Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk and Icelandic financial services provider Audur Capital have established a joint venture fund called BJÖRK, after the singer. The fund will be used to invest in seed companies in Iceland.
Björk speaking during the "Innovit" seminar in Iceland on October 18, 2008. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
“It’s Audur’s idea and it’s a great honor that [the fund] is named after me,” Björk told Morgunbladid when she and Audur’s chief executives, Halla Tómasdóttir and Kristín Pétursdóttir, presented their initiative yesterday.
It is hoped that the fund will have close to ISK 2 billion (USD 17 million, EUR 12 million) in capital and that companies will be able to apply for grants from the fund next year. Audur Capital has already contributed ISK 100 million (USD 867,000, EUR 614,000) to the fund.
Björk said she will assist Audur Capital with the venture fund in any way possible. The singer has publicly expressed her support for Icelandic seed companies, both domestically and abroad, in the past months, bringing attention to their operations.
“It was often necessary but now it’s of vital importance. I hope that both seed companies and people with money will take an interest in this initiative,” Björk encouraged, adding that she is pleased about the fund’s focus on environmentally-friendly operations.
Tómasdóttir, executive chairman of Audur Capital, said the idea for the fund was inspired by Björk’s work with the grass root. “It became clear after the banks collapsed and we were faced with these unbelievable times in Iceland that innovation and seed companies have had it very difficult.”
Tómasdóttir stated that a new Iceland has to be more diverse than it used to be. “We especially look towards deploying money to sustainable companies.”
The fund will only support companies that are financially profitable, socially responsible in terms of business methods and environmentally friendly. “We believe there are many investors out there who have limited stock investments to choose from in the current environment,” Tómasdóttir said.
Tómasdóttir added that the government should present a policy on innovation. “But I think we have reached a point where the grass root and the people in this country have become more powerful and they should present a vision for the future rather than the government.”
Investing in seed companies is risky, Tómasdóttir admitted, but still the right way to go.
Click here to read an interview with Halla Tómasdóttir.