Friday, March 5, 2021
Home Tech 8 investors discuss Stockholm’s maturing startup ecosystem – TechCrunch

8 investors discuss Stockholm’s maturing startup ecosystem – TechCrunch

(*8*)In the realm of European startup ecosystems, Sweden — largely Stockholm — ranks very near the behemoths of London, Paris and Berlin. And with 10 million folks, the nation definitely punches above its weight, having produced unicorns corresponding to Spotify and Klarna, to call solely two.

As a consequence, the eight investors we surveyed are characteristically bullish in regards to the future, regardless of a pandemic technique that grew to become extra restrictive within the second half of final 12 months.

Sweden’s initially laissez-faire method to controlling COVID-19 may need helped its tech ecosystem trip out the uncertainty. “Sweden is more open and is ahead of the pandemic curve, so more people are coming here than the other way around,” stated Jacob Key, founding accomplice with Luminar Ventures.

Several folks we spoke to stated they noticed inexperienced shoots concerning income progress and retention of their portfolio firms as founders tailored to the pandemic. Areas which might be benefitting embody digital well being and distant work for apparent causes, however given Sweden’s power in fintech and gaming, these sectors are each effectively positioned to thrive.

As customers grow to be extra desirous of sustainability, accountable procuring, inexperienced journey and plant-based meals options “will likely contribute to a surge in companies in this space,” stated Sofia Dolfe of Index Ventures.

Oversaturated areas are media/adtech and wellness/health apps.

Some of the traits these investors are enthusiastic about embody deep tech, AI, machine studying, healthcare/medtech, industrial IoT, vitality storage and energy-efficient energy era, robotics, clever manufacturing and additive manufacturing.

“I think there is a lot of interesting stuff coming out of Stockholm and accelerating with all recent success stories,” stated VNV Global’s Bjorn von Sivers.

Here’s who we spoke to:

  • Jacob Key, founding accomplice, Luminar Ventures
  • Bjorn von Sivers, accomplice, VNV Global
  • Ashley Lundström, accomplice, EQT Ventures
  • Ted Persson, accomplice, EQT Ventures
  • Sofia Dolfe, principal, Index Ventures
  • Staffan Helgesson, accomplice, Creandum
  • Tanya Horowitz, accomplice, Butterfly Ventures
  • Sanna Westman, principal, Creandum

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Jacob Key, founding accomplice, Luminar Ventures

What traits are you most enthusiastic about investing in, typically?
AI automation, democratization, SMB SaaS.

What’s your newest, most fun funding?
Hiberworld.

Are there startups that you just want you’d see within the business however don’t? What are some ignored alternatives proper now?
Real-time sustainability well being trackers for each customers and companies.

What are you searching for in your subsequent funding, normally?
Super devoted and gifted workforce going after main issues.

Which areas are both oversaturated or can be too laborious to compete in at this level for a brand new startup? What different sorts of merchandise/providers are you cautious or involved about?
Adtech firms, shopper lending firms, e-commerce retail, area of interest issues.

How a lot are you targeted on investing in your native ecosystem versus different startup hubs (or in every single place) normally? More than 50%? Less?
100% within the broader Swedish ecosystem.

Which industries in your metropolis and area appear effectively positioned to thrive, or not, long run? What are firms you’re enthusiastic about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
Gaming, fintech, utilized AI, safety, e-health. Mindler, Insurello, Hiberworld, Greenely, Normative, Marcus Janback, Tanmoy Bari.

How ought to investors in different cities take into consideration the general funding local weather and alternatives in your metropolis?
Strong momentum, increasingly serial founders and skilled founders, robust broader ecosystem, product and tech-led founders with a worldwide view.

Do you count on to see a surge in additional founders coming from geographies outdoors main cities within the years to return, with startup hubs dropping folks because of the pandemic and lingering considerations, plus the attraction of distant work?
Sweden is extra open and is forward of the pandemic curve so extra folks coming right here than the opposite manner round.

