Meet Raja Skogland: An entrepreneur at heart who strongly believes in the limitlessness of human potential and is dedicated to empowering her peers.
Since 2015, Raja has helped thousands of entrepreneurs build their network, gain knowledge, and access capital in order to start and successfully grow their businesses.
From 2016 to 2018, she launched and managed Hub.no, the online platform tailored to the needs of Norwegian startups. She has also invested in and advised several Norwegian and international startups. In 2019 she launched the 1st online Accelerator program in Norway – GrundrAcademy.
Today she is head of Fintech at TheFactory, a leading Nordic Fintech & Proptech accelerator, incubator, and co-working space based in Oslo. In the last three years, TheFactory has invested in 29 startups, had one exit, accelerated over 50 startups, and built a network of over 50+ corporate partners.
The aim of TheFactory is to foster and nurture the Fintech & Proptech ecosystem, helping entrepreneurs build scalable, sustainable and profitable companies, as well as helping the more traditional finance and real estate industry access tools, knowledge and the relevant startups to help them in their technological transformation.
The Nordic countries are leading the way toward a cashless future. Fewer than 10% of Norwegian consumers carry cash for everyday purchases, and the nation’s Central Bank believes cash use will dwindle to almost nothing in the next decade.
Tell us more about what you do and how you moved into your space.
I started my career in private banking in Switzerland. I had amazing opportunities. From investment management and being in charge of a trading desk for funds, to risk management and relationship management – I took care of a portfolio of clients valued at over 1 Billion USD in less than 4 years.
On paper, I was doing great. I was moving fast and making more money every year. But… something was missing. I was continuously questioning myself and the meaning of my life. I wanted to make an impact and contribute to changing people’s lives. I also wanted to explore my own potential and what us humans are capable of creating.
That’s why I started to get involved with startups. Entrepreneurship for me is a tool to empower ourselves and empower others. With the right knowledge, network, and mindset we are capable of bringing life into ideas and changing the world around us.
It has been five years now that I have been actively involved within the Norwegian startup ecosystem. I have been a community builder, a startup advisor, a coach, an angel investor, an entrepreneur and founder myself. I build platforms tailored to the needs of startups as well as connect corporates and startups.
What role do you play in the tech ecosystem and why is that role important?
As Head of Fintech at TheFactory, my role is to strengthen the Norwegian Fintech ecosystem, deploy the means to help create the best Nordic Fintech startups, and be a spokesperson for the industry on behalf of entrepreneurs, investors, and the ecosystem as a whole.
What do you believe is the most exciting tech trend for 2019 (as it relates to your industry)?
In the next few years, open banking is going to create a lot of new opportunities. We expect to see the B2B space grow very quickly with more and more companies focusing on data management, data analysis and data aggregation.
Who is a person that inspires you? Why?
I am fascinated by people who dream big and don’t fear executing on their visions. They are my source of inspiration.
What advice would you give for someone who wants to get into your space?
Solve a problem people would pay to get solved. It is important to get proof of concept as soon as possible. Get sales traction, a pilot customer, or letters of intent asap, before finishing or even starting to build your product or service.