These 20 Swedish Tech Startups Are Ready For The Big Time in 2017
Stockholm is known for its startup-friendly culture. Sweden’s capital served as the launch pad for two of the world’s biggest consumer tech companies, Skype and Spotify.
“One of the explanations for Stockholm’s success,” according to the Swedish Wire, “include that it has developed a human, social, educational and corporate infrastructure that supports startups.”
And its very success breeds more, with established entrepreneurs supporting and investing in new businesses all across Sweden.
The 20 Swedish startups below are growing, some throughout Sweden and others internationally, and their continued progress will be interesting to watch in 2017.
It’s Time to take Note of these Swedish Startups
Possibly the greenest moving company in the world, MoveByBike will haul up to 300 kilos of your home and office stuff in a covered trailer by bicycle. Currently, the company offers urban transport in several Swedish cities including Malmö, Lund, Stockholm and Örebro. MoveByBike also has a cycle bus (in Malmö and Lund only) which can hold up to 12 pre-school children.
Sellpy co-founder Michael Arnö came up with the idea for the business when he was moving, and wondering how to sell all of his stuff. He wanted to make it as easy to sell things as it is to buy them in the first place, and with Sellpy it is. You buy a bag from Sellpy that can hold as much as 70 litres of stuff; they’ll come to your house to pick it up and then sell it on Tradera, a Swedish ecommerce site. You get 40 percent of the listed sale price.
“We try to sell anything that we believe is worth more than 50 SEK (5 EUR),” Arnör tells Nordic Startup Bits. “Whatever we choose not to sell or can’t sell we give to charity if the condition is good enough. The fact that we also give to charity is a big selling point in itself for many of our users.”
Kameo is a digital marketplace that uses the crowdfunding model to secure loans from individuals and corporations. A Stockholm-based startup with another office in Oslo, this fintech company provides alternative funding to small businesses and property developers.
Kameo’s co-founder and CEO, Sebastian Martens Harung, says that by including more people (and fewer banks or other intermediaries) in the process of financing, the financial markets are improved.
A digital health company, Aifloo uses artificial intelligence and remote monitoring to learn an elderly or disabled person’s everyday habits, then can send an alert to a loved one if the AI believes something has gone wrong. That way, someone will know immediately if a loved one has had a medical emergency or a slip and fall, for example.
The nonintrusive system helps people live safely and independently in their own homes. Using a SmartCare self-learning program, Aifloo compiles information about a person’s behavior through a smart wristband and sensors placed around the house. It then can alert someone via smartphone apps if a problem is detected.
This Swedish IT security firm provides continuous web security to its clients, testing more than 500 vulnerabilities and entry points, and providing analysis from a hacker’s perspective. Developers use this information to make safer code and help companies integrate security, using it preventively rather than simply reacting to security breaches.
Their findings have been impressive: Detectify broke the news in 2015 that certain Chrome extensions were tracking users’ data, and big news sites such as Observer, Metro and BBC picked up the story. Some of the companies that use Detectify include the French news site Le Monde; Pipedrive, a sales management company; and the games company King.
Dooer is a fintech startup, founded last year by entrepreneur Sam Nurmi, who also founded the website monitoring site Pingdom and Sweden’s largest hosting company, Loopia. Using artificial intelligence, Dooer simplifies and streamlines accounting processes for businesses. Via a smartphone or Dooer’s online service, business owners can track accounts, income and expenses in real time, accept and make payments, and have monthly financial statements prepared.
A curated global podcast platform, Acast launched in Sweden in 2014 and serves some 50 million streams monthly. Winner of TECH5 Sweden, Acast CEO Måns Ulvestam explains to The Next Web that his company “started out to revolutionise podcasting.”
He said this was because listeners traditionally had a hard time finding and sharing good content, and creators weren’t being paid fairly. Advertisers were needed, but the “amateur landscape” made it impossible for the podcasts to be monetised. Ulvestam says Acast fixed those problems.
Carl Waldekranz, co-founder and CEO of the ecommerce platform Tictail, was named in the 2016 issue of Forbes’ 30 Under 30. The social shopping marketplace provides a boost for independent and emerging brands by making it easy for them to create custom digital storefronts.
Founded in 2012 with one brand, Tictail now has more than 125,000 brands on the platform from around the world. Waldekranz tells My Domaine that Tictail focuses less on one-of-a-kind handmade products as seen on Etsy, for example, and more on self-made entrepreneurs with “the drive to build global online businesses.”
Using an on-demand, direct salesforce called Brand Ambassadors, Universal Avenue helps businesses expand into new markets worldwide. Universal Avenue connects these companies with its team of outsourced salespeople, who introduce the brands at hospitality venues and to experience providers. Brands that use Universal Avenue’s sales-as-a-service include Spotify and payments company Bambora.
Founded in 2014, the company is headquartered in Stockholm, and has offices in Barcelona, Athens and London, with some 70 employees.
With Glue, you can use your smartphone as a secure key to open your door, from anywhere you happen to be. The app takes the place of physical keys, and you can give (or revoke) access privileges instantly. You’re also notified of when the door is locked or unlocked, and the smart lock can be retrofitted to mount on just about any door.