Which business segments that you just spend money on look weaker or extra uncovered to potential shifts in shopper and enterprise habits due to COVID-19? What are the alternatives startups could possibly faucet into throughout these unprecedented occasions?
Travel, mobility, nice-to-have SaaS, recruiting. They ought to give attention to work, occasion, journey 2.0 safety, sustainability, e-health and leisure.

How has COVID-19 impacted your funding technique? What are the most important worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your recommendation to startups in your portfolio proper now?
Not actually. Focus on resourceful execution, digital-first gross sales, prolong runway. Biggest fear is a a lot cooler funding local weather.

Are you seeing “green shoots” concerning income progress, retention or different momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?
E-health, gaming, distant work, fintech.

What is a second that has given you hope within the final month or so? This will be skilled, private or a mixture of the 2.
Founders appear much more devoted, digital transformation occurs a lot quicker.

Bjorn von Sivers, accomplice, VNV Global

What traits are you most enthusiastic about investing in, typically?
Business fashions with robust community results. Mobility and micromobility providers, Digital well being, on-line marketplaces.

What’s your newest, most fun funding?
SWVL, Babylon Health, Voi Technology.

Are there startups that you just want you’d see within the business however don’t? What are some ignored alternatives proper now?
Startups addressing local weather change, both oblique or direct. I believe it would develop immensely over the approaching years.

What are you searching for in your subsequent funding, normally?
Business fashions with robust community results.

How a lot are you targeted on investing in your native ecosystem versus different startup hubs (or in every single place) normally? More than 50%? Less?
VNV Global has a worldwide mandate. Approximately 10% of the portfolio is Sweden/Stockholm primarily based.

Which industries in your metropolis and area appear effectively positioned to thrive, or not, long run? What are firms you’re enthusiastic about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
Any shopper service popping out of Stockholm eco system. In the portfolio I might spotlight Voi Technology and Fredrik Hjelm (micromobility) and Grace Health based by Estelle Westling and Thérèse Mannheimer that’s constructing a digital well being clinic for girls in rising markets.

How ought to investors in different cities take into consideration the general funding local weather and alternatives in your metropolis?
I believe there may be a variety of attention-grabbing stuff popping out of Stockholm and accelerating with all latest success tales. Spotify, iZettle, and so on.

Do you count on to see a surge in additional founders coming from geographies outdoors main cities within the years to return, with startup hubs dropping folks because of the pandemic and lingering considerations, plus the attraction of distant work?
It will in all probability improve a bit, however not considerably.

Which business segments that you just spend money on look weaker or extra uncovered to potential shifts in shopper and enterprise habits due to COVID-19? What are the alternatives startups could possibly faucet into throughout these unprecedented occasions?
International journey nonetheless has a variety of uncertainty and low visibility. Digital well being and micromobility is defiantly seeing unprecedented demand.

How has COVID-19 impacted your funding technique? What are the most important worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your recommendation to startups in your portfolio proper now?
Not actually impacted our technique. I might say founders suppose lots in regards to the funding local weather and how you can finest plan on this decrease visibility atmosphere.

Are you seeing “green shoots” concerning income progress, retention or different momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?
Yes, all throughout the portfolio.

What is a second that has given you hope within the final month or so? This will be skilled, private or a mixture of the 2.
The quick restoration in our mobility companies, which basically noticed exercise drop considerably in late March/early April and has rebounded strongly since May

Ashley Lundström, accomplice, EQT Ventures

What traits are you most enthusiastic about investing in, typically?
I’m personally enthusiastic about investing in groups fixing essential issues — those that have an effect on deprived populations, society at massive, the atmosphere, and so on. And the thrilling half is that we’re seeing increasingly of this — particularly from serial entrepreneurs who’ve constructed firms, perhaps even had good exits and now need to dedicate their expertise to significant journeys.

