The year 2016 is upon us and there's no slowing down the Nordics and Baltics. Sweden is
especially on fire and we've seen some big deals come out of Finland. So let's take a quick look
back at what's been going on in the first few weeks of this year.
Industrifonden listed the most important countries in Europe when it comes to tech investment
and Sweden is now completely unchallenged at the top. UK is a lonely second having raised
only half of what Swedish companies were able. Last year Swedish companies raised over $1
billion in 175 investment rounds. Let's hope #sthlmtech keeps up the good work!
One of the biggest news in January was that 24 Storage, the company founded by serial
entrepreneur Michael Fogelberg, raised $4.5 million from Staffan Persson and families Wattin
and Tilander. This is Fogelberg's third storage company and after launching in the summer 24
Storage has already 2000 customers and $6.7 million in raised capital, plus loans of almost $6
Sweden also got a big exit from one of their startups when Bo Mattsson and Creandum decided
to sell Cint to VC giant Nordic Capital. Though the price of the deal wasn't disclosed, Breakit
reported that Cint, Sweden's fastest growing company, was sold for 'well over' $120 million.
As mentioned before Sweden is by far the most active startup scene in raising money and there
are simply too many deals going on to report in full length in one monthly newsletter. Here's a
quick recap of the biggest deals: Wrapp raised $4.65 million, Collective raised $1.5 million,
MedUniverse $1.3 million, Roger $1 million and Sellpy $900,000
During the past year it seemed Finnish companies were raising huge amounts of money at a
time and so far January doesn't seem to be no exception. The biggest deal came from Finnish
open source database provider MariaDB, which raised $9 million from investors that are well
known here in the valley as well - Intel Capital and California Technology Ventures. On top of
money MariaDB got some very valuable experience from Silicon Valley as well - the company's
new CEO is the former head of EMC's big data division Michael Howard.
Vaadin secured some impressive funding as well, raising $6 million from Finnish Industry
Investment and Swedish eEquity. The company will use the investment mainly fo boost its R&D
activities and ecosystem development to expand their selection of developer tools.
It's great to see the return on Polar Bear Pitching in the Finnish city of Oulu. Forget about your
normal everyday pitches where participants are in a nice warm room. The whole idea of Polar
Bear Pitching is that you pitch your company from an ice hole. The event is held on February
10-11 and the winner will take home 10,000 euros in cash plus and offer to join Catapult, the
Though the amounts are smaller than in neighbouring Sweden and Finland, Estonia's startups
are still raising capital in a healthy pace. One of the companies was Investly, an Estonian
crowdfunding platform that raised €600,000 from Austrian investment firm Speedinvest.
TransferWise has certainly sparked an elevated interest in FinTech in Estonia and one of the
companies born out that interest is TransferFast, which raised €150,000 in pre-seed investment.
Using the companies services it is easy to transfer money between different banks within
minutes instead on hours or days. The logic is very similar to TransferWise as the money
transferred never moves between banks.
The Founder Institute in Tallinn just opened it's applications for the 2016 spring semester and
the early admissions deadline is February 14th. If you want to build a startup in the Nordic/Baltic
region then go check FI out!
Great news coming out of Iceland where the Icelandic game studio Plain Vanilla Games
secured a 'up to' $7.5 million investment from mobile game publisher Glu Mobile. Plain Vanilla
was founded in 2012 and has raised over $40 million in investments including the latest round.
Controlant managed to secure a $2.47 million investment led by Frumtak 2. Controlant offers
automated cloud-based temperature monitoring solutions for food and drugs that need to be
manufactured, transported and stored at a specific temperature range.
Latvia's largest IT group Draugiem Group os back again trying to crowdfund their new project -
a secure app-driven bike stand called Bindio. It's a smart bike stand made of a built-in hardened
steel chain and an electronic lock that users can operate with their mobile phones. To ensure
extra security, the chain has sensors that alert the user in case of an attempted theft.
Probably the biggest news coming out of the whole region was that Vivino, the Danish wine
rating app, announced a $25 million Series B round led SCP Neptune International. The
company was founded in 2010 and so far has raised $37 million and boasts a whopping 13
million users all over the world.
Thanks to PostNord Denmark the Nordics will have a whole new door to China. PostNord
announced a new collaboration with e-commerce Alibaba Group, which will help Nordic online
retailers reach Chinese consumers more easily and cheaper. Hopefully this will have a huge
impact on the entire region.
Not much news out of Lithuania this year, but as a bit of good news the Ministry of Economy of
Lithuania allocated additional €2 million in funding for the Practica Seed Capital fund, raising its
total value to €8 million. Practica Capital manages a €16 million venture fund as well.
The Norwegian startup Ardoq, which provides software to help map workplaces IT, secured a
$1.2 million seed investment from two experienced Norwegian angels - Geir Førre with Energy
Micro and Gunnar Evensen with Get. Ardoq has raised a total of $1.7 million now.
As a special treat we've included a short list of 10 startups from the Nordics and Baltics to follow
this year, handpicked by Arctic Startup.
- Solu (Finland)
- Mure VR (Iceland)
- Guaana (Estonia)
- EasySize (Denmark)
- Soundtrap (Sweden)
- AirDog (Latvia)
- Unacast (Norway)
- NanoAvionics (Lithuania)
- Velmenni (Estonia)
- Valossa (Finland)