The Companies We Look For

We seek to create measurable social results by investing in social entrepreneurs and strengthening their markets. Each year, we select one to two innovative companies that solve a demanding social challenge and contribute to a more inclusive society. We look for companies that are ready to scale and with proven social impact, and for early-phase companies with an innovative solution.


Generasjon M is one of our portfolio companies. They employ young people as visiting friends for elderly people in care homes and nursing homes. Photo: Generasjon M

We consider investments in both non-profit companies and normal limited liability companies that have:

1. Measurable Social Results
The companies we consider must solve a social problem in Norway or the Nordic region in an innovative way, and be able to demonstrate measurable social results. We look at all types of solutions that help create a more inclusive society for an excluded group of people. But, we are particularly interested in solutions in the areas of autism, children dropping out of school and labour market inclusion.

For us, social impact is:

  •       a net positive
  •       significant and additional effect
  •       on a high-priority problem
  •       for an excluded group of people
  •       that is created with intent
  •       and lasts for a relevant period of time

We consider the solution’s potential to create social impact using the Impact Management project’s five dimensions:

  •   Who the target group is
  •   What has changed in the target group’s life
  •   How much change takes place, measured by scale (the number of people reached), depth of change (what degree of change takes place) and duration (how long the change lasts)
  •   What represents the company’s unique contribution to the change
  •   What is the risk that the positive changes will not take place

2. A Financially Sustainable Business Model with Significant Potential for Growth
The companies we consider must use commercial means to solve the social problem, and must have a business model that is or will make the company financially sustainable. We only consider companies that have reached the stage of having paying customers and a continuous source of revenue, and that can demonstrate clear and realistic growth ambitions. We need to be sure that the social results are directly related to the company’s core business model, and that future growth will lead to the highest number of people benefiting from the solutions we invest in.

3. A Strong Team Driven by the Desire to Deliver Social Results
A company’s motivation and ability to monitor both its social and financial results are crucial. We also assess the experience and motivation of the company’s founders and the team, together with their ability to deliver and collaborate. We think it is important that both the company’s owners and employees are motivated by scaling its social results.

4. A Good Fit for Ferd
We work in active partnerships with the companies we invest in, and select those companies where we believe we can help make an important difference, which is to say where we have a high level of additionality. A key element in assessing companies is therefore whether they represent a good match with our expertise and the other companies in our portfolio.

Read more about how we work with our portfolio companies.

Companies must be able to demonstrate social impact, and we therefore do not normally invest in very early stage startups or companies in a concept development or pilot phase. Our Impact StartUp accelerator program can be a good option for companies that are in an early phase.

If you are in doubt about whether you meet the investment criteria set out above, we recommend attending one of our ‘Digital Meet-Up events, where you will be able to get to know us better and to ask specific questions related to your idea or business.

Apply to Become One of Our Social Entrepreneurs

If you meet our investment criteria and would like to apply, please email with the following information:

  • Company name
  • Company address
  • Type of entity
  • Contact person
  • Email address
  • Telephone number
  • A short description of the company, its solution and target group
  • A short description of the social problem you help solve and the social results you achieve, ideally in the form of a theory of change, and whether you measure the change you create or produce key figures for this
  • A short description of your business model and the progress you have made so far, including your company’s financial situation for the previous year (operating revenue and operating profit), as well as information on any providers of support
  • A short description of your company’s ownership structure, founders and organisation
  • Your growth plans going forward and what you would like from Ferd SE (e.g. expertise, capital, networking)

We respond to enquiries on a continual basis.

Assessment Process
We receive a large number of enquiries and are unfortunately unable to meet with all the companies that contact us. We try, however, to meet with all those companies that are a good fit with our criteria. The first step is then a short meeting to help us to understand your company better. We then progress some companies to an evaluation and due diligence phase, which can last from several weeks to several months. We often follow social entrepreneurs for a long time before we make an investment.

Our Board of Directors makes the final decision on whether a company is awarded a place in our portfolio. Ferd’s Board includes two former CEOs and its current CEO, namely Johan H. Andresen, John Giverholt and Morten Borge. Katinka Greve Leiner has been the head of Ferd SE since its establishment in 2009.