What’s your newest, most fun funding?
It truly hasn’t been introduced but as we actually closed a number of days in the past and it’s one which our AI platform Motherbrain pointed us to. It’s a type of firms that if you hear about what they’re constructing you simply say, “Oh of course, that’s a no-brainer.” It’s an awesome instance of a product-led firm seeing robust natural progress from a worldwide person base and we’re chomping on the bit to begin working collectively. Prior to this, my newest most fun funding is Anyfin. Anyfin is a first-rate instance of the potential of Stockholm’s second era groups, popping out of the Swedish unicorns iZettle, Klarna and Spotify. They’re a fintech constructing monetary wellness merchandise for customers who want it essentially the most. They’ve began with concentrating on rates of interest head-on by way of a refinancing product and are launching extra merchandise and markets with the Series B funding elevating they secured this spring.

Are there startups that you just want you’d see within the business however don’t? What are some ignored alternatives proper now? What are you searching for in your subsequent funding, normally?
I’m eager to see groups who mix market expertise with startup expertise. All too usually groups are both one or the opposite and I’d like to see a workforce come collectively the place one co-founder says, “I know this problem inside-out because I’ve lived it” and one other co-founder who says, “I know how to build and bring ideas to life.” This combo can be actually highly effective. Over and above that, I’m typically targeted on investing in groups fixing issues which might be shared by big bases — both customers or the lengthy tail of B2B. One should in my e-book is that the product must be shopper grade. This is clear for shopper (though not at all times a given), but it surely’s one thing that we’ve grow to be spiritual about in B2B too.

Which areas are both oversaturated or can be too laborious to compete in at this level for a brand new startup? What different sorts of merchandise/providers are you cautious or involved about?
We’re within the enterprise of exceptions so I discover it laborious to rule out a class altogether as a result of competitors. That being stated, there are at all times sectors the place it’s tough to ascertain a winner-takes-all or winner-takes-most, for structural causes, corresponding to some sorts of recruiting or staffing, D2Cs or digital well being providers.

How a lot are you targeted on investing in your native ecosystem versus different startup hubs (or in every single place) normally? More than 50%? Less?
Our technique is to be native with locals and we make investments broadly throughout Europe and, in particular instances, within the U.S. So, whereas personally my time’s spent considerably weighted towards the Nordics, greater than 50% of the businesses I work with are outdoors the Nordic nations. Motherbrain has helped us flatten geographies additional, discovering nice startups no matter the place they’re situated, and we often spend money on nice groups outdoors our native ecosystems.

Which industries in your metropolis and area appear effectively positioned to thrive, or not, long run? What are firms you’re enthusiastic about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
There’s a variety of expertise for shopper merchandise popping out of the Nordics — significantly fintech in Stockholm (Tink, Anyfin, Brite), gaming in Finland (Small Giant Games, Reworks, Traplight), and a spread of merchandise out of Copenhagen together with edtech and well being tech (Eduflow, Corti). The nice engineering expertise we have now on this area can also be producing extremely robust tech groups — significantly in Finland, corresponding to Varjo, Speechly and Robocorp. We’re even beginning to see some attention-grabbing exercise in quantum computing (e.g., IQM) within the area. There are additionally some moonshot firms popping out of the Nordics that we’re enthusiastic about long run, corresponding to Solein, Einride, Heart Aerospace and Northvolt.

How ought to investors in different cities take into consideration the general funding local weather and alternatives in your metropolis?
The Nordic nations proceed to punch above their weight and I’m assured that this development will proceed — that means the funding alternatives can be many. As the ecosystems mature, the standard will proceed to enhance, which additionally speaks to this development over time. Historically, downturns have produced robust tech firms, so I wouldn’t be shocked if investors are retaining an in depth eye on the area to ensure they get the possibility to again among the most seasoned entrepreneurs who will most definitely be searching for methods to take advantage of the present local weather.

Do you count on to see a surge in additional founders coming from geographies outdoors main cities within the years to return, with startup hubs dropping folks because of the pandemic and lingering considerations, plus the attraction of distant work?
I imagine we’ll see extra distant groups, completely. However, I nonetheless suppose the hubs can be robust and essential items of the ecosystem and I don’t suppose we’ll see these cities shrinking by materials numbers. Though if folks depart the most costly cities, who may blame them? I do, nevertheless, suppose we’ll see a extra sharp development of groups that had been pretty native up to now, increasing to new geographies. And what could occur is that in itself will reveal new expertise swimming pools, which over the long run may create extra hubs.

