acquisition of portfolio company nVision by Boston Scientific for as much as $275 million.
Already well established in Europe with a growing portfolio of European-based companies, Astia has worked closely together with the Norwegian-based management and investment company Grundr, an organization known for empowering Norwegian startups and connecting them to the capital they need to grow. Astia has also collaborated with Grundr in preparation for OIW, to ensure the group’s arrival in Norway is grounded in local relationships and built on an understanding of local opportunities and constraints.
“We are excited to be coming to Norway where the entrepreneur ecosystem is rapidly growing and includes exceptional women ready for investment and primed for global growth,” said Sharon Vosmek, CEO of Astia and member of Astia Angels. “We have demonstrated that investing in teams that include women is a winning strategy. Our member investors eagerly anticipate meeting with local innovators and entrepreneurs — most specifically those who have figured out that inclusive teams win. We know that where women fully participate, companies thrive, investors profit, economies grow and societies benefit.”
The Astia Angels, who began investing in 2013, have exceeded Astia’s expectations by delivering substantially above-market returns for its first four exits. The results include: nVision acquired by Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX), Boku, a US-based fintech company listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in November; Cloudamize, a Philadelphia-based Cloud computing analytics company merged last summer with Blackstone-owned Cloudreach; and Ciel Medical a medical device company which developed a catheter to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia.
To date, Astia Angels have invested more than $20.5M into 60 companies, representing more than $275M in syndication into companies founded or led by women; the group has invested in 8 European startups. The investment group is coming to Norway as a part of a larger effort to broaden the Astia Angels network and increase visibility with European entrepreneurs.
“While spending two years in San Francisco investing in tech startups we quickly became acquainted with Astia Angels. We have experienced Astia’s world-class investment method and deal flow. We appreciate the great community and professionalism of this international angel network,” said Johan and Kristine Odfjell. “Upon our return, we wanted to invite our fellow Astia Angels members to see the exciting investment opportunities in Norway. We are proud to be part of the launch of Astia Angels Norway.”
For more information on Oslo Innovation Week, visit OIW.