“Let me introduce you to someone who has inspired me”, said the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, in her New Year speech as we entered the year of 2017. In front of a million viewers, she spoke about the outstanding research environment at the University of Bergen and their breakthrough within research of new cancer treatments. The research, carried out with Jim Lorens in the lead, led to the establishment of the company BerGenBio in 2007. The long-term ambition is to make the treatment beneficial for the society.
We were truly proud, sitting there in front of the TV. We were proud on behalf of the University of Bergen, the researchers and the employees in BerGenBio. We were proud on behalf of the people investing in research and in the company, and proud on behalf of the job we have done in BTO. We did not get less proud when BerGenBio was listed on the stock exchange just a couple of months later.
BerGenBio raised the bar and proved what Vestlandets’ ecosystem for innovation has the ability to create. Our goal must be to contribute with creating the best ecosystem for innovation, creation and growth. This is an ambitious goal, but nevertheless a goal within reach.
We have something unique. We have a sea of opportunities.
The company Rock Physics Technology (RPT) is a great example of someone that has made use of these opportunities. During the autumn of 2017, RPT became historic when BTO sold our shares in the company. This was historic because it was the first sale of shares invested through the governmental pre-seed-scheme. The shares gave a profit of 43.5 per cent, and proofs that the pre-seed-scheme works. RPT develops a digital software to help geologists and geophysicists to locate, delineate and grow the production of oil and gas deposits. The software is based on research from the University of Bergen. You can read more about the sale and RPT on page 37 in our annual report.
In late 2017, Aquabyte, a newly founded American technology company, moved to our premises at Marineholmen. Earlier that year, they had visited our collaborating partner NCE Seafood Innovation Cluster. During the time spent in our region, the company gained insight in capital, research, science and education, and they met a world leading and innovative business environment. The Americans were so impressed that they chose to move a part of their company from San Francisco to Bergen. By doing this, they connected international expertise within artificial intelligence with regional expertise within the ocean industry. The fact that Aquabyte partly moved to Bergen is a nice recognition, one of many well-earned advantages we have established here in our region.
In BTO, we go to work every day knowing that we contribute to creating stories like these. It is our mission to create more jobs and thus that the society can gain access to new products, services and processes. Together with forces from academia, entrepreneurs, industry clusters, governmental actors and investors, we will create the worlds’ best ecosystem for innovation.
Our plan is to create more stories that inspire both prime ministers and others. We would like to thank the institutions that have had our back and by this have contributed with creating stories like those mentioned.