Which business segments that you just spend money on look weaker or extra uncovered to potential shifts in shopper and enterprise habits due to COVID-19? What are the alternatives startups could possibly faucet into throughout these unprecedented occasions?
Tech is in an awesome place total as a result of companies are typically both engaged on digitization, which is seeing acceleration out of COVID-19 … so tech falls clearly on the fitting aspect of that line, or inexperienced area trendy and even futuristic concepts. Of the latter, after all, a few of these concepts are nice-to-haves, which battle when customers are dealing with powerful monetary conditions, however a lot are providers that we imagine we’ll see figuring out long run. Of course something bodily, the place the workforce isn’t in a position to adapt the product rapidly, like occasions or train providers, will face non permanent dips, but when these firms had been initially betting on long-term traits, we imagine that they’ll nonetheless be in good positions going ahead.

How has COVID-19 impacted your funding technique? What are the most important worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your recommendation to startups in your portfolio proper now?
COVID-19 hasn’t affected our technique, but it surely has helped us maintain our eye on the ball when it comes to ensuring we keep on with our technique and keep aware of our personal runway — funds have that too! The recommendation to our founders has been the next: (1) Extend the runway so you retain your choices open, after which (2) be as aggressive as you presumably can. We’re encouraging groups to behave rapidly — each when it comes to making inner choices and in getting merchandise to market to check them out. Our founders’ greatest worries are uncertainties round how lengthy “this” will all final — and our recommendation right here is that they need to function as they at all times do and never watch for issues to vary, somewhat be ultrarelevant available in the market you’re in.

Are you seeing “green shoots” concerning income progress, retention or different momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?
Yes! We’ve obtained a pair firms who’re rather well positioned — significantly Wolt (meals supply) and the cell video games firms we’ve backed (Popcore, Reworks, Traplight, and so on.). The present local weather is very favorable for a lot of these firms, and we’ve obtained nice founders on the wheels who’ve been in a position to make the most of the alternatives introduced and who’ve seen large progress consequently.

What is a second that has given you hope within the final month or so? This will be skilled, private or a mixture of the 2.
The efforts by the general public sector, together with healthcare suppliers, to speed up digitization has been refreshing. Sectors who’ve all too usually had loads of excuses for being gradual and conservative have all of the sudden made large leaps — they usually’re pleased with themselves for having completed so! This offers me hope that there can be new or renewed appetites whilst issues return to regular.

Any different ideas you need to share with TechCrunch readers?
The Nordic nations have many nice examples of digital instruments utilized by most of the people to conduct their on a regular basis lives digitally. I might encourage founders and enterprise leaders to look to those examples and see if there are alternatives to construct for different geographies. Scandinavian trendsetting isn’t only for vogue and inside design!

Ted Persson, accomplice, EQT Ventures

What traits are you most enthusiastic about investing in, typically?
My primary ardour lies in backing bold groups fixing actual issues with actual expertise. So, fairly deep tech generally — the anti-thesis of “yet another B2B SaaS company solving almost the same problem in almost the same way.” I’m additionally involved in product and design-centric groups utilizing superior UX to democratize one thing that beforehand was restricted to a privileged few. Currently, I’ve been spending a variety of time occupied with and doing analysis into the way forward for the inventive industries, advertising, product design, and so on.

What’s your newest, most fun funding?
This spring, I’ve led or been concerned in 4 investments throughout quantum computing, group collaboration and two within the design and growth tooling area. None of those have been introduced but although. The final introduced investments had been Sonantic and Frontify — each very cool firms.

Are there startups that you just want you’d see within the business however don’t? What are some ignored alternatives proper now?
Edtech is definitely one.

What are you searching for in your subsequent funding, normally?
As we’re searching for outliers, it’s laborious to generalize. But I get extra enthusiastic about firms tying to resolve laborious issues somewhat than simply piecing collectively a number of APIs (which anybody can do).

