Highlighting April’s Most Significant Investment, Exit and Story

The Investment

Orbital Systems has raised a further $15 million

Labelled “The Tesla of Showers”, Orbital Systems raised a further $15 million, taking the total amount the’ve raised upwards of $25 million. Once again, Niklas Zennstrom heavily participated in the round and has now taken a seat on the board.

Orbital Systems is one of a number of Nordic startups in the energy space that are sensing real opportunity. The Nordics are a natural hotbed of sustainability talent and as interest increases in this space, we can expect the Nordics to be one of the pivotal hubs.

The biggest realisation that investors seem to be having in regards to the space, is that it is possible to build a strong, profitable businesses while simultaneously making a positive social impact, they are not mutually exclusive. It’s fair to say that Zennstrom is one of the investors who appears to have sussed this out already, in fact, he is on record as saying that he expects sustainability startups to be the next $10-100 billion companies. Time will tell if Orbital Systems is to be one of those.

The Exit

Flattr acquired by AdBlock Plus parent eyeo for undisclosed sum

Flattr, an extension for online micropayments, has been acquired by eyeo, the parent company of AdBlock Plus for an undisclosed amount. We are highlighting this for a number of reasons.

Firstly, one of Flattr’s co-founders is Peter Sunde (one of the co-founders of The Pirate Bay), with Flattr sold it will be interesting to see what he turns his attentions to next. In fact, he has already announced a project allowing you to register domain names anonymously. 

Secondly, this is a good example of how strategic partnerships and investments can lead to full acquisitions. Last year, eyeo made a strategic investment into Flattr, something that naturally led them to work very closely together: “Over the past 10 months, we collaborated closely and in fact, became one team with a joint vision. So it was just natural to remove the remaining structural barriers and make it official.” Sunde remarked. This is a natural result and a route to exit that we are increasingly seeing for Nordic startups.

Thirdly, Flattr is a story of not giving up, persistence, pivots and time. By continuing to reshape and refocus and keep at it, the time eventually came when the market was right for their product, and was ultimately deemed necessary for eyeo, a company at the forefront of one of the internet’s biggest debates right now.

The Story

Spotify is planning a direct listing of its shares — not an IPO

It feels like every year we say “this will be the year” when it comes to Spotify going public. However, the $1 billion funding round in 2016 with financial penalties the longer they don’t go public, there’s certainly a real time pressure on Spotify listing sooner rather than later.

Yet, April saw an unexpected development in this ongoing tale. They are indeed planning to go public in September, however, not through a traditional IPO but rather a direct listing. This means that they wouldn’t use the public listing to raise more capital but would simply register its shares on a public listing.

This actually makes sense for Spotify, they don’t necessarily need more capital, but they do need a liquidity event. It raises some important questions regarding how to ensure a market for the stock, lock-up periods for existing investors etc etc, however, Spotify have faced trickier obstacles before and as a company who has constantly gone against the grain, it wouldn’t be a surprise to me to see them do it once more, even if it is arguably the most important event in their company’s history.

While 2017 may well be the year that Spotify finally goes public, it may still not bring us that IPO.

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.