ARYZE interviewed Sondre Rasch from SafetyWing about his startup experience in the Norwegian landscape. We wanted to find out what others could learn from Norway about starting your own business, and where the differences in financing and investors can be found.
Sondre Rasch is the co-founder of the startup SafetyWing – a travel health insurance company. He is a former political advisor of the Norwegian Parliament and he previously founded the freelancer platform, Konsus.
Explain your solution – why is your solution different from all the others? What makes your business special and unique?
“SafetyWing is building a global social safety net to solve the problems that remote workers face, falling between the cracks of existing national systems. Our first product was insurance for Nomads and is different in that it is a simple subscription product for people who live long-term abroad and need travel medical coverage worldwide. Our next product Remote Health is the first global health insurance for remote teams.”
What is the startup scene like in your country? How is it different from other Nordic countries? Is there something that the other countries could learn from your country?
“The startup scene in Norway has been growing rapidly, as it has in many other countries over the last decade. I don’t know enough about the rest o Nordic’s startup scene to compare, other than that Stockholm’s, in particular, seems bigger.
The main thing I think you can learn from Norway is to say it like it is, using simple language that everyone can understand. This is something that sits deep in our culture, but I find is also incredibly useful to have when telling about your product to others, like customers or investors. If people can’t understand what you are saying, then they won’t buy it.”
How has your experience been with funding?
“It’s been great. I was lucky both with SafetyWing and previously SuperSide that we got into Y Combinator, which makes fundraising a lot easier. But it is still super hard though. Fundraising requires exceptional determination, confidence and creativity to get through. I don’t think I’m particularly good at it. But I do second a line I once heard from Paul Graham, that the best way to make fundraising easier is to do well and then to tell investors about it. “
What are the differences between investors in your country and other countries/states?
“There used to be a big difference, where the Norwegian investors on average wanted larger shares of the company and put a lot more weight on history than potential. However, as part of the change of the last decade, there is now a lot more investors in Norway who think like Silicon Valley investors in trying to have a vision of their own and investing in the potential of the team, product and market instead of the history.”
What are, in your opinion, the best-emerging growth companies in Scandinavia?
“I would like to think that SafetyWing and SuperSide are on that list. But our Swedish friends in GetAccept also seem to be having incredible growth still, even though they’re getting big, same with our friends at Nurx.”
SafetyWing is offering worldwide travel medical insurance for digital nomads. They build a global safety network tailored to the needs of online freelancers and entrepreneurs. If you want to find out more about Sondre Rasch, follow him on LinkedIn. For more interesting insights stay tuned on our ARYZE blog and website.