How a lot are you targeted on investing in your native ecosystem versus different startup hubs (or in every single place) normally? More than 50%? Less?
I personally don’t have a geographical focus and luxuriate in working with our groups throughout Europe and the world, however since I reside in Sweden, my community is barely stronger right here. Our proprietary AI platform Motherbrain additionally ensures we discover quickly rising or under-the-radar startups outdoors of our native ecosystems and networks.

Which industries in your metropolis and area appear effectively positioned to thrive, or not, long run? What are firms you’re enthusiastic about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
We’re fairly good at gaming, leisure, music and fintech within the Nordics. It’s additionally simpler to search out actually nice designers right here than in different elements of Europe.

Do you count on to see a surge in additional founders coming from geographies outdoors main cities within the years to return, with startup hubs dropping folks because of the pandemic and lingering considerations, plus the attraction of distant work?
Yes, for certain. It’s too early to inform, however a few portfolio firms have given up on their bodily places of work and a variety of startup folks I do know are working from throughout the nation. I for certain suppose this can result in a extra worldwide local weather.

Which business segments that you just spend money on look weaker or extra uncovered to potential shifts in shopper and enterprise habits due to COVID-19? What are the alternatives startups could possibly faucet into throughout these unprecedented occasions?
Rather a lot has been written about this already and, identical to each different investor, we’ve spent a fair proportion of the spring mapping this out. All in all, tech is in place.

How has COVID-19 impacted your funding technique? What are the most important worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your recommendation to startups in your portfolio proper now?
There’s been no change in our technique. There was some preliminary confusion for apparent causes and we took a brief break to ensure our portfolio was in place to endure. Now, we’re again to regular and have made our first investments the place we haven’t met the groups bodily.

Are you seeing “green shoots” concerning income progress, retention or different momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?
Yes, definitely in a few areas, corresponding to meals supply, gaming, distant working and collaboration.

What is a second that has given you hope within the final month or so? This will be skilled, private or a mixture of the 2.
When folks round myself, mother and father, older family, abruptly embrace digital instruments and methods of working totally.

Sofia Dolfe, principal, Index Ventures

What traits are you most enthusiastic about investing in, typically?
I really like merchandise that give folks a powerful feeling of neighborhood, of belonging to a bunch of like-minded folks, and a way of being invested in its success. Users are so passionate in regards to the product that they will’t cease themselves from recommending it to their associates, and their affinity with the model grows over time. Search for a lot of these companies usually leads me to shopper companies and marketplaces which might be customer-centric and convey communities collectively.

Are there startups that you just want you’d see within the business however don’t? What are some ignored alternatives proper now?
I’m to listen to about new takes on schooling in a post-COVID world by which folks could also be extra open to problem the standard methods of studying.

What are you searching for in your subsequent funding, normally?
I’m searching for founders who’re inspiring storytellers. So a lot of constructing a enterprise is about getting everybody to return alongside for the trip, from the senior execs becoming a member of you, to the shoppers taking an opportunity on a younger but unproven enterprise, to investors taking a leap of religion and sharing in your ambition. Founders who’re nice storytellers, are hungry and dream large from the get-go, and have the humility to know what they don’t know, can be in my opinion those that have the most effective probability at making it large.

Which industries in your metropolis and area appear effectively positioned to thrive, or not, long run? What are firms you’re enthusiastic about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
Stockholm has traditionally been on the forefront of each fintech and gaming, and I do suppose these sectors are effectively positioned to thrive. Financial providers will proceed to be reworked, and the fashionable banking infrastructure within the Nordics makes this a pretty place to begin a fintech enterprise. As for gaming, the area has a powerful observe document and a excessive focus of each studios and developer expertise, making it a very fertile floor for breakout successes. A more moderen, fast-growing theme within the area is aware consumption. Stockholm has a protracted historical past of eco-friendliness, and the maturity of CSR, accountable procuring, inexperienced journey and plant-based meals options will probably contribute to a surge in firms on this area. I’m excited to fulfill with founders who care deeply about this endeavor.

