January's Tech Highlights from the Nordics/Baltics by Fredy-Edwin Esse


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.

 

Sweden

 

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

million.

 

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

 

Finland

 

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

Finnish accelerator.

 

Estonia

 

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!

 

Iceland

 

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

 

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.

 

Denmark

 

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.

 

Lithuania

 

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.

 

Norway

 

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)


 

Comment