Rising Leaders: Never-Ending Missions

Rising Leaders participants and AmCham members were joined by Lars Erik Grønntun, Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Kahoot! who shared his leadership experience and thoughts on building highly innovative yet resilient teams.

Grønntun walked participants through pivotal career choices that led him to his current role with the leading global learning platform – from getting involved in politics at a young age, taking a risk by starting his own agency at age 23, and hosting a TV-program, to becoming head of Hill+Knowlton Strategies.

Leaving his role as Global President for Hill+Knowlton Strategies, a leading global communications consultancy, to join the EdTech company Kahoot! in 2020 was a significant shift, nurturing Grønntun’s entrepreneurial spirit.

In his new role as COO of Kahoot!, Grønntun contributed to the revision and development of the organizational structure, while maintaining dynamic teams. Kahoot! was growing exponentially already before 2020, but the pandemic contributed to a significant shift in daily habits.  Schools, businesses and friends turned to virtual tools to interact and learn remotely, with Kahoot!’s organizational structure becoming a key and never-ending mission.

“The rockstars or engine room of Kahoot! are the engineers and product teams. Corporate is there as support.” Grønntun would describe his leadership style as contextual, saying “if people know where you are going and where the goal is, they will know how best to contribute to get there. Smart people don’t like to be bullied around.”

Lars Erik Grønntun


“Kahoot! is a global company, it just happens to be from Norway.”

According to Interbrand, Kahoot!’s Global Brand Strength Score is comparable to long-established global brands such as Nintendo, YouTube and Sony, making it one of Norway’s biggest brands. Today, 97% of Fortune 500 companies are using Kahoot to engage and train employees. In the past years, Kahoot! has acquired seven companies, including US-based Clever, a foundation from which Kahoot! will expand its K-12 tech-app to the international market.

When asked who he looks up to, Grønntun told Rising Leaders that rather than having specific mentors, he identifies admirable qualities in people he works with, such Eilert Hanoa, Kahoot!’s CEO, who “has an incredible work ethic and stamina – and must be cut from a different type of metal.”

To those embarking on their careers, Grønntun emphasized the value of staying within an organization, rather than shifting  employment for the sake of change, as a long-term presence allows you to build networks, understand the culture and accumulate knowledge that, in turn, can be capitalized upon over time.

Photo: Gambit

About the Rising Leaders Program

Rising Leaders, a joint AmCham-US Embassy initiative, brings together entrepreneurs, young professionals, and student leaders in an innovative program that promotes diversity and connects promising talent. Through the program, participants engage international business leaders, learn about AmCham member companies, explore careers, and gain business and leadership skills.

The 2021-2022 Rising Leaders class – comprised of 18 women and 10 men between the ages of 22 and 35 – bring with them experience from healthcare, classical music, urban planning, organizational psychology, immigration, engineering, communications, technology, teaching, economics, finance, and marketing. All 28 program participants have demonstrated leadership, entrepreneurial, and/or business excellence in their educational pursuits and careers thus far.

For more information about the program, or to learn how your organization can get involved, please contact Madeleine Brekke.

Rising Leaders Afterwork with PortalOne

For the last afterwork of 2022 and the program finale, Rising Leaders participants and AmCham members had the opportunity to visit hybrid gaming company and Norwegian unicorn, PortalOne’s brand new offices at Aker Brygge.

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