For Jon Flint and his firm Polaris Founders Capital, winning over an Icelandic dairy company came down to appreciating the culture. That’s both the cultures used to make Icelandic skyr, a dairy product similar to yogurt, and the culture of Iceland itself.
“At first, the team here was very apprehensive,” said Ari Edwald, CEO of MS Iceland Dairies, a cooperative of more than 600 family-run dairy farms. “Who is this American? Does he have any knowledge of bringing this tradition that is so rooted in this country?”
Flint and his Polaris partner, Terry McGuire, were the founders of Polaris Partners (the VC firm behind companies including Akamai, WordPress, EXOS, and LegalZoom) and they formed Polaris Founders Capital, along with partner Gregg Rubin, to invest in consumer and sports-related companies. They already had a reputation in the small island nation because of their investment in deCODE genetics, an Icelandic genomics company. Still, it took two years until MS agreed to partner up.
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