On November 9, the Icelandic Trade Consulate of New York and Íslandsstofa (Promote Iceland) hosted the “Small Country, Big Ideas: The Icelandic Life Sciences Ecosystem” investment showcase. At the event, trade officials, investors, and prospective entrepreneurs made their pitch for Iceland as a VC oasis, where innovation is a dedicated government priority and the small size of the economy allows every startup to seek a global market.
Iceland’s startup landscape has expanded from traditional drug development and biotech into sectors that combine natural resources and agricultural technology with emergent bio-applications. And it is expected to grow even more in the future, given Iceland’s “startup-friendly business environment” supported through government grants, foreign investors, and other sponsorship opportunities.
The Icelandic Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Bjarni Benediktsson, was a featured speaker at the event, where noted that technology and pharmaceuticals account for close to 50 percent of Iceland’s service exports, and that the country is increasingly technologically connected.
Other featured speakers included deCODE Genetics founder Kari Stefansson, Robert Wessman of Alvogen Pharma, and Terry McGuire, founding partner of early-stage venture capital firm Polaris Partners.
Check out the event agenda here and listen to Tanya Zharov, Deputy CEO at Alvotech discuss the Icelandic life science ecosystem: