Financing of startups : a comparative study of Norway and the USA
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- Master Thesis 
This thesis aims at gaining an understanding of the mechanisms behind obtaining the necessary funding for an innovative startup in both Norway and the USA. The main focus is to identify areas where the two markets differ in terms of accessibility to different sources of funding, underlying causes for this, and to give some insight into what implications these differences have in regards to entrepreneurial activity and innovation. Are there clear differences between the perceived ease of acquiring capital from an entrepreneur's point of view; how do comparable capital-providing institutions stand towards supporting innovative startups; and can the accessibility to capital contribute to explaining the difference in the degree of entrepreneurial activity between two countries that are in many ways very similar? Hence the research question is: Are there any differences in the accessibility of capital for innovative startups between Norway and the USA, and what implications may these differences have? To gain such insight we found it most purposeful to construct a qualitative research method, using personal interviews with individuals behind innovative startups, individuals in relevant positions in institutions that support startups financially, and other individuals possessing expertise on this particular subject. By doing so, we aimed at obtaining data that could shed light on this research questions from several perspectives, which was beneficial as it allowed for a nuanced analysis. These data were analyzed up against relevant theory from several researchers within the academic fields we have found to be applicable. A number of interesting findings have been uncovered while examining the research question of this thesis. Gaps in both capital markets have been identified, where Norway lacks Series A capital and onwards, while Silicon Valley lacks external capital in the very earliest stages resulting in a greater reliance on self-financing among entrepreneurs. It is also evident that the culture of Silicon Valley has shaped their entrepreneurial environment, and vice versa, resulting in a self-contained ecosystem whose conditions facilitate entrepreneurial activities. This is particularly evident in how it is simpler for entrepreneurs to build and maintain their social and human capital in Silicon Valley, which is advantageous when seeking to obtain external financial capital.