About Norway Capital Group
When I created Norway Capital Group in 2007 I had a dream of creating a different kind of Investment Company - a company with a big soul, a big heart and a bold vision. Such a venture deserved a bold name. Norway Capital was established with the objective to create a privately owned Norwegian-based investment vehicle founded on humble historical and cultural values then blended with tradition and innovation, solidified by hard work and fuelled by a passion to conquer.
"Know where you come from and where you want to go," underlines my belief that your history and your future are closely linked. It is your past that has made you who you are. It is when your past experiences combine with your vision that you are able to realize your entrepreneurial dreams. The world has never offered bigger opportunities than it does now (thanks to technology, communication and easier availability of information) and to succeed with your dreams you need to create a good roadmap. You must then work hard and you must never give up.
When my grandfather Bjarne Thoresen set out from Oslo (or Kristiania as it was called back then) as a coal passer on The Norwegian America line in the early 1920's he made a small business plan for himself: he should emigrate to America and start a new life. He had just turned twenty and he took the toughest job on the boat. Many young men chose to enlist as coal passers rather than to serve in the deck crew because the pay was significantly higher - $22 per month for a coal passer versus $16 for a landsman. With the work of a coal passer among the most difficult, toughest, dirty and dangerous duties on the boat, he had no fear of hard work as the "free ride" across the Atlantic and with the "extra pay", he would arrive strong, fit and with a handsome start-up capital for a new life in the US.
All his brothers and sisters were already there and he was the last one to go. If my grandfather’s business plan had succeeded, this company may have been named America Capital, but like with so many other things in life, things sometimes don't go as planned. My grandfather's American faith was in the hands of his older brother who had already settled in Los Angeles and who had promised to sponsor him the entry with a recommendation letter. But due to slow post from Los Angeles to New York, the letter didn't arrive on time and my grandfather took the boat back to Oslo. So not only hard work, but a bit of luck is also needed to succeed.
Born in 1964, in a suburb in the eastern part of Oslo called Manglerud, my childhood was filled with joy and three main hobbies: blowing my trumpet, playing ice hockey, and following everything I could about Arsenal Football Club. Keeping my interest for team spirit and sports as hobbies, it was my interest and talent for music that led to a three year study at Manglerud College – studying music and performing arts, conducting, learning music history and composing. Strangely enough I believe these three years formed me to become a wine lover and later a professional wine investor, understanding the importance of harmony and balance between notes and flavours to create a marvellous long lasting symphony.
With added courses later in life in economics and marketing, I emerged early to study the elements of the wine industry and especially how great wine collectors acted and worked. I dug into every single book and magazine I could find and set out to visit all the great wine producing countries in the world. At the age of 28 I formed my first wine import company in Norway and since then, have never looked back.
As I’ve said, I’ve always been interested in sports and the idea of people performing together as a team. For me, business is exactly the same. The team plays sharing the goal of winning together – it is about a good goal keeper, strong defence, swift mid field movement and an effective offense with the collective ability to be consistently good throughout the whole season.
Since I was 7 years old I have been following Arsenal Football Club and my parents told me I even sent Christmas cards to the club when I was a boy. And this love has resulted in the opportunity to become a shareholder of the club something that makes me very proud today and reminds me of all the Arsenal posters that filled my room as a child. Arsenal’s manager, Arsene Wenger is one of my key mentors with a steadfast and constant belief in youth and talent development – that you can’t buy success.
The event that truly marked my belief that you can become somebody in this world, even if you come from a small suburb in Oslo, was when Manglerud Star, our local hockey team where I played as a kid won the Norwegian Hockey Championship in 1977. I was 13 years old and it has marked me for life. That a small team from a small suburb of 50,000 inhabitants could surface so much talent and manifest so much hard work, to be that consistent through the whole season and to claim the championship, beating all the big teams. It was just amazing. Repeating it also in 1978 we showed “the world” what people from Manglerud was all about.
Strongly involved in the turnaround of the club today (things are not as rosy now as back in the seventies), Norway Capital Group has been the club’s head sponsor and main financier since 2007. The objective of the partnership is to support the local community at Manglerud and provide Manglerud Star with the needed capital for the club to re-establish itself as one of Norway’s leading Hockey Clubs. I’m confident we will succeed and one day again become Norway Hockey Champions. We have the talent, so now it’s all about creating sustainable revenues, a sharp and dedicated organisation and a winning team. All is possible with a great belief and hard work if you know where you come from and where you want to go!
Chairman & CEO