The Swedish (and Nordic) startup scene has received much international attention lately. People have asked whether Sweden is the best place to start a company, and it has been reported that Swedish startups are ‘outdoing our European rivals‘.
I thought I’d put together a little guide for our international readers looking to find out more about our stunning scene.
Undoubtedly one of Sweden’s top tech exports today – Spotify currently has roughly 20 million active users and has converted roughly 1/5th of those into paying customers. Spotify successfully navigated the treacherous music landscape and came out on top.
A newcomer, but one of Sweden’s most popular. Recently passed 1 million users and have struck deals with many of the world’s largest retailers.
Rebtel is the world’s second largest VoIP company and boasts 20 million customers. They have a goal to be the world’s leading mobile communications platform by 2014. Profitable since 2010, they are off to a good start.
King.com is one of the world’s most popular gaming companies – with 15 million daily players and currently the third largest game developer on Facebook (after Zynga and Microsoft).
Startups to watch
Virtusize are solving the problem of sizing in e-commerce – a seriously big problem I might add. We’ve written about Virtusize before, and with some significant partnerships here in Sweden – they look to be set for big things.
Tictail have been called the “Tumblr for e-commerce” and want to make starting an online store as easy as starting a blog. To date they’ve been rather successful and the company announced recently they’d started 10,000 stores within 10 months.
Omnicloud is a new application designed to make coding simple, fun and engaging. Omnicloud provides hosting, drag-n-drop publishing, easy code collaboration and Mac OSX integration. To me, it feels like Dropbox-simple web development.
Top VC firms
First institutional investor in Spotify, Avito, Tobii, Videoplaza, Pricerunner.
First institutional investor in Spotify, iZettle, Linas, Jays, Wrapp, Cint, 13th Labs, Vivino etc
Invested in companies such as The Local, Bambuser, VideofyMe.
Fund founded by Niklas Zennström (Skype). Investments include Rovio, Jawbone, Fab, Klarna and Skype.
Swedish fund focusing on small and medium sized companies with International potential. Investments include Barnebys, Anfi Networks, Burt and Keybroker.