🇮🇸 Startup Iceland aims for AI

By Elías Thorsson - May 30, 2023
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Bala Kamallakharan, Founder of Startup Iceland at Startup Iceland 2022. (Photo: Startup Iceland)

By Elías Thorsson

On Thursday 1 June, Startup Iceland returns for another year of knowledge-sharing, networking, and innovative investment opportunities. Bala Kamallakharan is its founder and during a relatively short period of time, he has helped foster the thriving entrepreneurial culture that exemplifies Rekjavík’s startup scene.

Originally Startup Iceland was an event that connected Icelandic founders to influencers from other parts of the world. Today, however, Startup Iceland is the place to find the next successful founder.

“Within a short period of time of about 10 years, the startup community in Iceland has come a long way.,” says Kamallakharan. “To put it in numbers, when we started Startup Iceland the total amount of funding to the startup asset class was close to $3 million and in 2022 the total amount of funding had increased almost hundredfold to $390 million.”

Panel discussion from Startup Iceland 2022. (Photo: Startup Iceland)

The event has helped Icelandic companies gain international visibility and network with other industries and government officials. This year’s speakers include foreign and local founders, as well as an opening speech by Icelandic President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson.

The hot topic in the startup scene these days is AI, as explored in a recent article about AI and fisheries, and this week’s event will be built around its potential.

“A.I. is a powerful tool and every founder should think about and use this tool to accelerate their progress in building a better and different future,” says Kamallakharan. “The future does not build itself, we need founders and leaders and visionaries to bring those visions to life. We also cannot build the future by copying what has worked in the past, then the future will look like the past. In order for us to really make a brighter and better future we have to inspire a generation to work on it. That is exactly what can be expected in the event.”

Startup Iceland 2023 begins on Thursday 1 June in Rekyjavik. You can find the schedule and buy tickets here.


Elías Thorsson is a journalist, writer, and marketing specialist with extensive experience covering business and technology affairs in Iceland.