Horse tech startups made in Sweden which investors and entrepreneurs should keep an eye on.
Horses is one business area that, at a first thought, may not seem very sexy from a (tech-based) startup perspective, with little visibility, especially in the usual investment or startup circles.
The vertical has however caught our attention lately and, looking more through the specifics of the ecosystem, we found out that there are about 20 million horses in the EU, North and South America, while in Europe altogether there are around 5 millions.
Germany and Great Britain have the largest horse populations in the European Union while Sweden has around 360k horses, based in about 60,000 horse farms. We also learnt that Sweden has the highest number of horses per capita.
So, roughly speaking, if we consider that maintaining a horse is rather not a cheap activity and pragmatically targeting an average revenue per horse of, let's say, about $500 per year, we might have a total addressable market of $180M only in Sweden, in an international context of $10bn.
That, of course, depends on the business model and other variables, but it sounds like a good number, especially for new entrants in a market that seems to be still in an old world, traditional paradigm, with little tech contributions.*
These days horses can represent a leisure or sporting activity, a way of life, a working companion or food. Plenty of business modelling options - most businesses are centered around breeding or around competitions, racing stats and, of course, betting. Other opportunities include feed, equipment, livery stables, training of horses and riders in equestrian sport, and various veterinary and other equine health care services.
This is certainly just theory, but may as well constitute a good context for having already identified a few horse-based businesses in Sweden, which contribute with entreprenorial efforts to develop economic models for value creation in the horse vertical.
Horsemeup, founded in 2012 by Monica Sjösvärd, is an ecommerce business developed around an online store concept for exclusive brands in the horse racing sport in Sweden.
The company, which still needs to become profitable according to the official records, had sales of about SEK 10M ($1.1M) in 2016, from SEK 7.2M in 2015.
Equilab, founded in 2016 and led by CEO Adam Torkelsson, provides vital insights about a horse tracked via a mobile application. The app uses the phone sensors to measure the horse movements while riding and it is aimed at professional riders training their horses for competitions.
The company claims to have built a community of 20 000 riders and registered on their database tens of thousands of hours of riding.
Videquus, founded in February 2016 by a group of 7 entrepreneurs led by CEO Linus Jernbom, is also doing horse monitoring, but in the horses boxes.
The company, which is located near Lund in Flyinge, has developed a camera that provides a surveillance system by interpreting what happens in the horse box and how the horse is doing. The camera is connected to an app via the internet and can detect unusual activity or patterns in the horses behaviour, triggering an automated alarm.
The company makes money by selling yearly subscription packages starting from SEK 400 per month per horse, and provides the starter kit (camera, router, other equipment) for free.
Videquus was founded after winning a business development contest and receiving contributions from Almi and is also backed by local investors Skaraborg Invest and Palle Stenberg, which funded the company with SEK 3.5M ($400k) in 2017.
Ztable is also rather new, as it was founded in 2016 in Uppsala by CEO Ingrid Sundqvist. The company developed a social network and a training calendar especially designed for horse riders and which can be accessed both on the web or via a mobile app. The application has about 17,000 downloads.
Ztable is free and its business model is still uncertain, most likely the company looks for more traction until it will figure out how to make money. In the summer of 2017, the company was accepted in STING Accelerate, and received funding from Propel Capital.
HoofStep, founded in 2015 by CEO Per-Eric Olsson in Helsingborg, also developed a system that focuses on the health of the horses, via a sensor attached to the horse. The sensor sends info to the cloud and the companion app signals abnormal behavior such as indication of colic, laminitis, lameness, acute injury, stress or approaching foaling. When that is the case, the app provides indicators of health issues earlier than the symptoms show, as it benchmarks them against a knowledge database stored in the cloud.
The Hoofstep system appears to be still in closed beta testing stage and not available publicly. In November 2017, the company raised outside funding, in a SEK 2M ($240k) investment round from Almi Invest, which backed an equal amount contributed by private investors.
*it should be noted that we didn't look at the international horse tech ecosystem - if you're interested for us to dig further, drops us a line.
Did you like it? Share it!