Analysis: Raising Series A in the Nordics; 11 Key Findings.

Series A is often regarded as the hardest round to raise, and in recent years much has been written about the Series A crunch.  In order to get a clearer picture of what it’s like to raise a Series A in the Nordics at the moment, using CrunchBase and our own proprietary data collection I analysed the 46 Nordic startups who have raised a Series A since January 1st 2014 and present my eleven key findings.

1. The average Series A in the Nordics is $5.65M, median of $5M same as the U.S.

Series A in the Nordics is extremely wide-ranging, from as low as $2.2M to as high as $14M. But before you get your hopes up of a $10M+ Series A, it’s worth noting that the average Series A came in at $5.65M. This is a pretty healthy amount though, for some context, the average Series A in the U.S was measured by Mattermark to be $7.2M in 2014,  but what’s really encouraging is the fact that the Nordics median of $5M at Series A is actually on par with the U.S in 2014.

2. 46.8% went straight to Series A without raising a seed round.

Nearly half of the startups who have raised a Series A in the last 18 months did so without raising a seed round first. This demonstrates that there are clearly investors out there who are happy to back Nordic startups with a sizeable amount of capital at an early stage, great news for those who see more advantage in attempting to go straight for Series A funding.

3. The average time between Seed and Series A is 15.2 months

For those that did raise a seed round before their Series A, the average time between them levelled out at 15.2 months (Median: 15 months). The range was from as short as 3 months to as long as two years. If you haven’t raised your Series A two years after your seed, then unfortunately it looks like you never will.

4. The average time from being founded to raising a Series A is 3.46 years.

Some raised a Series A just a year after starting, while some had to wait nine years (!) from being founded until they raised their A round. Overall though, the average time between founding a company and raising a Series A is just short of three and a half years.

5. Being an experienced founder makes no difference to the size or how quickly a Series A will be raised.

11 of the 46 who raised a Series A had one or more founders that had previously started a company. Perhaps surprisingly, this had no real impact on either the amount raised (an average of $5.42M vs $5.65M) or the amount of time between seed and Series A (an average of 15.8 months compared to 15.2 months) The only real noticeable difference between experienced founders and the general average, was that 54.5% didn’t raise a seed first compared to 46.8%, perhaps demonstrating that it is slightly easier for experienced founders to go out and raise a Series A rather than a seed round.

6. Having an International Investor at Seed makes no difference to the size or how quickly a Series A will be raised.

There does not appear to be a clear advantage in terms of Series A of having an International Investor (defined as based outside of the Nordics) participate in your seed round, as there was no correlation between a higher or quicker Series A being raised than those with only domestic investors backing them at seed.

7. 78.57% of the Series A’s that were above the average amount featured an International Investor in the round.

However, if you are looking to raise a Series A at the bigger end of the scale then it’s likely that you will need an International Investor participating. As nearly four in five of the Series A’s that were higher than the average round of $5.65M, possessed an International Investor in what was the only clear correlation between the Series A’s at the higher end of the scale.

8. Of the Nordics most funded verticals at Series A, ‘Health’ had the highest average at $7.13M, surprisingly, SaaS Series A were considerably below average at $4.34M.

Health came out on top as the vertical that had the highest average Series A of the verticals that attracted the most Series A (3 or more since Jan 1st 2014) at $7.13M. Surprisingly, SaaS Series A averaged out at $4.34M, which is well below the general average. Due to their business models, SaaS companies typically need to raise big money to survive, so it will be interesting to watch how these companies that have raised such low A rounds do over the next couple of years.

9. Denmark have the lowest average amount at Series A, and the lowest average of International Investors. 

Although Denmark have started competing more closely with Sweden and Finland in terms of attracting Venture Capital in the last 18 months, when it comes to Series A they are still lagging behind it seems. Their average Series A was down at $4.41M, while the average time between seed and Series A was 17.75 months. Also notable was the fact that only 37.5% of the Danish Series A’s featured an International Investor, compared to Finland’s 58.8% and Sweden’s 52.9%.

10. Finland raise more Seed rounds before Series A than the others, but have the shortest average time between the rounds at 12.6 months.

Setting out to raise a seed round first appears to still be the favoured practice in Finland as only 35.3% of their Series A’s hadn’t raised a seed round. However, we may have found the reason for this, as whats interesting is the time gap between seed and A is considerably shorter in Finland than Sweden, Denmark and the general average, standing at only 12.6 months.

11. Sweden have the highest average amount at Series A, but take the longest to go from seed to Series A.

Sweden are able to attract higher Series A than the generalised Nordics are, coming in at an average of a $6.02M. Interestingly, for those that raise a seed in Sweden and go on to raise a Series A, the average time between the two rounds is 18.38 months, significantly longer than the Nordic average of 15.2 months.

These were the things that I found most interesting when I crunched the Nordic Series A data. If there is something else you would like me to take a look at then feel free to mention it in the comments below.

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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