Oslo-based video conferencing startup Confrere raises €1.23 million, mostly coming from German investor group Point Nine as the Norwegian founders had to look abroad to find the understanding and the skills they were looking for.
If we want to succeed with internet services in Norway, we should have an investor environment with knowledge about internet services.
When it comes to investing in internet services, there is a “knowledge gap in Norway,” according to Confrere co-founders Svein Willassen and Ida Aalen, and that is why they sought funding from outside the country, according to an interview in Dagens Næringsliv (DN).
The Norwegian startup, which was established last year and offers video conferencing tools, has just completed its second investment round of €1,233,414 (12 million Norwegian kroner), DN reported on Sunday.
According to Willassen and Aalen, interest in the product has been overwhelming, but mainly from foreign investors. The two entrepreneurs soon realized that they had to look abroad to find the understanding and the skills they were looking for.
“If we want to succeed with internet services in Norway, we should have an investor environment with knowledge about internet services. This constitutes a knowledge gap in Norway, and that is a problem,” said Willassen via DN.
“The choice finally ended with the German venture company Point Nine. They injected 900,000 euros, and we have several smaller investors that make the total amount of approximately 12 million Norwegian kroner,” he added.
Willassen and Aalen think much of the problem with funding is that the Norwegian environment lacks the basic experience with, and knowledge of, Software as a Service (SaaS), which is internet-based software available through license or subscription.
“There is a completely different way of thinking about selling a product when it is based on subscriber solutions. We found that the right questions came first in conversation with foreign investors,” said Aalen.
“Then we could talk together at a completely different level. It’s not about people not being skilled, but there’s a lack of domain knowledge,” she added.
Confrere’s product is tailored to businesses that offer services and consulting via video.
According to Shifter, video advocate Willassen came from the Telenor startup Appear.in before starting Confrere last year, a tool that allows doctors and psychologists to meet the patients via video.
Confrere is just over a year old, but already used by various professionals. It is integrated into the solution in PsykBase, the journal system of 95 percent of the country’s psychologists.
Click the ‘CC’ button in the above video for subtitles in English.
“Digital treatment should not be reserved for certain actors, so with this collaboration we allow even more to offer online therapy based on the tool they already use,” Willassen said to Shifter when the deal was completed.
“Many video conferencing systems are aimed at teamwork or internal communications in companies. We have identified a need for a video call system specially designed for 1-1 communications, and more specifically where a consultant meets a customer,” he added.
In a short period of time, Confrere has received a lot of attention in the industry and landed several agreements.
“We have been in contact with many Norwegian actors. There are no investors in Norway that specialize in this type of product. But perhaps the question is whether Norway is big enough to be able to have specialized investors,” said Willassen to DN.