The impact of Nordic Innovation House on Tokyo … and on you!

Nordic Innovation House is a global innovation platform created by the five Nordic countries in collaboration for now and for the future. Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland work together in a unique partnership. Primarily, it’s in order to help the best startups and scaleups to save time, make the right connections and grow further. Secondary gains are the promotion of Nordic culture and Nordic values of sustainability, cooperation and fairness. This blog article is a dive into the early and impressive start of NIH Tokyo and an interview of Niklas Karvonen, NIH Tokyo’s director.

In 2020, Tokyo became Nordic Innovation House location #5

Before Tokyo, NIH established themselves in the World’s most interesting melting pots: Silicon Valley, New York, Singapore and Hong Kong. Each NIH having a slightly different focus, but all essentially being industry agnostic. As long as you have ambition, traction, see expansion as the next step and innovation with some technical height, they will want to speak to you.

Are you a tech company from the Nordics? Connect to get a head start in Japan!

Niklas Karvonen
Niklas Karvonen, director of Nordic Innovation House Tokyo, NIH Tokyo.

Do you also want to contribute or collaborate with us in Tokyo? Contact me directly!

Niklas Karvonen,

In Tokyo, the director is Niklas Karvonen, an expatriate Finn. He’s a strikingly friendly, humble and bright guy with an amazing network. At 29 years of age, he’s already lived in Japan for 4 years and has worked as community and marketing lead for a tech company in Tokyo, business designer for a Japanese IoT startup, and he’s been an active member of the global startup community in Japan through organizing events such as Slush Tokyo. He tells us:

– What makes me the proudest, is that we are a Pan-Nordic collaboration that saves time and resources for our growing companies. It takes time to find the right partners on a new market, and you always run the risk of partnering with someone who doesn’t understand your needs. As we have access to tried and tested consultants, back-office companies, business lawyers, auditors, investors, companies working along the lines of Open Innovation and all the other resources you need, our goal is to help the Nordic companies hit the ground running in Japan. Our partners, including also Japanese governmental institutions and the Nordic support agencies, are all eager to get to know you in order to see how they can be of use.

Nordic Innovation House (NIH) is funded by Nordic Innovation (NI) and saw its first NIH come into existence in Silicon Valley in 2014. It proved to be a success and they now host several hundreds of members, all of which are startups or scale-ups from the Nordics. The impressive and ever-expanding list of the Nordic membership companies in Silicon Valley you can check out here. In Tokyo, the work of finding eligible members has only just begun.

– We are very excited that we, in fact, just last week (!) launched our campaign and work in finding our Nordic member companies. Naturally, we are looking for eligible members where Tokyo and Japan is a great fit for their business growth and expansion plans. It’s well worth mentioning that we will also invite our pioneering members to join us in talks on how to develop our offering. We are looking forward to becoming the best possible innovation community and platform for the Nordic business ecosystem in Japan.

Japanese investment in Nordic startups is on the rise! Diagram from the report Nordic Ecosystem.

Before setting up the organization for active members that are used by the assistance of NIH, many things need to be in place. For that reason, Niklas and his aides have been busy creating connections to trusted service providers, mentors, Japanese corporations and investors, industry associations and media, as well as increasing NIH Tokyo’s organic reach in mapping key opportunity verticals for Nordic companies. They are working with large governmental organizations like JETRO and all the way down to one-woman-sized companies.

– We only look for the best and most trustworthy partners with great tracking records. We want outstanding Nordic companies to meet with great mentors. We believe that by putting quality at the centre of our actions, we can deliver the most value to our complete ecosystem. We are happy to say that our Pan-Nordic collaboration is unique in the world, and saves our members’ most valuable asset: time.

Resources for you to dig in to:

Want to join NIH Tokyo’s Newsletter? Subscribe from the website:

Contact NIH in South East Asia directly:

Tokyo: Niklas Karvonen Mobile: +81 80 8908 4814

Singapore: Sami Jääskeläinen  Mobile: +65 9722 5131 

Hong Kong: Binh Johansson Mobile: +852 6623 8799

Want to learn more about NIH in SE Asia? Then you have to watch this:

A 1-hour jam-packed session explaining everything about NIH Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore on Youtube:

Everything you ever wanted to know about Nordic Innovation House in Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong.

You can download the slides here:

Useful links:

Nordic Innovation House Tokyo:

Nordic Innovation House:

Nordic Innovation:

Great resources:

The graph in this blog post comes from Innovation Lab Asia’s ”Nordic Ecosystem” report (2019). Please access it here: , it’s a good read presenting the Nordic startup ecosystem for a Japanese audience.

If you want to tracks investments from Japan to the Nordics, have a look at this site: A lot of interesting stuff there.

The picture of Tokyo comes from Nordic Innovation House Tokyo’s homepage.