The start-up ecosystem during COVID-19: A talk with Audun Abelsnes

With the World Health Organization recently declaring the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic, businesses, start-ups and investors have had to adapt to new developments very quickly. The spread of the corona virus has resulted in a reorientation of relations between governments and businesses and has caused many countries to enforce stringent lockdown policies. With that being said, we have also seen unprecedented global efforts to work together to stem the spread of the virus.

In an effort to better understand its effects and opportunities that the current situation can present, particularly for start-ups and the energy sector, we turned to Audun Abelsnes from Equinor and Techstars Energy Accelerator who has agreed to answer some questions on how companies are adjusting to the developments related to the corona virus outbreak and its global effects.

Audun Abelsnes is the Managing Director of Techstars Energy in partnership with Equinor, Kongsberg and Capgemini. For several years, Audun Abelsnes has been part-responsible for the master-level course “New Venture Creation” (5th year) at BI Norwegian Business School (one of the Top50 business schools in Europe).


In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, have there been any changes in your daily business practices (outside of home office)? Has the current crisis deeply affected the energy investment ecosystem?

Audun Abelsnes (AA): Techstars Energy sees a significant increase in uncertainty. And uncertainty means that investors distance themselves from start-ups and risk in general. However, the energy founder must continue the outreach towards investors and partners. If you go “radio silent”, that will create uncertainty.

How will you continue to work with start-ups during and after these times? Is there a roadmap in place? Can you provide any examples?

AA: I strongly recommend founders to continue the “hustle” and continue updating and informing your investors and potential investors remotely.  Founders have to conserve cash but still you cannot save yourself to success. And it yet again boils down to fantastic teams that can push through difficult times as this.

Do you see a chance that these drastic changes to our lifestyle could result in a greater push for innovation?

AA: Every crisis is also a good opportunity to make a stand and to evolve into an even stronger company. This crisis is also much about non-personal contact so I would assume an uptake in remote technology and robotics towards the energy industry.

Techstars Energy applications are now open! It remains a fantastic opportunity for energy entrepreneurs globally!


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