Swedish Startup Space

Spotify-founders Threaten To Move From Sweden In Open Letter

Written by on April 12, 2016
Editors Note: This post is part of a series called , presented by .

Martin Lorentzon and Daniel Ek demands action from politicians – or else “thousands of Spotify jobs” will move to the U.S.

In an open letter (in Swedish) titled “We have to act or be left in the dust”, the two founders of the streaming service says that their company might be forced to move its business to another country if nothing happens.

In the letter published on tuesday morning, they note that the Swedish tech sector has momentum right now:

“Well established startups like Spotify, Skype, King, Mojang and Klarna, along with ton of recently founded companies and the capital market, is building a cluster of highly refined services that lead to jobs, tax income, innovation and attracts talent from all over the world.”

The two founders go on writing that their dream with Spotify was to build a global company from Sweden, and inspire other Swedes to start companies.

“It’s crazy to us that Europe has a larger population than the U.S. and hasn’t had one company that can be compared to Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and the other amerikan enterprises. We want to prove that it can be done!” the two founders write.

But there are a number of obstacles, according to Ek and Lorentzon, before Europe can get a major tech company of its own.

“We are looking to recruit thousands of people in the years to come. Our success is entirely dependent on attracting the most talented people from all over the world. If we can remove the obstacles we have in Sweden compared to other countries, we can recruit people in Stockholm and Gothenburg instead of taking our business elsewhere.”

“We love Sweden and we think that this is the best environment for us, but we can make the political obstacles magically go away”, they write.

Ek and Lorentzon has identified three problems that they want the politicians to deal with. The first problem is the housing situation in Sweden which Martin Lorentzon has criticized for over a year (article in Swedish).

Furhtermore, the Spotify-founders want the government to reform the education plan and include programming in middle school, and to revise the proposed new rules for stock option programs.

“The law makers have to understand that we are competing on a global talent market and that the price for worse terms is high. We are now in a position where we have to decide if we should continue to grow in Stockholm or New York.”

The Swedish Minister of Enterprise and Innovation, Mikael Damberg, has now responded to the letter in an interview with Breakit:

“Things aren’t always happening as fast as the startup sector wants them to, and I do understand their impatience. They are working at a different pace than the political processes”, he said to Breakit (article in Swedish).

  • Company
  • alex forselius

    Swedish politicans are stuck in the past and lacks adapting to the new digital society

  • Harry van der Veen

    Nice, it is good when companies get enough power to try to persuade politicians. It is in Swedens best interest to do something about these points.

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