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The Explorer – two years successfully connecting global sustainability challenges with Norwegian solutions.
Kai Thrones, CMO, Bewi Energy
“Our product capabilities aside, exposure on The Explorer has meant that we’ve been approached by larger potential partners much sooner than expected.”
Among other things, Bewi Energy manufactures the Tubular Smart Protector featuring a circular design that significantly reduces virgin plastic use and can result in an 80 per cent reduction of carbon emissions compared to similar products commonly used for transporting pipes. Confident in its product, in February 2021 Bewi Energy turned to The Explorer to help to spread the message. Just months later, Thrones is already pleased with the response:
“We are now in tight dialogue with several of these as a result and have even reached a level of strategic partnership with one contact who found us via The Explorer.”
Bewi Energy joins a growing list of Norwegian companies that have made important connections since The Explorer first made its international debut in May 2019. The goal then, as now, was simple: to provide a global service that matches the world’s most difficult social and environmental challenges with the Norwegian companies that can solve them.
To cut the chaff, every Norwegian solution presented on The Explorer is first vetted to ensure that it qualifies as sustainable (according to The Explorer’s definition), contributes to achieving at least one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, and that the company is ready for international growth. In addition, companies must confirm that they work in accordance with responsible business conduct as defined by the OECD and the UN.
International companies and investors, meanwhile, can use The Explorer free of charge to browse trusted Norwegian companies with vetted solutions, and use its matchmaking function to identify and get in contact with the most relevant solution providers.
Three years after its Norwegian launch and with over 400 published solutions, The Explorer continues to expand both in scale and in scope. In September 2020, a Chinese version of the website was launched. The combined Norwegian–Chinese platforms receive more than 100 000 international users each month, primarily from China, the US, India, Japan, the UK, Germany and France. One in four companies now report new contacts were made via The Explorer, and ten out of ten are satisfied with the service they have received.
One such satisfied partner is Fjord Maritime, producer of plug-and-play hybrid technology that can reduce fuel consumption in fish farms by up to 60 per cent. Offering clear financial incentive and carbon emission reductions to fish farm operators, all that was left was to spread the word.
“For us, The Explorer has acted as a window to display our products and solutions to the outside world, often to those outside our usual network,” explains Fjord Maritime’s CCO Øyvind Bakke.
Øyvind Bakke, CCO, Fjord Maritime
“Companies from Newfoundland and Chile, for example, have recently reached out to us after discovering our solution on The Explorer.”
By offering high-quality communication with a global reach, The Explorer helps companies like Fjord Maritime to focus on doing what they do best: developing sustainable, disruptive products and services. The application process is streamlined and flexible. Companies fill in a simple template that provides information for the vetting process and an understanding of the solution. Once a solution is approved, the skilled communications team at The Explorer takes over to write a professional presentation.
“We were incredibly happy with the onboarding process, whereby the team from The Explorer was able to help us to present our technological solutions in an uncomplicated and effective manner,” shares Bakke, who adds that the presentation has also been an invaluable asset in its own communications work and pitches to potential clients.
Signed contracts, international recognition and more – The Explorer’s partner success stories have come in many forms. For the Norwegian airborne wind energy innovator, Kitemill, success meant gaining indispensable knowledge. Kitemill’s founder Thomas Hårklau explains:
Thomas Hårklau, Founder, Kitemill
“We were approached by a Chinese investment firm that had located us on The Explorer, having already screened us and finding that we were a match using the platform.”
The Chinese investors first came to Oslo, and then invited Hårklau to China where they visited facilities, met government representatives and negotiated conditions.
“Even though this deal is not yet closed, the experience has accelerated the funding process and sharpened Kitemill’s business model,” says Hårklau.
As such, Hårklau already feels that his business has grown due to its exposure on The Explorer, and he plans to continue seeing where this partnership might take him next:
“We feel it is important for Kitemill to be present on Norway’s official green tech platform and have this as a priority in ensuring our visibility.”
On one thing, all three business leaders can attest: Whether a signed contract, a potential customer or an invaluable learning experience, presence on The Explorer has served to validate their solutions. Thrones explains how:
“Being evaluated and qualified as green and sustainable technology by external third-party validators such as The Explorer was one more verification of our disruptive thinking.”
According to Thrones, Bewi Energy has witnessed a clear effect when flagging its Explorer content in presentation materials and on its website and suggests this has been useful in strengthening applications for R&D funding.
“Among other things, this assisted us in relaying the message to several areas of the world where we anticipated a tougher entry,” shares Thrones, who concludes: “This validation was able to help to give our product and our process ‘clout’.”