There are a number of nascent verticals that are increasingly attracting investors interest and capital, including Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Blockchain, eSports and Virtual Reality. All of these have begun to attract capital in the Nordics, with Sweden leading the way for the number of investments in all of these sectors. However, if we look at the talent that exists in each of these across the region, and bear in mind Sweden’s size, it paints a more diverse picture than the investment numbers currently do.
We used LinkedIn to search for people in each country with one of these keywords listed as a ‘skill’ on their profile. Clearly, this is not a definitive datapoint for looking at the amount of talent in each sector, but it does help give us an indication of where there appears to be a particular crowding of skills in these verticals.
As a general rule of thumb when interpreting these results, bear in mind that Sweden has twice the population size of Denmark, Norway and Finland, who all have very similar population counts. Iceland, of course, has only approximately 300,000 people.
Denmark appears to be particularly well equipped with Artificial Intelligence talent, adding credence to the fact that the first ever Nordic.AI conference took place in Copenhagen this week. (Read: AI in the Nordics shows lots of promise, but still lacks action), but, in general, all countries are represented pretty well in relative terms. Interestingly, out of all of the five verticals we looked at, this is the one which Iceland recorded the most people working within, even more than Virtual Reality, which seems odd considering the latter was the most invested in vertical in the country in 2016.
Despite the increased investment into eSports, it appears that there are still very few people working within the industry in the Nordics. Although without making too much of a sterotypical judgement, out of all five sectors, I’d imagine that people working in eSports are less concerned about their LinkedIn profiles than the others. The biggest surprise for me here was Finland, as the majority of investments have mainly been made in Denmark and Sweden.
Blockchain fared even worse, as according to LinkedIn, there are only a few people working within the industry in the region. However, if we use it as a guide rather than too literally, it appears that Denmark currently has the most active hub working in this domain. Fun fact: Our subscriber Sean Percival (formerly of 500 Startups, now working and living in Oslo) is apparently one of just 4 people in Norway with Blockchain expertise.
The Nordics are seemingly well-blessed with Robotics talent as all countries recorded strong numbers, supporting the theory that the Nordics is a hotspot for deep tech talent.
Virtual Reality talent appears to be predominately split across three countries, although it’s a little surprising that Sweden doesn’t have more of a lead here, as they are considered to be a particularly blossoming VR hub. The same situation for Iceland, although, I am confident that there are more than 55 people working in VR in the country. This again proves the point of using this data as an indication rather than solid fact.
In conclusion, despite Sweden’s size and their dominance in attracting investment, the talent that exists in some of the most interesting up and coming verticals is seemingly pretty diverse across the whole of the region, in theory meaning that there are plenty of hidden gems to be found throughout the Nordics if you know where to look. It also demonstrates a possibility that other cities outside of Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki etc will be attracting increased amount of capital over the next couple of years if they are successful in building up talent hubs in these verticals.