Why Sweden is a Startup Success
This post originally appeared on blog.up.co
With a population of almost 10 million, Sweden is in a league of its own when it comes to developing new technology. This Scandinavian kingdom is home to some of the most well-known brands in the world, including IKEA, Volvo, Electrolux, Ericsson, and H&M.
But more recently, Sweden has also become a haven for tech startups.
Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is the second most prolific tech hub in the world on a per capita basis, with more billion-dollar tech companies per capita than any other city, except San Francisco. The Swedish startup scene has shown incredible energy over the past few years becoming one of the hottest tech hubs on the planet.
A few facts about Sweden:
- Stockholm is home to more than 20,000 startups.
- €1.5B was raised by Swedish tech companies in 2016, an increase of over 50 percent since 2015.
- FinTech was the leading tech sector in Sweden in 2016, followed by E-commerce and Health & Fitness.
Successful Role Models Inspire Others
Over the past few years, community support has grown and there has been an increasing amount of startup hubs, events, and investors – making Stockholm feel much more like a connected ecosystem. One of the key ingredients to a successful startup ecosystem is having companies that are successful and can serve as role models for others.
For Sweden and Stockholm, these companies are Skype, Spotify, Klarna, iZettle, and more.
Skype was co-founded by Swede Niklas Zennstrom in 2003. The music streaming platform Spotify was founded in Sweden a decade ago by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon.
Sweden is also home to companies that have created two of the biggest games of the past few years, King Digital Entertainment with Candy Crush Saga and Mojang with Minecraft. Having companies like this in your community help exceptional talent.
Why Culture, Society and Values Matter
The local culture and societal values also create a fertile ground for this startup community. Sweden is mostly a non-hierarchical and informal society -- teamwork comes easily and instinctively. Stockholm’s startup scene can also thank Sweden’s social welfare and safety system, as it allows entrepreneurs to take a little bit bigger of a risk without losing everything. Swedes are also generally well educated (schools are free here) and have a high level of proficiency in English.
Knowing that tech and innovation comes easily for Sweden’s residents, in the 90s the Swedish government decided to subsidize the cost of personal computer purchases. This has helped the computer literacy rate increase and helped children grow up with computer skills. These government efforts are paying off now, with Sweden being one of the world’s most digital economies.
Ninety five percent of all the households in Stockholm are connected to the Internet and the target for 2020 is to give 90 percent of all the households in Sweden access to broadband with at least 100Mb/s.
How to Connect to the Sweden Startup Community
SUP46 (Startup People of Sweden) was founded in 2013 to unify the Swedish startup community. We created a “Startup Manifesto” in 2015.
SUP46 members have a competitive advantage through an ecosystem of investors, advisors, and partners so the companies can scale faster. Members include Fishbrain, Universal Avenue, Soundtrap and Instabridge are a few of them.
Our goal is for Sweden to become the best startup country in the world -- join us!