Nordic highlights from January 2018

It is actually a double feature about what we saw in the Nordics, December and January, due to the holidays.


...was a relatively good year for the private investment Nordic are - there were lots of different figures vehiculated in the public space regarding the size and shape of the local ecosystem, depending on who counted and what data considered. All in all, The Nordics saw about 1000 investments and north of $1bn in capital made available, all on an upward trend on yoy basis.

The broader idea is that the ecosystem seems healthy in terms of capital commitments, M&As and exits, good and bad bets, upside potential seems promising, a class of startups starting to mature, (pre)seed investors start to get more and more familiar with a new (tech) asset class and we see plenty of activity on the buy side in the Nordics.

Some of the most invested verticals are manufacturing, health, financial services and gaming.

Some of the big bets made by VCs include Automile, Yubico, Natural Cycles, Min Doktor, Soundtrack Your Brand and Acast.

Active VC investors include EQT Ventures, Inbox Capital, Creandum, Industrifonden and Northzone.

Notable active angel investors are Bo Mattsson, Erik Fischbeck, Daniel Pilotti, Mattias Weinhandl, Jonas Nordlander, Filip Engelbert, Lars Lindgren, Simon Josefsson, David Helgason or Trond Riiber Knudsen.

Worth noting

Chinese, and Asians in general, are quite active in the Nordics: Chinese investment firm Ascend announced 4 investments at the end of 2017 - Grundium, TactoTek, Fimmic and Canatu.

Online art is a huge market worth EUR 32 billion - Swedish Barneby just added $2.8M in investment, backed by plenty of local high profiles ++ Artland, the Danish wannabe.

What is the (in)visible tie between Zalando and H&M? Both invested in Ivyrevel.

Cool promising stuff - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Gas pedalling - Coinify, Quinyx, Cardlay, NA-KD, CCT, Kidsbrandstore, Huddly, Swarm 64

Strategic investors - Clas Ohlson (Mathem), (Amuse), IKEA (Matsmart), Vestas & Scania (Northvolt), Allianz (BIMA)

Iceland awakes - 3 deals announced in 6 weeks (1, 2, 3)

M&A deals include Soundtrap, Earin, OptiWay, United Screen, Outnorth, Evoke, Rendra, Ingager

Speaking of Soundtrap, Spotify paid SEK 500M for Soundtrap, which seems a a bit high. The startup was founded in 2012, had 35 employees, hardly recorded any revenues (SEK 1M in 2016), was valued at SEK 200M in its autumn 2016 latest new issue and it was sold at 2.5x after a year. At the time of acquisition, the company had 35 employees in Stockholm. However, considering the deal involved people which go a long way doing business together, most likely one side was a good negotiator whereas the other pegged a premium on the soon-to-come IPO.

In other news....

The Swedish state-owned VCs Industrifonden pushes for more marketing - hires people and works on rebranding itself.

Besides a lot of VC money invested in 2017, there's also acerb competition on the healthcare sector from Sweden. Cause, effect... or just a huge market to be taken over.

Nordea issued bitcoin ban for all staff. This piece of news alone will be hard to counter by any PR initiative including Nordea and innovation in the same sentence for a long time

VC drama - Stockholm VC didn't work out ++ How Danske Bank didn't pull out as an LP from byFounders

(A lot) More money available - Capman, Luminar, Spintop, Capidea, Capital A, EQT, Inventure

Speaking of more money available - Norway's sovereign fund seeks permission to invest in unlisted firms

Pan Nordic vertical cooperations - fintech & edu tech.

Bonnier laid off 70 people in the U.S

Peter Vesterbacka wants to build a tunnel between Finland and Estonia

Nils Torvalds, Linus’ father, ran for President of Finland. (didn't win)

Finally, a bit of self promo, Nordic 9 launched N9 Insider, an affordable subscription-based access to the core of our work. Two reasons: 1. nothing good in life comes for free. 2. there's a lot of work/value created over at N9 that needs to be compensated in an economic model. In almost two years, N9 developed a comprehensive data asset with smart software built on top connecting the dots the right way in order to understand the dynamics of what is going on and provide context for past and present decisions. And there's a long list of other cool feature development, watch this space.

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