A look back at 2018


writer icon Tormod Birch     ISB   |   Tech     🕐 03. Jan. 2019

Last year was eventful on many fronts and as it draws to a close, many entrepreneurs, investors and businesses will be looking back, reflecting over the many changes that have occurred.

E-scooters reached Sweden
2018 was the year the dockless rentable electric scooter came to Sweden. There were nationwide expectations that the first electric scooters would come from a US company such as Lime or Bird, who had already established themselves in California, albeit with a mixed reception

However, the first to launch in Sweden was the Swedish company VOI Technology, which worked together with the Stockholm City Council to introduce the scooters in a socially responsible way. VOI scooters appeared in August 2018, and in the following months they launched in Gothenburg and Malmö.

A goal to do it properly
The Swedish scooter company also launched in Portugal and Spain, and with each new city VOI entered into a dialogue with the local governments in an aim to secure successful operations and have the law on their side.

However, they faced obstacles in Madrid when they, together with two other scooter companies, were ordered to remove their scooters during the first week of December 2018.  The ban followed a change to the mobility laws in Madrid, with criticism directed at all three companies for not adequately informing users of rules for riding an e-scooter in the city. 

After just three months in business, VOI secured a huge investment of $50 million in a series A investment round led by Balderton Capital. 

Revolutionary tech from Denmark
Denmark’s Unity Technologies made a significant breakthrough last year when it announced a collaboration with Disney. Already famous for turning the world of game creation on its head, Unity Technologies has now ventured into the world of filmmaking.

In August 2018 their partnership with Disney was made public, and the project they were working on, Baymax Dreams, was brought into the spotlight.

Changing the film industry
By using real-time rendering technology, animators could speed up the film-making process. This meant they were able to move away from the traditionally linear approach to making animated features.

Unity Technologies have revolutionised game development, making it more accessible to everyone. In the same way it is possible that 2019 will see a boom in animated shorts, as more people try their hand at animating using Unity as a starting point.

Electric Norway
In Norway, 2018 was the year for ambitious plans in air travel, as well as cutbacks to incentives for electric car drivers. Two years earlier, in 2016, the government announced the ambitious plan that all cars with Norwegian registration will be emission-free by 2025. 

The incentives for electric car owners were high. Free municipal parking, use of bus lanes, and no annual road tax, to name but a few.

New regulations have since been introduced, pulling back on some of the benefits, or restricting them. The cutbacks do not seem to have had a negative effect on the overall rise of electric car use in Norway.

Cleaning up the skies
The big news last year however, surrounded Norway’s plans for domestic flights to be powered entirely by electricity by the year 2030. Environmental impacts have been a big concern for citizens and governments, and this goal by the Norwegian government reflects the tone of much of their society today.

The electric-powered Pipistrel plane was delivered to Norway in the spring of 2018, and had its debut flight on 18th June 2018.

The year as a whole, across all of Scandinavia, has seen an increase in consumers with green values and a desire to support sustainable businesses. In order to meet this demand, companies big and small have scrambled to show off their sustainable side. And there is ample reason to predict a continuation of this trend into and throughout 2019.

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