Sweden the New Playground for IT Start-ups

Working in the IT community makes me appreciate the resources Sweden offers.  Entrepreneurship is encouraged and resources for starting a business are available for all residents.

As a part of our adventure in Scandinavia we have visited many companies in Sweden, including some recent start-ups.  Two of the first companies we meet with were Piteå Science Park and Luleå Science Park.  Both organizations have contributed to the growing economy of northern Sweden.

Amongst many services each offers a place to grow. Each science park contains an incubator, which provides businesses and small start up organizations a place to call home as they develop their businesses.


Sweden is one of the most supportive environments in the world for start-ups and the second most creative tech hub.  Sweden comes in right behind Silicon Valley for producing the most known and the greatest tech companies.  Wondering what makes the Swedes so successful? Well, after visiting both North and South Sweden (Piteå, Luelå, Stockholm, and Malmö), it is obvious the support and resources available through the government funded incubators and science parks are valuable.

Sweden Start-ups

Recently I read an article highlighting nine Sweden start-ups, see below for a brief description on some of these great companies.

Skype

Launched in 2003, providing peer-to-peer video conferencing. Sold to Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5 billion.

Klarna

Works with online merchants by  processing payments on behalf of the merchant.  Allows consumers to complete purchases without loging onto a site, by entering an email address for validation. Valued at more than $2 billion.

Truecaller

App which blocks callers, shows unknown numbers, and shows when friends are available for calls.  Raised over $90 million.

Magine

Cloud based TV operator.  (Currently not available in the US.) Raised over $58 million.

Spotify

Emerged in Sweden (2006), changing the music industry forever through launching a music steaming service locally and then moving into the top music markets of the world: United States and Japan.  While in Stockholm, our group was lucky to spend a little more than an hour speaking with the Chief Human Resources Officer.  I walked in with high expectations for the company and I am pleased to say I was impressed. The values, culture, and atmosphere all align with the Swedish life style I had been hearing about all week.  The CEO is just as accessible to employees who do not report to him as he is to his direct reports.

Sweden Companies to Watch

The list of companies we visited in Sweden ranged from start-ups to well known brand names. Right in the middle are a range of companies, I had never heard of.  After meeting and hearing the work these companies are doing I feel obligated to spread the word and warn others to keep an eye out for these great companies.

Seamless

Seamless is a global payments company with two main product lines: a proprietary transaction switch ERS 360 and SEQR for mobile payments.  The focus of our visit was SEQR.  Which is a mobil app that allows you to transfer money, pay in stores and online.  SEQR is the most used payment app in Europe and is now active in 30 countries.  This major resource this product offers is the reliabiity and security of protecting your credit data.  The science of behind the magic is what sets this company apart and makes it a strong competitor to those we all know and love; including Apple and PayPal.

Compodium

Our visit at Compodium hit home for me.  Compodium provides a virtual meeting service for education, telemedicine, e-health, interpreters for spoken language and sign language to name the least.  This is something I am very familiar with due to recent healthcare laws in California related to telehealth.  Since my job is in the Healthcare industry, I know first hand the importance of this technology. From my observation Compodium has mastered a formula to keeping a secure, confidential conference/video call.

Fortlax

Facebook recently opened its first datacenter outside of the US, in Luleå.  The decision was based on the resources the city offered.   Luleå offers a suitable climate for environmental cooling, clean power resources, and available land.  All of which Fortlax discovered several years before the Facebook data center was built.  The owners of Fortlax saw an opportunity to open a data center mainly because of the cheap overhead due to the free natural resources avilable.

  • Fellow EMBA Students.


Sweden's best kept best kept secrets for the IT community are no longer secrets. Major companies like Facebook, Skype and Spotify have one thing in common. Sweden is at the root of its business.