How ought to investors in different cities take into consideration the general funding local weather and alternatives in your metropolis?
Stockholm has confirmed itself to be a powerful tech hub, and it has most of the mandatory components for continued successes. For one, founders suppose large and world from the beginning. Sweden has a inhabitants of 10 million, and founders creating category-defining firms know that they have to enter different markets to dominate. The scale of firms corresponding to King, Spotify and iZettle has additionally proven that success is inside attain and cultivated a way of braveness amongst aspiring entrepreneurs. Sometimes the world dangers underestimating the Swedes as a result of they are typically understated however because the observe document of Sweden exhibits, they overdeliver.

What is a second that has given you hope within the final month or so? This will be skilled, private or a mixture of the 2.
A number of weeks in the past I noticed a handwritten notice within the entrance of an residence constructing in Stockholm. One of the residents was providing to buy groceries, treatment and different important objects to these unwell or in danger within the constructing. I’m hopeful that in occasions of issue, we’re reminded of the significance of our native communities, of taking duty for others, and of how worthwhile a easy act of kindness will be to constructing relationships.

Staffan Helgesson, accomplice, Creandum

What traits are you most enthusiastic about investing in, typically?
Transformation of outdated and huge industries corresponding to transportation, development, actual property, and so on. Digital well being — we might want to remodel present well being business.

What’s your newest, most fun funding?
Mavenoid. Automating tech help globally. Ex-Palantir founders.

Are there startups that you just want you’d see within the business however don’t? What are some ignored alternatives proper now?
Insurance markets haven’t but seen the wave of startups that the final fintech business has seen.

What are you searching for in your subsequent funding, normally?
Crazy bold entrepreneurs with their eyes set on disrupting a worldwide market.

Which areas are both oversaturated or can be too laborious to compete in at this level for a brand new startup? What different sorts of merchandise/providers are you cautious or involved about?
Many shopper verticals are powerful to penetrate given large tech and associated oligopoly. But each time I say that new phenomenal firms emerge. Such as Creandum’s portfolio firm Kahoot that simply listed in Oslo for $1.5 billion.

How a lot are you targeted on investing in your native ecosystem versus different startup hubs (or in every single place) normally? More than 50%? Less?
Creandum invests all throughout EU. No set targets — we simply need to discover the most effective entrepreneurs.

Which industries in your metropolis and area appear effectively positioned to thrive, or not, long run? What are firms you’re enthusiastic about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
If choosing one business we’re very enthusiastic about digital well being with Stockholm-based Firstvet and Kry/Livi. (telemedicine for people and pet house owners).

How ought to investors in different cities take into consideration the general funding local weather and alternatives in your metropolis?
Stockholm/Nordics is a really subtle ecosystem that persistently maintain producing world winners frequently.

Do you count on to see a surge in additional founders coming from geographies outdoors main cities within the years to return, with startup hubs dropping folks because of the pandemic and lingering considerations, plus the attraction of distant work?
Great firms will more and more be constructed anyplace and we as an business must adapt. Those enterprise corporations adapting finest and quickest would be the winners going ahead. I foresee a second inexperienced wave, like within the 70s, the place folks will transfer out from cities and/or have a dual-home setup.

Which business segments that you just spend money on look weaker or extra uncovered to potential shifts in shopper and enterprise habits due to COVID-19? What are the alternatives startups could possibly faucet into throughout these unprecedented occasions?
Travel and leisure clearly. But even in these industries there can be winners going ahead if they will trip the wave of digitizing (for instance, tickets and occasions).

How has COVID-19 impacted your funding technique? What are the most important worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your recommendation to startups in your portfolio proper now?
It’s all about entry to long-term capital and observe document. Creandum’s technique has not modified in any respect.

Are you seeing “green shoots” concerning income progress, retention or different momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?
Yes, particularly in digital well being.

What is a second that has given you hope within the final month or so? This will be skilled, private or a mixture of the 2.
Closing a totally distant funding. Company known as Meditopia — in Turkey of all locations :-).

Tanya Horowitz, accomplice, Butterfly Ventures

What traits are you most enthusiastic about investing in, typically?
Deep tech, AI, machine studying, healthcare/medtech, industrial IoT and associated cloud providers and communication options, Energy storage and energy-efficient energy era, robotics, clever manufacturing, and additive manufacturing.

