X2 Labs Reach­ing for the Sky

Stavanger-based X2 is a fam­ily of com­pa­nies fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing, launch­ing and scal­ing new busi­ness ven­tures in a wide ar­ray of in­dus­tries across the globe.

Norway-Asia Business Review - - Snapshots - HENRI VIIRALT

The group’s over­ar­ch­ing val­ues are tied around hav­ing a unique com­bi­na­tion of peo­ple, pro­grams and part­ners that ca­pa­ble of driv­ing fast-based growth, with the end goal of tak­ing Nor­way to a post-oil & gas fu­ture and pin­ning it as a global hub for in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship.

“X2 Labs is a Nor­we­gian startup ac­cel­er­a­tor and ven­ture builder. Our mis­sion is to rein­vent en­trepreneur­ship in or­der to build bet­ter, more ag­ile and suc­cess­ful star­tups. We launched our own min­i­mum vi­able prod­uct (MVP) in late 2016, and have since then ran four pro­grams with nearly 50 teams. Our pro­grams cover smart cities, digital tourism, aqua­cul­ture and ocean space - all of which have been marked by our re­search as in­dus­tries of the fu­ture,” says CEO & Co-Founder, Chris­tian Ran­gen.

The ac­cel­er­a­tor it­self com­prises four weeks of in­tense on­site work in teams, with up to 19 hours a day of end­lessly re­vis­ing and pitch­ing their ideas to in­vestors and part­ners. At the end of the val­i­da­tion process, a hand­ful of teams are se­lected to be­come ac­tual star­tups.

X2 Labs works on a sta­tis­ti­cal model where they ex­pect to ac­cel­er­ate 1-2 star­tups per batch in any given pro­gram. To date, X2 Labs has ac­cel­er­ated 15 star­tups, but their cur­rent goal is to launch at min­i­mum 50 new com­pa­nies, thereby mak­ing them one of the largest and most am­bi­tious en­trepreneur­ship pro­grams in the Nordics.

“Nor­way’s fu­ture lies in the ocean space. Re­new­able en­ergy, au­tonomous ship­ping, drones, aqua­cul­ture, ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies and new busi­ness mod­els; all of it is built on gen­er­a­tions of mar­itime knowl­edge and cul­ture. For us, the ‘Ocean Space’ pro­gram, in its broad­est sense, was a nat­u­ral fit. We were able to at­tract gov­ern­ment bod­ies and cor­po­rate part­ners from across the land­scape, in­clud­ing Sta­toil, Atea and Cisco among oth­ers.”

Out of all the teams that par­tic­i­pated in the Ocean Space pro­gram, Mr Ran­gen con­sider EIR of Nor­way to be the run­away suc­cess.

“They have found a mas­sive mar­ket op­por­tu­nity with a solid route to mar­ket and their team has learned to ex­e­cute very, very fast. So far, they have raised two small rounds of cap­i­tal, all of it hap­pen­ing in un­der six months. EIR are con­sis­tently hit­ting ev­ery mile­stone in their project plan. They are def­i­nitely go­ing to go far.”

As for X2 Labs, at the mo­ment Mr Ran­gen is con­cen­trat­ing on two phases in se­quen­tial or­der: first, fos­ter­ing and scal­ing their top nine port­fo­lio com­pa­nies, which he says in­cludes a very hands-on ap­proach to fundrais­ing, se­cur­ing in­vestors, build­ing the teams and test­ing the busi­ness mod­els. The sec­ond phase is to work on plan­ning the next three pro­grams for the ac­cel­er­a­tor.

“We are very ex­cited to an­nounce that they will all be built around the ocean space, ocean tech and aqua­cul­ture sec­tors. We can’t wait to get started. The of­fi­cial launch dates are not made pub­lic yet, but new in­for­ma­tion will be re­leased in the near fu­ture.”

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