On demand electric scooters, car sharing, TippTapp, Fishbrain and interesting jobs - Nordic stories from September 2018
The following is a selection of our observations from the past month as we consume feeds, twits and other media bits from the Scandinavian ecosystem. We're looking to curate interesting, relevant content coming mainly from startups and investors world, with the aim to bring you the very best selection in order to get an idea about what is going on in the Nordics
If you have any thoughts on how to make it better, or you’d like to recommend a piece of content, suggest a job post, or even sponsor it please get in touch.
The on demand electric scooters started getting legs in the Nordics, with a Swedish company, Voi Technologies, raising roughly $3M to launch in Stockholm this summer. The VOI guys went proactively to the Stockholm's city hall - the officials were not really impressed, as they are still trying to figure out whether to regulate or not such as a service, in an Uber manner. Uber was forced to comply to taxi rules in 2017. While pondering on how to regulate this type of sharing service, the officials are currently evaluating about 12 scooters and bikes sharing companies from Stockholm.
A quick look over the VOI app shows roughly 100-150 scooters available within Stockholm's center limits - they do claim having 30,000 users.
Meanwhile, Lime, the well funded American startup providing similar services, quietly started to make scooters available in Copenhagen, while in Stockholm it initiated employees recruitment via facebooks ads.
Speaking of sharing services, as BMW closed down its operations in Sweden (specifically the DriveNow service), it looks like it actually sold its operational infrastructure to Aimo. Aimo is owned by a 400 years old Japanese conglomerate and aims to make available 300 electric cars in the city of Stockholm starting with October 31.
The difference from the market leader, Volvo's Sunfleet, is that Aimo's service is free floating, meaning you can leave the car anywhere within some specified limits.
We have made a breakdown of the car as a service model in the Nordics - who is driving and at what costs - earlier in 2018.
Revolut, the UK-based, well funded, digital banking startup offering a pre-paid debit card, currency exchange, cryptocurrency exchange and peer-to-peer payments, has 21,000 customers in Sweden and wants to double by 2019. In Norway it has 13,000 clients and has a target of 30,000 within a year.
This adds to the explosion of fintech startups and investments from the Nordics in the past couple of years. We expect soon a consolidation in the space and we'll follow up on this.
Electric bicycles sold in Sweden in 2018 until end of august 2018 totalled 103,000 units, 53% increase from last year and already at a 19% of the bicycles market. The consumer electric bikes were heavily subsidized by the Swedish state and were subject to frauds.
The total cycling market in Sweden is a bit higher than 500k units per year, 3% lower than from 2016. - link
Volvo launched a subsidiay which announced the production of Polestar, an EV aiming to overtake Tesla. Electric, software-based cars will become a market standard sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile in Germany, Daimler chose a Swede, Ola Källenius, to head up Mercedes-Benz vehicles and make a significant push for its EVs.
Jon S. von Tetzchner, known as one of Opera's founders and as an occasional angel investor in the Nordics, has built another browser, Vivaldi. Since founding it a few years ago, he spent about $13M (NOK 110M) and has about 1M users. He says he's doing it for the sake of it and needs between 3 to 5 million users to breakeven.
Rare in Scandinavia: scalping. KappAhl, a clothing chain headquartered in the Southern of Sweden, has a brand for kids, Newbie, so successful (read low-priced) that people buy it in bulk just for reselling. The company started limiting the number of items which can be acquired but it just sounds like a classic econ 101 problem of supply, demand and the price that sets the equilibrium.
Tipp Tapp, a mobile service acting as a marketplace for people willing to get paid for making it easy for others to get rid of a lot of unwanted stuff from their house, was allegedly banned by the city of Stockholm, according to the Swedish media. It's actually an useful service which gathered a bit of traction in Stockholm - disclaimer: we're happy users.
The reason is environmental concerns, as the authorities claim that some of the collected items intended for recycling should be collected only by special official representatives. The situation seems a bit unclear, as TippTapp is used for more than that. Moreover, one of the TippTapp's founders, David Höök, says that they were not officially announced about the decision yet. The issue should have easy fixes, as it is a useful service helping the local community.
TippTapp, led by CEO Tim Bjelkstam, has raised about $5M in risk capital, mostly from Swedish angel investors and also from GP Bullhound in a financing round from earlier in 2018.
The hunting season has started in Sweden and there are three apps serving the market: Wehunt, Easyhunt and The Great Wild. The Great Wild is the most popular, with 125,000 users.
The Great Wild has raised about $1.5M and Wehunt less than $1M. All of them in angel money, all of them operating on a freemium business model, all of them unprofitable, at low revenue levels. Hunting sounds like a sophisticated market, but technology doesn't seem to change things and habits in a lucrative way. The longer, media version in Swedish.
Fishbrain, the social app for fishermen made in Sweden, has about 130,000 users in Sweden and a few millions worldwide, at a daily growth rate of 10,000 downloads. The company operates on a freemium model basis, and in 2017 it made about SEK 24M ($2.7M) in sales, three times higher than in 2016 and at a SEK 40M loss..
Fishbrain is one of the promising startup stories from Sweden, was founded in 2013 in Gothenburg by Jens Lindman, Marcus Fransson and Johan Attby (CEO) and has raised almost $30M in venture money.
Speaking of fishing, the first catch of the lobster season in Sweden was sold at an auction in Gothenburg for SEK 83k ($9,000), almost double than last year's price of SEK 47k. The buyer was Per-Arne Korshag, who also has the record for the highest price paid similarly in for the first lobster of the year: SEK 102k in 2012.
Tesla's Model X was, for the first time, the top selling car in Norway in September 2018. Model S was positioned at number 3 - link
8 out of 10 online stores expect Amazon entering Denmark to lead to closures of stores - link
87,100 people in Denmark earn over DKK 1M ($150k) per year - link
Since 2013, 247 companies have been listed on the stock exchange in Sweden compared to only 28 companies listed on the stock exchange in Denmark during the same period - link
Changes start with idealistic people taking initiatives - Ownershift is a politically independent think tank with the purpose of shifting societal power structures through ownership. The long term goal is to diversify ownership overall, starting off with increasing the percentage of female ownership in Sweden.
Danish government presents plan to recruit skilled foreign labour - link
Apple opening a flagship store downtown Stockhom has generated 1800 complaints. It is a bit odd since the store will presumably replace a TGI Friday and the design is compliant to whatever the authorities have asked for. The whole process started in 2016, well documented here.
VC fun - The online presence of VCs is generally not great in this part of the world, especially the presentation websites even from names with international ambitions, which is ironic especially for those claiming to invest in excellent doers. We chuckled a bit however when finding that one investment company from the new wave in Sweden, J12 Ventures that is, actually shared their music tastes. Big up.
Product Manager @ Kahoot - link
Marketing Manager @ Fuse Tools - link
CTO @ ftrack - link
CPO & Product Manager at Fishbrain - link & link
Senior Product Marketing Manager at Planday - link
VP Finance at Lifesum - link
Venture Lead at byFounders - link
Incubator Manager - Bergen at StartupLab - link
Investment Manager at Vækstfonden - link
Head of Marketing at Icebreaker VC - link
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