Companies from the Nordics likely to look for growth capital investment funding in 2018.
Experienced entrepreneurs will always say that it's best to raise money when you don't need it.
However, especially when making the step from product/market fit to scaling the company, entrepreneurs have to press the pedal, as they have increasing burning rates, and need a certain type of management and resources available to get the company to the next level.
Typically, such companies have already raised investment rounds from angels or early institutional investors, have already conducted their early tests to understand product, customers, organizational strengths and their industries. They also have paying customers and at least one or more million dollars in revenues.
As such, we have had a look in the investment database at rounds between $1 and 5 million made in 2016. Out of 265 companies on the receiving end, more than half already announced followup funding in 2017.
We then had a look at the ones which didn't announce anything since then and chose a few likely candidates that may have in the works followup investments.
The roundup makes for an overview of a few Nordic companies with potential to grow to the next level - i.e. may be looking to raise $10-20M rounds at $100M+ valuations.
Arundo, founded in 2015 by Tor Jakob Ramsøy and Stuart Morstead, develops competitive intelligence solutions solutions that raise asset utilization/ performance in industrial companies.
The company is backed by investors such as Alliance Venture, Brillio and Northgate Capital, with the last announced funding round made in the summer of 2016, of NOK 40M ($4.9M).
In 2016, the company was profitable, with NOK 25M ($3M) in revenues recorded in Norway - Arundo also has two offices in USA, in Houston and Palo Alto and is headquartered in Oslo.
Cardlay was founded in 2016 by Jørgen Christian Juul, who previously founded Wallmob.
The company provides tools for banks to manage payment cards, expense management, financial forecasting and a digital platform to increase customer engagement, loyalty and earnings. Cardlay’s platform allows banks to issue, load and manage payment cards in real time.
Coinify, founded in 2014 by Kris Henriksen, Lasse Olesen and Mark Højgaard, developed a platform that offers blockchain currency trading and payment processing services: individuals can buy and sell blockchain currencies; and merchants can accept blockchain payments in different currencies and receive payouts in fiat.
The company, which is located in Copenhagen, Denmark, has lastly raised $4M in the summer of 2016, and has investors such as SEB Venture Capital, SEED Capital, and Accelerace. According to the Danish records, SEB has the most shares in the company and in 2014-2016 has not had revenues.
Critical Force was founded in 2012 in Kajaani, Finland by Veli-Pekka Piirainen and started as a video game company developing online shooter games for mobile devices. The company has a major title, Critical Ops, and has also devevloped a mobile online multiplayer games with a competitive eSports community.
In 2016 Critical Force made EUR 1M in revenues and in the same summer it had raised EUR 4M as a fairly big seed investment from South Korean publishing conglomerate NHN Entertainment, which opened a commercial window for the Asian market.
Midaxo was founded in Helsinki in 2011 by Kaija Katariina Erkkilä and Kalle Kilpi and is led by CEO Ari Salonen. The company has developed a SAAS platform for end-to-end M&A management, from deal sourcing though evaluation, transaction, and integration.
The company has raised a total of about $7M. The last two rounds of financing - in March 2015 from Finnvera and Hiidenkivi Investment ($1.9M) and one in Nov 2016 from the same + EOC Capital and Tesi ($4M).
Besides Helsinki, Midaxo has offices in USA, Netherlands and Latvia. In 2016, the records indicate a turnover of EUR 1.5M, two times higher yoy.
Refunder, founded in 2011 by Fredrik Ohlsson and Victor Dahlborg, developed a cashback website, whereas people buying through it get a percentage of their purchases back. The company lives through affiliates, as e-merchants pay a fee to Refunder each time a transaction is carried out via the website.
While it may not be sexy for investors looking for buzzwords it certainly may be lucrative - the company looks to be on a growing trajectory, with SEK 23M ($2.8M) in sales for 2016.
Refunder, which is based in Stockholm, Sweden, has raised money from Bonnier and eEquity - two solid investors, one with affiliate-ready media properties, the other with the former Pricerunner founders (Magnus Wiberg and Patrik Hedelin) as partners. Last investment round - end of 2016, $4M, when Bonnier established itself as 49% share owner.
Sympa does cloud-based HR, is based in Vantaa, Finland and was founded in 2005 by Keijo Karjalainen (CEO) and his sister Taina Sipilä. The company developed a fully integratable, global, cloud-based HR system that supports the entire employee life cycle, combining recruitment, HRM and HRD processes. They do business with over 400 companies with users in more than 50 countries, employing over 65 people in the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and at its Finnish headquarters.
Sympa is backed by the Swedish Alfvén & Didrikson, which invested almost $5M in the company at the end of 2016, while the rest of the shares are in the hands of the family. The company seems to be on a growth trajectory, having recently purchased Innovestor-backed Pulse, an employee-engagement application created by Finnish mobile-B2B software specialist, Apped.
Upcloud, based in Helsinki, Finland, was founded in 2012 by Joel Pihlajamaa as a spinoff from Sigmatic Ltd, is led by CEO Antti Vilpponen of Arctic Startup fame, and provides cloud hosting services on an hourly billed infrastructure-as-a-service model. The company claims to be one of the cheapest in Europe, and provides services from data centers based in the UK, USA, Germany, Netherlands, Singapore and Finland.
Watty is a Stockholm-based company founded in 2013 by CEO Hjalmar Nilsonne and which is building a subscription-based AI service that helps you make smart energy decisions based on your energy use.
Watty lost about SEK 5M in 2016, at a turnover of SEK 9.4M ($1.2M).
Zervant was founded in 2010 by CEO Mattias Hansson and Tuukka Koskinen, and is positioned as an online invoicing provider for small businesses and freelancers. The company has 40 employees and clients from Finland, Sweden, the UK, France, Germany, Belgium and Austria. In 2016, it lost money at a sales figure of almost EUR 1.2M.
However, the company is backed by solid investors, including Northzone and Connor Venture Partners, which placed more than $8M since its founding. Last investment round - €4M, for international expansion.
*Later edits - we got 7/10:
- Coinify announced it raised almost $5M from SEB, Nordic Eye and SEED Capital at the end of December 2017. (December 2017)
- Cardlay secured $5M from SEED Capital and SEB Ventures. (January 2018)
- Arundo Analytics raises $25M Series A funding to provide advanced analytics for the heavy industry. (January 2018)
- Zervant secured €6M in funding in a round led by Tesi, and including Northzone, NFT Ventures and Conor Venture Partners. (February 2018)
- Midaxo secures €12.9M in series B funding, accelerates growth of its cloud M&A platform. (March 2018)
- Sympa raises another investment round from Alfvén & Didrikson. (June 2018)
- Critical Force secured $6.4M in a capital grant provided by Business Finland. (June 2018)
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