Stockholm is a buzzing tech hub- there’s no doubt about that. Spotify, Klarna, Mojang and Wrapp are just a few examples of Swedish startups that have taken the world by storm. Reuters, Entrepreneur and PandoDaily have all praised Swedish entrepreneurs and their knack for building global businesses. What struck us as odd however, was that there didn’t appear to be anywhere for these great entrepreneurs to meet online – nowhere to chat, connect and discover new companies which seem to be popping up all the time.
At the same time – all of the buzz surrounding Stockholm and Sweden seemed to focus in on the same companies – Spotify, Wrapp ,Klarna (I think this is what they call irony). It frustrated me that there were so many kickass startups – companies we were meeting every week – that couldn’t get any attention from the Swedish media whatsoever.
Many companies told us that they were more comfortable pitching TechCrunch than the ‘small business’ papers here in Sweden – something we found rather confusing.
So we decided to take it upon ourselves – and build the online startup community for Sweden.
Swedish Startup Space was born on February 1st, 2013. The initial idea was a very basic meeting place where people could browse jobs, events and office spaces. However, very quickly it became clear that news was the key – or more specifically - people wanted to read about the companies they hadn’t heard of yet.
This was kind of a big moment – when we realised Swedish Startup Space could be more than a blog – it could be a way to help small, early-stage companies get noticed.
Whilst, it is still very early days and we have a lot to prove, I thought I’d share some tips for anyone looking to start a blog, or online tech-community in their city.
A ‘documentarian’ is an important role within a startup community
With so many different initiatives happening at one time – it’s helpful to have a central place to aggregate all that information.
People love to help
This is what has amazed us the most. Some pretty ‘important’ people (VC’s, established startups and successful founders) have been more than willing to ‘give back’ to the community and help out wherever possible. Whether it’s introductions or retweets – this is a great way to gain a little credibility and build some buzz. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
Consistency is key
People can smell a ‘stagnant blog’ from a mile away. You have to post every day, if you want to people to take you seriously.
Don’t go it alone
I (James) definitely couldn’t handle this project on my own, so I’m really grateful that Anders and Pär are part of the Swedish Startup Space team. If you’re thinking about starting a similar iniative – I’d recommend gathering a group of friends that are equally passionate about the community. In addition, try find a team with varying and complimentary skills.
I believe that an online meeting-place is an essential part of every startup community, so if it doesn’t exist in your city yet… why don’t you start it?