I am delighted to see the efforts of Ministry of Industry and Innovation and the Federation of Icelandic Industry. There is a new information and resource site that has been created for professionals wanting to locate to Iceland and work in Iceland. This information was so scattered and unusable before that I struggled to connect people who wanted to migrate to Iceland and work in Iceland. Not anymore, there is now a one-stop-shop for everything related to migrating and working in Iceland.
Diversity is strength. Iceland has all the ingredients to build a fantastic diverse community. We are 10+ years into the journey of building the startup community. When I was preaching this gospel that building a vibrant startup community is a public good, most people would ask me does Iceland have enough talented people to work, are there Universities etc I have always felt those were moot points because if Iceland builds interesting companies then smart people will want to come here and work on those smart problems. It was the reason I moved from the US from a very successful career to join a Bank. I think there are many like me who have now made Iceland their home. We had to struggle through figuring out all the practicalities of living and working in Iceland. Thankfully I have a very resourceful wife who is Icelandic and helped in resolving a number of challenges when we moved.
Iceland is a small country but it has the potential to solve huge problems. I wrote a blog post while back about doubling down on Iceland, although Dave McClure who is on the video in that blog post is no where to be found in the startup circles these days, what he said still holds true. If we continue to invest in founders it will create the value chain of building new things and solving the challenges of the future. I have been true to that statement, I am betting on founders. We are now not limited to founders from Iceland, we are open to all founders. Anyone working on interesting things come and start in Iceland. Efforts like the above really open the doors to incredible opportunities. Immigrants make up most of the entrepreneurial community in many developing cities and countries and it is by design.
When you move into a new place it is hard to break into the existing networks, I thought I was skilled to have gotten a job at an Icelandic bank only later did I find out that it was a stroke of luck. I have written about how difficult it was for me to get a job after I was fired from the bank as well. That situation forced me to become an entrepreneur and founder. It was probably the second best lucky break that I got (the first being me meeting my wife:) but it did not feel that way when I was trying to get a job. Certain moments in time are far more important and valuable than most of the time. It is a power law! For those who have heard about my obsession with power law, understanding the power law is not trivial, but making decisions based on the power law is even harder. By opening up the path to immigration of smart people to Iceland, I believe we have bumped into one of those Power Law moments. I am excited to see how this transforms Iceland. If you are a founder reading this and interested to work with Iceland Venture Studio, click on the Contact Us button and fill out the 7 questions.