FeltGIS has carried out an issue with Såkornfondet First Seed Hedmark as lead investor. Divided into three tranches, the agreement that has been entered into can add up to NOK 10.3m in EK. With this, a plan has been laid to further develop the company to become a leading player in the delivery of digital services and communication solutions for forestry.
Since 2016, Isak Hasselvold, together with partner Kristoffer Stenersen, has developed technology so that players in forestry can more easily exchange data with personnel and machines out in the forest on the felling fields. A wireless router gives smartphones access to the production data in the harvesting machines and automatically exchanges data as soon as the phone is within mobile coverage.
- We develop solutions based on close dialogue with users. It is their everyday life that we are going to make easier and more efficient, says Isak.
Isak is a forester himself, and has always worked with data.
- My contribution is to have communication with forestry at the same time that I have the technological insight to order effectively from Kristoffer, my colleague, who is a programmer. We have worked together for about 10 years, so he has also gained a good understanding and insight into forestry needs, says Isak.
Strengthens the team
With a rising curve since the start in 2016, FeltGIS has become a respected player in the industry, with big names in forestry as customers. Skogdata, Nortømmer, Glommen Mjøsen Skog and Fjordtømmer are all customers and users of the products of FeltGIS. Therefore, it was time at the start of 2020 to look for investors who wanted to invest in the company.
- We want to employ more people, in all stages within development, sales and administration. In order to be a long-term reliable partner for the customers and thereby lay the foundation for rapid growth, it was necessary to bring in investors, says Isak.
Investment manager in First Seed, Endre Krogsrud, says that they have been working since November 2020 with the investment in FeltGIS.
- It is particularly nice to have found such an exciting company in the forest sector, which is so important for the Inlandsfylket. We strongly believe that FeltGIS can become an important contributor to streamlining work processes and increased profitability in the industry. In the long term, we also believe that FeltGIS has great potential as a provider of its solutions in an international market, says Endre.
Help from Kobben
As early as January 2020, FeltGIS started looking for investors, but then the pandemic came and put a damper on things. As a result, it has taken a little more time than desired. Thanks to acquaintances, Isak and FeltGIS were put in contact with Silicia. This has been a valuable collaboration, explains Isak.
- They helped us with the prospect and not least put us in touch with an environment that took an immediate interest.
Kobben's role has, in this case, been to connect people together. Over many years and projects, we have built up a good network, which our customers can benefit from. We are keen to contribute to the development of our affiliated companies, and do what needs to be done. Whether it's using our network, expertise or project support. In this case it was a network, says Tormod Moldestad who has been an adviser on Kobben's side.
Because FeltGIS was looking for an investor who would place their money in district-based companies. Here, Skagerak Maturo, manager of the First Seed fund, has entered the field as lead investor. According to Isak, First Seed's ambition is to support start-ups from the district. Otherwise, the rest of the board in FeltGIS consists of chairman Endre Sæther and board members Ola Erik Rostad and Ole Reino Tala.
The green shift and international interest
And it is not only in Norway that there is interest in FieldGIS and their technology. Isak repeatedly mentions France, Spain, Germany, Poland, Finland and Canada (to name a few) as being interested in this type of technology. Today, FeltGIS has around 150 boxes deployed internationally for test and development purposes and they are now in contact with representatives from Australia and New Zealand.
- We have gained a little flow because of a project we have with NIBIO (Norwegian Institute for Bioeconomy). They still get some funds to support forestry and have contacts internationally. They help us so that our solution is known around Norway and the world, says Isak.
Isak and the rest of the team at FeltGIS are now looking towards the green shift and want to create sustainable solutions for their customers. With the help of digital tools that are specially adapted to each individual need, customers save time and fuel, among other things.
- We achieve that with better planning. Simple, but better planning, says Isak, and then adds:
An important player in forestry
FeltGIS has also been affected by the pandemic. In particular, the process of finding investors has taken a long time, largely due to the uncertainty.
- Things have taken a little longer. We would probably have come a little further in consolidating our position had it not been for the uncertainty with corona. Financially, there has been uncertainty in relation to funding, which is probably partly due to the pandemic and the fact that things have naturally taken a bit longer. But fortunately we have had assignments with sufficient cash flow to cover daily operations and development in collaboration with customers. We are satisfied with the process and have probably been lucky compared to many others, he says.
Isak hopes that in the future FeltGIS can become an important player in the forestry industry and establish its position as a supplier of key expertise to forestry. A long-term ambition for FeltGIS is to create a common production and environmental database so that all unregistered biological values are registered, continuously updated and secured as a basis for further management.
- There are endless possibilities for FieldGIS. The solution we have developed also works offline and that is important as there is poor coverage in large parts of forest Norway, says Isak and then adds:
- We are in dialogue with actors in several areas within forestry. It's about being the one who offers smart and innovative solutions. In 2021, we will consolidate our position and at the same time work on a long-term strategy. The goal is a digital ecosystem for forestry where we create our own and customized solutions for different actors within forestry.