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Scandinavian Startups

There is something in the water up here. The economy seems to be going well, and the press seems to have taken notice.

An example from USA Today:

If music service Spotify landed Stockholm on the high-tech map, companies such as Klarna underscore its growing influence.

In the first quarter of 2012, Sweden took in almost 20% of all venture capital invested in the European Union, trailing only Germany

And Pando Daily on Stockholm:

Thanks to Klarna, Spotify, Rebtel, and, among others, Stockholm has a longer history of tech successes and more big-dollar exits than its German rival [Berlin].

For instance, the Nordic region as a whole — which still represents a much smaller population than Germany — accounted for about 6.5 percent of the world’s billion-dollar exits from 2005 to 2012, according to statistics provided by Stockholm-based venture capital firm Creandum.

There is still room to grow, as European startups in general are undervalued compared to the US:

Listed European technology firms valued at more than $100 million are on average 32 percent cheaper than their North American peers. Bloomberg says they trade at an average ratio of 15 times earnings compared with 22 times earnings in the US and Canada.

The Economist goes into depth on in their special report on The Nordic Lights:

Finland has become much more market- and entrepreneur-friendly. It has produced an impressive number of start-ups, including 300 founded by former Nokia employees.


The Nordic countries have not only largely escaped the economic problems that are convulsing the Mediterranean world; they have also largely escaped the social ills that plague America.

I feel very lucky to have worked for a number of Nordic companies, and to continue my Scandinavian adventure with Spotify here in Stockholm.