Sustainability Chat with Niklas Adalberth, Founder of Norrsken Foundation
Niklas Adalberth started his successful career back in 2005 as one of the founders of Klarna, Europe’s highest valued private fintech company. In 2015 Niklas left Klarna with the aim to give back to the world. He founded Norrsken Foundation, a Swedish non-profit foundation supporting and investing in impactful start-ups with the potential to radically improve the world.
We were lucky enough to get a spot in Niklas's busy schedule to have a chat about impact investing, including what opportunities and challenges investing in start-ups brings, as well as his thoughts on changes and trends in the investment scene.
What got you interested in working with impact investing?
– I realised companies can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. Impact investing is a great way to improve society!
Norrsken was established in 2016, how has the investment scene changed over the years?
– More and more people are now aware of impact start-ups and impact investing. That there is no contradiction between doing good and getting financial returns. Top talents no longer want to work for just any company, they want to know that the net outcome of that company takes other stakeholders than just shareholders into account. When top talents select the most impact driven companies, these companies will outcompete the other ones and in the end create a great return for investors.
What do you see as the main trends in impact investing right now?
–We see a strong interest in everything related to climate change. Unfortunately investors tend to look mostly for software companies, but we are slowly starting to see that capital is going to hardware companies trying to solve climate change as well.
What are the biggest opportunities when utilizing start-ups to create a more sustainable future?
– Start-ups are a perfect vehicle to take risk and bet on innovation that doesn’t yet exist. If they succeed, they can succeed on a massive scale, creating high impact and high return.
As an investor – what are the biggest challenges in identifying the potential and impact of a start-up?
–To be able to evaluate which teams or entrepreneurs are able to handle the roller coaster ride that startups need to go through is really hard. Ideas are nothing, people are everything.
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