Norwegian online bookstore wins Finland’s Dragon’s Den variation Polar Bear Pitching with an icy proposition

Most people reading this will know of the TV series Dragon’s Den, or Shark Tank, or any of thirty localised variations of the show where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to risk-averse investors.

Originating in Japan as Money Tigers, Dragons Den has been reproduced around the globe from Afghanistan to Vietnam, and occasionally publishing opportunities crop up.

Even more occasionally, the investors decide they are a good bet.

Jonas Tellander famously took his then obscure audiobook outfit Storytel to the next level when he won investor support on the Swedish version of Dragon’s Den, Draknästet (The Dragons’ Nest).

Not content with the tired old formula of entrepreneurs standing in front of comfortably-seated investors, some countries have varied the way things are done.

In Finland the variation, in a once a year show called Polar Bear Pitching, is that it’s not enough to have a great business idea. You also need to show you are a hardy Scandinavian that doesn’t mind having your assets frozen.

This week Norwegians Arne-Morten Willumsen and Lasse Brurok walked away with 10,000 euros to develop their new and used book sales platform Bookis.com.

To do so they had to immerse themselves chest deep in a hole drilled in the Arctic ice of the Baltic Sea for the duration of the pitch. It all happens in the town of Oulu, an hour’s drive from the Arctic Circle.

Euronews has the full story, and the video.

One could be forgiven for thinking that no-one would invest in a company selling new and used books online when Amazon is the competition, but of course Amazon isn’t the competition in Norway, as in so many countries.

And it seems Willumsen and Brurok have found a lucrative niche with Bookis.com, which set up in 2016, now has offices in Tromsø and Oslo, and fields a catalogue of over 700,000 titles.

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