Our annual funding report focuses on investments in companies with operations in Iceland. However, as all Icelanders that have traveled abroad know, we’re everywhere. And in some of those places we’re founding startups and raising cash.
We figured it would be interesting to gather information about startups abroad with rich Icelandic connections that received funding last year.
This is by no means a fully comprehensive list. So if you have stories about funding rounds somewhere abroad where an Icelander was a key player don’t hesitate to contact us so we can add them to the list!
Garden.io – $16M Series A
Garden is a Berlin-based software company founded in 2018 that provides a platform for developers to easily create, manage, and deploy their applications to Kubernetes clusters and cloud native applications. Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration system used for automating the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications.
Garden’s platform allows developers to define their applications using a simple configuration language, and then automatically creates the necessary Kubernetes resources to deploy and manage the application. The platform also includes tools for testing and continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD), as well as a built-in registry for storing and managing container images.
In short, Garden is a platform enabling developers to spend more time coding and less time fighting tools.
Garden was founded by three Icelanders who all still serve executive roles at Garden. The founders are Jón Eðvald Vignisson, the CEO, Eyþór Magnússon, the CTO and Þórarinn Sigurðsson, the VP of engineering. In addition to them, Andrea Björk Andrésdóttir works at Garden as a brand designer and Haukur Páll Hallvarðsson as a senior frontend engineer.
GemmaQ – $400K Pre-seed
GEMMAQ is a Seattle-based gender-lens platform that provides the opportunity to invest directly in gender diversity, with quality real-time diversity data. The exclusive factual data platform that visualizes the impact women have on global markets.
GemmaQ was created so everyone would have the opportunity to invest in companies promoting gender equality. Investors needed a tool for driving money to diverse power. They wanted to look at wall street through a real time gender lens. Using the power of data to change the face of leadership.
The founder and CEO of GemmaQ is the Icelander Freyja Þórarinsdóttir who is passionate about improving the gender balance in senior leadership. Today she is on a professional mission to help global markets invest directly in gender diversity by leveraging technology. Logi Bragason joined GemmaQ in 2019 as a full stack developer and Guðbjört Gylfadóttir also serves as an advisor to GemmaQ.
GemmaQ closed its first funding round in May 2022. There the company raised a $400K round led by the Icelandic VC firm Crowberry Capital.
Growblocks – $6.4M Seed
Growblocks is a Copenhagen-based software startup that helps organizations unlock their revenue potential through improved data insights and forecasting. The startup’s platform provides a data-driven and more accurate solution to what the company sees as a broken approach to revenue planning.
They feel like most companies are too focused on top-down targets and rationalizing decisions based on assumptions rather than data. Many businesses currently rely on massive excel spreadsheets that can be error-prone and difficult to update as the number of data sources grows. Growblocks strives to make this simpler and more efficient by putting companies’ entire funnel data to work for them.
The Icelandic presence can be clearly felt at Growblocks. Ólafur Sölvi Pálsson is the Co-founder and COO of the company. Other Icelanders working at Growblocks include Anton Sigríðarson, the head of customers, and Styrmir Másson, a customer solutions manager.
In July last year, Growblocks raised a Seed round of $6.4M to expand its revenue planning platform. The funding round was led by Project A Ventures with participation from Headline and other angel investors.
Klang Games – $41M Series C
Klang is a video game development studio based in Berlin that specializes in creating massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) with a focus on community-driven gameplay. In July 2016, Klang launched its first project, ReRunners: Race for the World, for iOS and Android devices, which was well-received by the gaming community.
Now, Klang is working on its next project, Seed, a simulation MMO utilizing SpatialOS technology. Seed will allow players to create and manage their own virtual societies. The game is designed to encourage collaboration and social interaction, with players working together to build and maintain their communities. Seed has been in development for several years.
Klang was founded in the spring of 2013 by three Icelanders with a shared passion for creating innovative and immersive gaming experiences. The founders are Mundi Gondi (CEO), Oddur Snær Magnússon (CTO), and Ívar Emilsson (CCO).
In the summer of 2022, Klang secured a $41M Series C round led by Animoca Brands and Kingway Capital. As can be read below, multiple other investors participated in this impressive funding round.
Sona – $6.8M Seed
Sona is a London-based workforce software system that offers employees a range of products and services to manage their practices more efficiently and engage with their employers. Sona’s software is designed to help companies to manage their schedules, appointments, patient information, and billing in a single platform.
Sona combines powerful productivity tools with a sleek, simple, and intuitive user experience. The app enables employees to see their schedule at a glance, book holiday from anywhere, pick up extra shifts, communicate with colleagues, find information, and give feedback instantly. At the same time, Sona allows managers to slash admin time, reduce agency and payroll spending, and elevate employee experience.
Ólafur Haukur Johnson (Oli Johnson) is the co-founder of Sona. He founded Sona in 2021.
In March last year, Sona raised $6.8M in funding. This seed round was led by Google’s Gradient Ventures. Multiple other investors took part in the round including the investment firm Novator founded by the Icelander Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson.