Editors note: The following is a guest post, contributed by Jason Dainter. Jason moved from London to Uppsala several years back and is running the startup Eco Market.
As a tech entrepreneur having moved from London to Uppsala several years back, I’ve been somewhat blown away by the pace at which the tech start-up community has been growing in Sweden. The country seems to be going through a seismic shift right now. In a relatively short space of time the community here seems to have shifted from being an underground secret to making global headlines and being dubbed by many as Europe’s fastest growing tech start-up hub.
It’s no secret that a large amount of that success is driven by our countries capital Stockholm and its ever-growing success stories. As I write this blog post I am sitting at the Hilton hotel waiting to head to the well known STHLM Tech meetups which regularly draws in hundreds of start-ups, investors and associated press. In my view, it’s one of many events that are now happening regularly in the city that is helping in a very positive way to fight back against the ‘jantelagen’ mentality of not wanting to brag about all the exciting things happening in Sweden.
It’s no secret that a large amount of that success is driven by our countries capital Stockholm and its ever-growing success stories
This is excellent news for Sweden. However for the past few months I have been more and more curious to find out if this kind of start-up talent is limited to the capital, or spans out into other cities, particularly the one I live in Uppsala.
The good news is that it does, so it would seem!
Uppsala ticks many of the boxes that are considered important for a start-up community to thrive. Let me tell you why.
Uppsala ticks many of the boxes that are considered important for a start-up community to thrive
Reasons why Uppsala is great for startups
1) Uppsala has a world class university that has been the educational starting point for many of the tech ‘overlords’ that we hear about today, Skype founder Niklas Zennström included. They are a very ‘pro start-up’ university and many organisations such as Uppsala Innovation Centre are already in place helping to nurture start-ups towards thinking lean and agile from day one.
2) Uppsala actually already has a lot technology gurus here. Aside from the wealth of digital media companies already based here, more and more new start-ups are being launched in Uppsala such as Plick, Freespee or MyActive to name a few. Larger companies such as the Uppsala-based Hansoft (who recently announced an $8.4 round led by Creandum) are also making international news. Add to that those who commute into Stockholm to work for companies such as Spotify and Klarna and you could easily conclude that there is not a lack of talent here.
3) If you are prepared to hop into a train, it takes 38 minutes (to be exact!) to get from Stockhom to Uppsala. As an entrepreneur myself having close easy access to the capital (where at the moment most private early stage investment originates from) is yet another tick in a box. You could liken the situation to the UK in Cambridge (where I grew up) and London (where I started my own start-up) which has a very healthy relationship when it comes to start-up collaboration and investment.
So my findings to date from speaking to countless start-ups and organisations here is that it would seem Uppsala has all of the ingredients required to bake a buzzing startup community. The only void that it seemingly needed to be filled would be more events that bring all these people together in an informal fun and helpful atmosphere. Enter Uppstart.
On the 6th Feb at 18:00 onwards Uppsala is going to host a free informal event right on the doorstep of Uppsala Centralstation (very easy to get to from Stockholm!) in a bar called Katalin. Tickets are free and open to anyone at all with an interest in tech start-ups. We are very fortunate to be welcoming an early stage investment panel including Northzone, MOOR and GULLSPÅNG and four exciting early stage start-ups will be pitching on stage on the night.