What’s your newest, most fun funding?
Uute Scientific has created a pure product containing a selected combination of microbes, which will be utilized to numerous shopper merchandise. These merchandise lower the likelihood of getting immune-mediated ailments, like bronchial asthma or Type 1 diabetes and consequently enhance high quality of life.

Are there startups that you just want you’d see within the business however don’t? What are some ignored alternatives proper now?
In the area (Nordics), wish to see extra in vitality storage, energy era and vitality/carbon discount applied sciences. Food tech and agtech are an space to look towards given the world’s growing inhabitants. Edtech because of the COVID disaster.

What are you searching for in your subsequent funding, normally?
We are searching for a powerful workforce with distinctive tech aimed towards a worldwide market.

Which areas are both oversaturated or can be too laborious to compete in at this level for a brand new startup? What different sorts of merchandise/providers are you cautious or involved about?
Media/adtech except actually distinctive appear to be oversaturated; additionally wellness/health apps, and so on.

How a lot are you targeted on investing in your native ecosystem versus different startup hubs (or in every single place) normally? More than 50%? Less?
Finland 40%-50%, Sweden 30%+, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Baltics remaining 20%.

Which industries in your metropolis and area appear effectively positioned to thrive, or not, long run? What are firms you’re enthusiastic about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
Industries: Health/medical.

How ought to investors in different cities take into consideration the general funding local weather and alternatives in your metropolis?
I believe in Finland and your entire Nordics there may be ample alternatives to spend money on stellar groups and applied sciences which have a worldwide market. The expertise pool and help of the startup ecosystems are high notch.

Do you count on to see a surge in additional founders coming from geographies outdoors main cities within the years to return, with startup hubs dropping folks because of the pandemic and lingering considerations, plus the attraction of distant work?
I don’t see startup hubs dropping folks within the Nordics. I do nevertheless see founders coming from geographies outdoors main cities.

Which business segments that you just spend money on look weaker or extra uncovered to potential shifts in shopper and enterprise habits due to COVID-19? What are the alternatives startups could possibly faucet into throughout these unprecedented occasions?
Obvious is retail, eating places, service business. Also schooling (edtech) must be an space to actually look into. Online leisure (OTT), logistics (meals, items supply), and so on.

How has COVID-19 impacted your funding technique? What are the most important worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your recommendation to startups in your portfolio proper now?
It has solely affected it barely, we had been fortunate that we had been virtually on the finish of our funding interval and our portfolio of firms are set for this present fund classic. We are the main seed-stage deep tech investor within the Nordics and subsequently most of our firms have fared OK.

Are you seeing “green shoots” concerning income progress, retention or different momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?
Yes, a few of our portfolio has benefited from the pandemic, whereas others suffered with prospects initially however appear to be recovered now.

What is a second that has given you hope within the final month or so? This will be skilled, private or a mixture of the 2.
We are elevating Butterfly Ventures Fund IV and began earlier than the pandemic hit. While this has slowed us down barely, our anchor and different LPs are rock stable and we as a workforce are dedicated to getting the primary shut completed ASAP to capitalize with that dry powder in early 2021. While my coronary heart goes out to those that haven’t been so fortunate, personally we have now been blessed to not have had direct tragedies associated to the pandemic … and my son is completely happy and wholesome and that alone offers me hope on a regular basis.

Any different ideas you need to share with TechCrunch readers?
Global LPs ought to actually discover Europe extra, particularly the Nordics!

Sanna Westman, principal, Creandum

What traits are you most enthusiastic about investing in, typically?
Well, we usually say that in case you spend money on traits you’re late to the get together … however after all there are some macro actions which might be thrilling and we monitor intently. For me personally digital well being is a type of areas, it’s not new however consistently creating and has after all been additional accelerated the previous 12 months. Another space that’s actually attention-grabbing are merchandise that assist you to be a greater chief/supervisor/firm. I’m undecided how you can productize this however there’s an enormous alternative in amplifying management. We’ve seen success with firms giving the person person superpowers (no-code instruments, productiveness instruments, and so on.) however how about serving to folks scaling themselves and their groups? Remote work has a variety of advantages, however places new challenges on managers. I additionally imagine we’ll see extra high quality firms battling local weather change in several methods.

