Everyone is talking about the growing Nordic ecosystem – we decided to analyze the Creandum investment database to understand if this trend translates into a higher investment activity in the Nordics – and it does! The Nordic startup ecosystem is thriving. 2013 saw a record high 179 investments accompanied by a continued increase in startup communities, investment incubators/accelerators and an increased supply of capital from institutional and angel investors. And most importantly, a growing number of successful exists and role models to inspire coming generations of entrepreneurs.
2013 was an impressive year for the startup scene in the Nordics where especially Denmark and Sweden saw a high number of investments. Looking at the number of Seed investments, A-rounds, B-rounds and C-rounds we see that 2013 was a five-year high with 179 investments in total, compared to 114-137 per year during the previous four years.
Analyzing the database further, shows that the increased investment activity is driven by a high number of seed investments typically in the range of €0.1-1 million (109 in 2013 vs. 71 in 2012) and a higher number of B-rounds or later (20 in 2013 vs. 14 in 2012).
Despite the high activity of small angel and seeding rounds, the total transaction value in the Nordics reached new heights during 2013. Aggregating the transaction value of each investment we see that the total capital raised increased to an approx. €501 million in 2013 – 60% higher than the €310 million recorded in 2012.
So – why is the Nordics becoming a more attractive place for entrepreneurs to start their company? We believe four factors have helped support the eco-system the later years:
1. Startup communities are growing significantly in the Nordics giving entrepreneurs a network for sparing and socializing. Communities like STHLM Tech Meetup and Sthlm Startups have now more than 2000 members in Stockholm and Copenhagen and Oslo have lately ‘launched’ #CPHFTW and #Tech_No to replicate the model.
2. The Nordics has developed a good track record of what we refer to as ‘billion dollar companies or candidates’ with examples like JustEat, Unity, and Zendesk in Denmark, Klarna, Spotify, and King in Sweden, Rovio and Supercell in Finland and Playfish in Norway, all improving and supporting the ecosystem.
3. A growing number of accelerators and incubators are appearing lowering the barriers to entry for new entrepreneurs through coaching, office space and funding. Accelerace (2012) and StartupBootCamp (2010) are two good examples in Denmark as BetaFactory (2011) is in Norway, Vigo (2009) and Startup Sauna (2010) in Finland and Bonnier Accelerator (2013) and Sup46 (2013) in Stockholm.
4. Improved access to investment capital as:
– A number of Nordic venture capital funds have raised new investment funds (Sunstone and Northcap in 2011, Creandum in 2012, Northzone in 2013, Inventure in 2014).
– A high number of previous successful entrepreneurs have become angel investors as their exits have been realized.
– The international venture capital funds have a strong investment focus in the Nordics
The strengthening eco system in the Nordics is great news for both entrepreneurs and investors, as the two best co exists. It is what most would call a ‘win-win’ that we hope will continue for a very long time.