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Found funding in the Nordics

Socius founder Daniel Butler and Frode Jensen (Photo: Socius)
  • Publisert 22.12.2015
Angel Challenge winners Socius moved from Berlin to Oslo to find funding. With 3 million in fresh capital, they are now looking to grow.


Access to capital is usually one of the main challenges Nordic entrepreneurs highlight when talking about obstacles for success. Few investors and funding opportunities makes it hard to grow startups in the Nordic region, but there are some signs of change.


The idea for #NordicMade media startup Socius was born when Daniel Butler met Frode Jensen in 2012 at the then newly opened co-working space Mesh in Oslo. Together, they developed a prototype of a solution that made it easy for publishers to curate social media content and got a lot of media attention through their Faces of New York Fashion Week the same year.



(Disclaimer: Nordic Innovation has used services from Socius for the platform)



From rags to riches

The success let them to the Alex Springer accelerator programme in Berlin. In spring 2013, Socius was officially established and had a sellable product a few months later. 2014 was spent going between Berlin, Oslo and New York, and they soon discovered a need to raise funds.


– Berlin is great for development but not for funding. So we came back to Norway, explains co-founder Daniel Butler.


The timing could not have been better. After spending two months on his friend’s couch, Butler and the rest of the Socius crew entered the Angel Challenge, a startup investment program organised by Startup Norway. They made it all the way to the final demo day on 1 December and ended up as winners.


– I didn’t have enough money to buy a glass of wine earlier that day. A few hours later we suddenly had 1,3 million Norwegian kroner, says Butler humorously.



Socius platform

View of Socius' solution for Berlinale. Photo: Socius



The language barrier

Socius is a tool for publishers that allow them to tell stories through social media while keeping the readers on their platform. They already have some large customers like publishers Condè Nast and Alex Springer.


Having secured about three million Norwegian kroner in investments in Norway, including the investments from the Angel Challenge, they are now planning to grow their offices in Berlin and New York before raising a series A towards the end of 2016. Currently, Socius’ headquarters are based in Berlin, but they plan to move it to Norway.


– Here we can apply for government funding. We didn’t have the language skills to get access to that in Germany, explains Butler.


He plans to relocate to New York himself, but says that Socius considers themselves #NordicMade.


– In general, there are a lot of good quality-designed products coming out of the Nordics. I feel more Nordic than German, and it just makes more sense to brand ourselves as Nordic, he says.