The Memo: NSA Ventures' Annual Meeting

Correction: In an earlier version I wrongly quoted Almar as having said “We hope that preparation and establishment of a new fund will finalize in the next weeks.” The words and establishment shouldn’t have been there, Almar didn’t suggest they were on the verge of starting a new fund.

Happy Monday everyone. I’m writing this from a downtown coffee shop in beautiful weather. I do hope the summer starts arriving / sticking around.

There’s a good number of events coming up. Startup Iceland is next week, as well as the Nordic Startup Awards grand finale. Two hackathons are around the corner as well. Ultrahack is on May 29th and Arion Bank’s FinTech Party is June 3rd (you can sign up until May 27th).

NSA Ventures are hosting their annual meeting tomorrow, Tuesday. They’ll release their annual report at the meeting at Norræna Húsið. Last year’s annual meeting had the following highlights. Note that I wasn’t there, and am basing these points on their press release.

  • 201 million ISK profit.
  • 386 million ISK investment – both fresh and followups. Two fresh investments in 2014 – Kaptio and Sling.
  • Almar Guðmundsson, chairman of the board, discussed that NSA wanted to start a new early stage fund – Silfra. “We hope that preparation of a new fund will finalize in the next weeks.” (Note: as you should know, this hasn’t happened)
  • The fund had 5.3 bn ISK in assets in 34 companies and funds. That’s based on their annual report. Just as with any investment fund with startup assets, valuations are tricky. That means the 5.3 bn number could be over- or underestimated if the fund would liquidate its assets.

We’ll of course be there. Although the meeting doesn’t include time for Q&A (which I find strange), we’ll try to get comments from the fund on the topics they cover.

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I have some predictions about the event. You should take with a grain of salt, because they’re predictions.

  • We won’t hear much about Silfra, the early stage fund. I think NSA is no longer focusing on this.
  • The fund might discuss that some of their companies are in a sales process. Rumors say 3-4 co’s. I don’t expect much details.
  • NSA doesn’t have much available capital to fund companies at the moment (hence exiting several companies). I doubt they have plans for more than 1-2 investments this year.
  • Last year was a slow year for NSA in fresh investments – the only one we tracked was their investment in Sólfar VR. We know that they increased investments in some companies, but those fundings are rarely disclosed.

You’ll hear more about it tomorrow.

Finance minister Bjarni Ben is pushing for gradual easing of the capital controls. If I understand it correctly this only affects foreign holders of assets in ISK, and won’t directly affect the Icelandic startup environment. Yet. This is a step in removing the cap-controls, which is very valuable to the industry.

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