Co-founders Diego Olivia and Carl Johan Grandinson announced on Glue’s blog recently that the company is partnering with the Swedish telecom company Telia to offer its customers seamless in-home access to Glue.
This audiobook and ebook company, with thousands of titles available in Swedish and English, was founded in 2005 by Jonas Tellander. The world’s first streaming subscription service for audiobooks, Storytel’s rapid growth means “it has a de facto monopoly on the Swedish market, with its competitors lagging far behind,” Lasse Winkler at The Bookseller writes.
The company’s most recent funding round brought in 12 million USD from share sales to five major institutional investors, reports Jonas de Lange at Swedish Startup Space. More than half of that amount may be used for future acquisitions.
Named one of Wired’s 100 Hottest European Startups 2016, Teamtailor is a recruitment company that is expanding its operations beyond Sweden and Finland to include the UK, France, Germany, Norway and Denmark. The employer branding platform works with business of any size and leverages the power of social media to attract quality candidates.
A digital health company, Stockholm-based Lifesum has built a mobile app that uses tech and applied psychology to help people form healthy lifestyle habits. Co-founder Henrik Torstensson tells The Young Businessmen that Lifesum doesn’t try to guilt users, “but rather place the focus on overall health benefits and the nutritional value of the foods they choose.”
As for the future of the tech startup? “There is a massive shift going on within healthcare, moving from reactive to proactive care,” Torstensson says. “We are seeing consumer health technologies empowering people to take control over their lives, Lifesum being one of them.”
Fishbrain is a social network solely focused on sport fishing. Users provide fishing information (i.e. what’s biting where), which become real-time recommendations for best fishing locations. The Fishbrain app is available on iOS and Android.
Serial entrepreneur and Fishbrain co-founder Johan Attby, who was named 2015 Founder of the Year in Sweden by the Nordic Startup Awards, tells Scandinavian Traveler that his company’s top market is the US. He’s actively working to establish Fishbrain there, and to that end has formed partnerships with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.
“Our users,” Attby explains, “can help track endangered species and give that information to the Wildlife Service, which, in turn, passes that information onto their field biologists.”
This cloud-based customer service software makes it easy for customers to contact a business with feedback or requests for support. The business owner adds a line of generated code to his or her website, which is free for a single user license.
Nominated as one of the 11 hottest Swedish startups in Skåne, Deskoptio was co-founded by Fredrik Blom in 2014. Some of the companies that employ Deskoptio include Ekomedmera, an online health food marketplace; Epic Travel Gear; and Ugle Unger, a children’s clothing store.
A wireless smart button, Flic lets you control your smartphone apps and other devices at the push of, well, a button. Featured on CNET, Engadget and Wired, the reviews are calling Flic a powerful, yet easy to use gadget. Developed by Shortcut Labs in Sweden, the Flic team writes that more than 150,000 Flics have been sold internationally.
Flic just introduced the FlicSingle — single purpose buttons. FlicFind, for instance, will find your phone; FlicLights controls your smart lights; FlicSelfie lets you take selfies from up to 50 meters away.
Human behavior is unique to each person. And just like signatures and fingerprints, these unique behaviors can create security keys for individual users of a specific system.
BehavioSec learns how a user behaves and then creates a security profile, which is nearly impossible to spoof. It’s continuous authentication provides security for the financial and banking industries without the usual risk because even if behavioral data is accessed it still isn’t useful. BehavioSec clients use it to stop fraud, prevent attacks and as customer verification.
The company placed twice at the 2016 European FinTech Awards. BehavioSec won in two categories:”Best European FinTech Company and Best Risk, Intelligence & Security.
Tessin is Scandinavia’s first crowdfunding investment service. It enables direct investing in property development projects, without fees or intermediaries and with a low minimum, offering returns that average yields of between 9–13 percent. Some of the investment projects include a hotel, two wind turbines, affordable housing, playgrounds and boutique apartments.
Launched in 2014, Tessin was co-founded by financial advisor and investment manager Jonas Björkman, who serves as CEO; Niels Bosma, a growth hacker and product developer who serves as head of growth; and lawyer Erik Nordin, head of projects.
Mentimeter is a cloud-based collaborative tool for meetings and presentations that helps audiences and speakers engage. The presenter can ask questions and get answers from attendees in real-time, who input their answers on their phones.
CEO Johnny Warström says that everybody wants to be heard, and with interactive presentation software, they’re given that opportunity to voice their opinions. An engaged audience, whether in an educational or work-related setting, is more interested and efficient.
Create your own poster of the place you love most with Mapiful. The web-based service provides the technology to let you choose from any place in the world and design your own unique map poster. The shipping is worldwide and free.
Co-founder Johan Thorsson says Mapiful began with a cup of coffee and four friends talking about the possibilities of combining technology, design and maps. Since starting in late 2014, going global within weeks of releasing its preview, Mapiful has been featured in design magazines, Swedish blogs, and several news outlets.