The Møller family office Aars is investing 100 MNOK ($11.3M USD) into the company builder Iterate.
“Iterate has succeeded in creating an innovative and playful environment, where employees use their working time to both develop their own ideas, and solve customers' challenges. Furthermore, Iterate has built its own setup of tools for start-up companies. Iterate is a place of creativity, innovation, and digital competence. From Aar's side, we contribute with extensive experience as owners in developing mature companies. We are convinced that this will be a win-win collaboration between two different environments and working methods in addition to the deep experience on both sides in developing companies.” says Fredrik Dokk Nygaard, Head of Direct Investments in Aars.
Aars is the Møller family office and investment company that owns organizations such as the Møller Mobility Group, OneCo, Møller Eiendom, InfoCare, and Alfa Sko. The group had a total turnover of 40 billion NOK ($4.5B USD) in 2020 and employs 8,400 employees throughout the companies in their portfolio. Aars is investing 100 MNOK into Iterate and joining the board.
“Aars and Iterate represent two completely different environments, with different histories and expertise. At the same time, we share many of the same core values and ideas about what it takes to succeed in the business world of the future. The chemistry was good right from the initial conversations, and we look forward to working together.” says Dokk Nygaard in Aars.
Iterate has 80 employees and a turnover of 90 MNOK ($10.3M USD). The company started as a consulting company in 2007 but the business has evolved to also develop and invest in new companies. Since the start of the venture activities, Iterate has invested in 18 startup companies, including Woolit, Vake, Flow Technologies, Dagens, and recently sold their ownership stake in Porterbuddy.
Today, Iterate consists of several business areas: Traditional consulting activities in software development, digitization, branding and product design, investment into early-stage companies, and in-house software development.
“In Iterate and through working with our customers in the consulting business, we have gained knowledge about software development, design, branding, and product development. Iterate has brought this expertise into our startup companies. We are happy to have Aars as a new investor and partner. It provides a completely new opportunity and will elevate Iterate and our ventures into a new phase.” says Anders Haugeto, Chairman of the Board and co-founder of Iterate.
“Iterate has managed to develop a fantastic interaction between the various business areas in the company, which we see is self-reinforcing and developing. Through this partnership, Aars will be in a better position to further develop our own companies by gaining insights and tools that can make us a better owner. In addition, we see that the partnership will give us an exciting exposure to early-stage companies.” says Dokk Nygaard.
For Iterate, it will be important to preserve while also strengthening the unique entrepreneurial spirit the company has created.
“Iterate's vision is to give employees the opportunity to pursue their dreams. Most successful entrepreneurs came up with their ideas while being employed. So at Iterate, we want to let our employees develop their ideas with us instead of leaving to pursue them. Employees can in a sense ‘play’ with those ideas during their normal work hours. If those ideas start to work they can even establish their own company while still with us. With Aars on the team now even more of our future entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to bring their idea to life”, says Kim Ophus Leskovsky, Co-founder of Iterate.
Iterate started in 2007 as a consulting company. In 2016, they started to develop and invest in new startup companies. This led to Iterate starting new companies rather than making a large profit. Since the start of the venture, Iterate has owned shares in 18 new startup companies, including Woolit, Vake, Flow Technologies, Dagens, and recently sold the ownership stake in Porterbuddy. In recent times, they have also developed their own software tools primarily for startup companies, however, these same tools are also used by more mature companies. The startup tools are sold using a software as a service (SaaS) model.
The founders Anders Haugeto and Kim Ophus Leskovsky and the CEO Rune Larsen still hold the largest ownership positions in Iterate. Furthermore, the majority of Iterate employees have ownership positions as well. External shareholders include Charles Adler, one of the founders of the global crowdfunding success Kickstarter, IT leaders such as Torgeir Hovden (CTO of Telenor and Founder of Signatu), Victor Henning (founder of Mendeley), Sean Percival (former CMO Whereby and Vice President for Myspace), Henrik Gerner-Mathisen and Tord Störtebecker (Founders of Porterbuddy), and Dag and Masha Strømme.
Aars is the Møller family office and investment company. The family's ownership and businesses have been gathered in Aars AS since 2014, and have roots going back to 1936 when Harald Aars Møller started a car shop and workshop in Strømmen outside Oslo.Today, the 3rd and 4th generations make up the active owners in Aars. The ownership currently includes companies such as Møller Mobility Group, Møller Eiendom, Møller Medvind, and a portfolio of long-term investments in selected companies in various industries. The portfolio of direct investments currently consists of the companies; Alfa Sko, InfoCare, Micro Matic, OneCo, and Pizza Hut in Sweden.
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