What’s your newest, most fun funding?
SafetyWing — on the intersection of social safety and distant work.

Are there startups that you just want you’d see within the business however don’t? What are some ignored alternatives proper now?
There’s a lot extra to do inside B2B commerce: marketplaces, e-commerce enablers, new methods of financing, and so on. Sure there are firms, however no manner close to as many (good) ones accurately.

What are you searching for in your subsequent funding, normally?
A short while to “Wow.” Solutions that can provide the person an instantaneous worth after which proceed so as to add to that worth they extra they use the product

Which areas are both oversaturated or can be too laborious to compete in at this level for a brand new startup? What different sorts of merchandise/providers are you cautious or involved about?
Mobility and supply normally is sort of crowded. Also open-banking cost options has seen an enormous surge.

How a lot are you targeted on investing in your native ecosystem versus different startup hubs (or in every single place) normally? More than 50%? Less?
The Nordics is together with DACH one of many key focus markets for Creandum, although there’s no set allocation for any sure geography. We try to again the most effective firms no matter the place they’re situated.

Which industries in your metropolis and area appear effectively positioned to thrive, or not, long run? What are firms you’re enthusiastic about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
Compared to different hubs there’s a very excessive product focus normally, and on condition that Sweden is a small market the mindset can also be worldwide from day one. I believe that makes extra of a distinction than a sure vertical. In phrases of thrilling firms Kive and Depict are price retaining eyes on for the very early phases. For the extra mature startups Kry and Firstvet are doing nice as early enablers of digital well being.

How ought to investors in different cities take into consideration the general funding local weather and alternatives in your metropolis?
Increasingly aggressive but in addition a variety of robust expertise.

Do you count on to see a surge in additional founders coming from geographies outdoors main cities within the years to return, with startup hubs dropping folks because of the pandemic and lingering considerations, plus the attraction of distant work?
Even earlier than the pandemic only a few startups in Stockholm had 100% of their workforce in a single location anyway, a hybrid setup was and proceed to be quite common.

Which business segments that you just spend money on look weaker or extra uncovered to potential shifts in shopper and enterprise habits due to COVID-19? What are the alternatives startups could possibly faucet into throughout these unprecedented occasions?
As the fund invests with a really very long time horizon, +10 years, the short-term influence isn’t a key concern however after all we take into consideration the long-term results on e.g., enterprise journey. We are likely to search for the alternatives greater than the drawbacks although, and there can be alternatives for brand new firms in industries which have been closely impacted. It may truly show to be good timing to disrupt.

How has COVID-19 impacted your funding technique? What are the most important worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your recommendation to startups in your portfolio proper now?
Initially we had been cautious round runway and labored intently with the portfolio to ensure they might survive for an extended time ought to revenues decline and funding not be obtainable. Summing up 2020 although, we had been lucky to look again on a 12 months the place many firms had overperformed and had been in a position to increase important up rounds. Great firms are created in all occasions and had been dedicated to search out the most effective seed and Series A firms.

Are you seeing “green shoots” concerning income progress, retention or different momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?
Definitely. We’ve seen a number of examples of V-shaped restoration, with revenues bumping again above pre-COVID ranges and persevering with on that trajectory.

What is a second that has given you hope within the final month or so? This will be skilled, private or a mixture of the 2.
The hustle and optimism amongst entrepreneurs we meet. The “impossible is nothing” perspective is absolutely inspiring.

Who are key startup folks you see creating success regionally?
I’d say among the lively “stay in the background” angels/mentors which might be supporting a brand new era corresponding to Joachim Hedenius (Kry, CTO) or Johan Crona. And Susanna Campbell/Cristina Stenbeck who’ve been very lively of their joint investments, usually discovering alternatives the VCs miss.

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