2014 Nordic Funding Analysis

Over the course of 2014, 181 investments were received by Nordic startups, totalling $846.44M.

The data I collected to track the investments is gathered and cross-checked via a number of sources including Mattermark, Crunchbase, Angel List, International Media, Press Releases and my own network, sources and data intelligence collection.

I then crunched the numbers so we can get a greater insight into what the funding and investment landscape currently looks like in the Nordics, looking at the individual Countries as well as the region as a whole.

Percentage of Funding raised per Country

2014 was the year that the ‘big two’ became a ‘big three’ with Denmark (mainly thanks to Tradeshift and Trustpilot) challenging the notion that Sweden and Finland are the two powerhouses in the region. Denmark still have a way to go in terms of achieving the successes that Sweden and Finland have already had, but if they can start challenging the original ‘big two’ in terms of investments raised for their startups, then there is no reason why Denmark’s pivotal moment won’t be far off, in fact it could be argued that it did already occur in 2014, with Zendesk’s IPO.

But, however impressive Denmark’s fundraising performance was, 2014 was really Sweden’s year, with over half of the money invested in the region being invested there.

The Top 10 Investments in 2014

Klarna’s huge Private Equity round which they subsequently used to acquire Germany’s SOFORT, was the biggest Nordic investment of the year. Tradeshift’s influence on Denmark’s overall total is clear for all to see, while Truecaller came third having raised a Series B and C in 2014, and were one of 7 Swedish startups in the top 10.

Top 5 Danish Investments

Top 5 Finnish Investments

Top 5 Swedish Investments

The Stage of Investment

There were 94 seed investments, 41 Series A’s, 8 Series B’s, 4 Series C’s and a solitary Series D.

*Other includes Angel Investments, Debt Financing and Private Equity. 

Stage of Investment (Denmark)

Stage of Investment (Finland)

Stage of Investment (Sweden)

Top 5 Seed Investments

Playraven are a Finnish gaming startup focusing on Strategy games for touch screens. Playraven raised $4.1M in what was described as an ‘extended seed round’.

Rushfiles are a Danish cloud storage solution who raised $3.5M in order to focus on expanding their International sales efforts.

Adquota are a Denmark based mobile advertising platform providing mobile publishers the tools to monetize their publications. The $3.2M raised will be used to expand further internationally, as well as to aid acquisitions.

Small Giant Games, the Finnish gaming startup, are yet to release a title (Oddwings Escape will be released this year) but that didn’t stop them from raising $3.1M, with hiring to expand the team high up on the ‘shopping list’.

Volumental is a Swedish cloud-based platform that lets you create an accurate 3D model of yourself so you can customise products and services. Volumental plan to use the investment to keep growing the team and launch their first products on the journey towards their vision of individualised manufacturing.

Top 5 Series A Investments

Fyndiq raised an impressive Series A of $20M despite currently only being present in the Swedish market. The money will be used to eventually expand into global markets to achieve their goal of being the ‘Amazon for bargain products’.

KnCMiner are a Swedish startup who produce miners for cryptocurrencies (predominantly Bitcoin). The money will be used to expand operations as well as increase the amount of services they offer.

Jolla, commonly referred to as ‘the next Nokia’ are a Finnish startup producing mobile devices. As well as raising their Series A, they also raised $1.8M on Indiegogo with the World’s first crowd sourced tablet.

Novelda, are a Norwegian developer and manufacturer of adaptive smart sensors. Their $12M Series A will help them to secure delivery and further development of its XeThru sensor technology.

Hansoft, despite having earned revenue from day one and being self-funded up until this year, they finally raised money with a $10M Series A to help the Swedish startup and their agile development tool to expand their sales operations in their San Francisco office.

Top 5 Series B Investments

Truecaller from Sweden helps make your phone smarter by allowing you to connect to who you want, when you want. It has been revolutionary in shielding calls from unwanted numbers. This Series B was followed up later in the year with a $60M Series C.

Autobutler is a Danish online marketplace for car repairs. Autobutler plans to use the money to expand across Europe, with initial focus on Germany and the UK – car repair markets worth £1.1bn and €2.5bn respectively.

BehavioSec is a Swedish startup specialising in verification technology that provides identitification solutions. The investment will be used to accelerate BehavioSec’s growth worldwide, expand its permanent presence in the UK & US, and further invest in its products.

Senseg is a Finland based developer of haptic technology for smartphones. Senseg intends to use the funds to add Android application developers to help bring its initial product to market.

Adform are a Danish brand-led media platform that support all aspects of multi-screen brand advertising. The money will be used to increase it’s U.S sales efforts and to expand its efforts in outdoor advertising.

Average Round Sizes

The size of the average seed round was $1.16M, with the average Series A and B rounds (perhaps a little worryingly) were $5.64M and $6.61M respectively. The low average at Series B certainly didn’t carry over into C rounds (at least not yet) as the average C round levelled off at $55M.

Investments per Vertical

Unsurprisingly, the three verticals that the Nordics are seen as being traditionally strong in received the most number of investments, although perhaps more interesting was the fact that Fintech startups threatened to break up the traditional players. Perhaps 2015 will be a breakthrough year for Fintech in the Nordics, and we may see them threaten London as ‘Europe’s Fintech Capital’.

In summary, 2014 was a strong year for the Nordics in terms of fundraising, with 4 of the investments amongst the top 20 biggest investments in European startups in 2014. The follow on money is fairly healthy from Seed to Series A, however the infamous ‘Series B crunch’ still appears to be affecting the region, with even those who do manage to raise a B round, raising relatively low amounts. However, the future looks bright, and The Nordics continue to establish themselves as one of the World’s strongest ecosystems, as well as being a great place to invest, and in 2015 we should see $1B+ invested in Nordic startups.

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Neil S W Murray founded The Nordic Web in 2014 in order to provide the Nordics with the quality coverage it deserves. As well as being Founding Editor of The Nordic Web, Neil is also an active community builder in the region, participating in a number of initiatives, and has previously worked for Tech.eu.