The 10 Nordic hubs outside of the capital cities attracting the most capital

Yesterday we demonstrated how Sweden was managing to increase its share of investment in the Nordics due to the fact that it has several hubs maturing at one time. However, Sweden is not the only country with promising hubs outside of its capital, there are plenty of thriving ecosystems attracting increasing amounts situated all across the region.

In 2015, we also looked at this, however, previously we included Oslo and Reykjavik, this time we have been stricter on criteria and only looked at those cities in the region that are not capital cities. Last year’s corresponding positions are calculated after removing Oslo and Reykjavik, so you can get the most accurate picture of how capital is increasing (or decreasing) in the various “other” hubs.

 

1) Malmö (Sweden) $101.8 million

Position in 2015: 1st (=)

Difference in capital from 2015: -$10.44 million

Notable investments in 2016: Min Doktor, Mapillary, Neo Technology

Notable investors in 2016: EQT Ventures, Atomico, Creandum, Sunstone 

There’s no doubting that Malmö is the most “happening” ecosystem outside of the capitals, and in truth, even rivals some of the capitals themselves in terms of the talent and capital that is present there. Most of Europe’s biggest VCs are now switched on as to the opportunity that exists in Southern Sweden, demonstrated through the fact that Atomico and EQT Ventures both invested in Malmö in 2016. It’s also worth pointing out that in Neo Technology and Mapillary, they have produced two of the most promising and well-regarded Swedish startups in recent years.

(Note: We recently did some work with Malmö Startups tracking the extent of the amount of capital that has gone into Malmö and the surrounding area in recent years which was covered in 8till5.se today)

 

2) Lund (Sweden) $55.4 million

Position in 2015: 5 (+3)

Difference in capital from 2015:+$31.83 million

Notable investments in 2016: Flatfrog, Sol Voltaics, Acconeer

Notable investors in 2016: Sunstone, Industrifonden

Literally down the road from Malmö, neighbouring Lund had a very strong year for attracting venture capital themselves, mainly driven by some heavy investments in hardware startups, a vertical that Lund appears to excel in. Thanks to being home to a very strong technical university, Lund sees a lot of talent (and now capital) invested into it.

 

3) Tampere (Finland) $52.9 million

Position in 2015: = n/a (New Entrant)

Difference in capital from 2015: +$48.7 million

Notable investments in 2016: Wirepas, M-Files

Notable investors in 2016: Inventure, Partech Ventures, Draper Esprit

A newcomer to the list in 2016, impressively straight into #3 is Tampere. However, in truth, this is largely due to M-Files $37.25 million rather than a big increase in the number of investments collectively. Even still, with Wirepas also attracting strong investment, it’s clear that Tampere is more than capable of producing startups worth paying attention to.

 

4) Gothenburg (Sweden) $43 million

Position in 2015: = 3 (-1)

Difference in capital from 2015: -$41.74 million

Notable investments in 2016: Satcube, Inkassogram, NA-KD.com, Albert

Notable investors in 2016: Almi Invest, NFT Ventures, Schibsted Growth, Spintop Ventures

Situated between Stockholm and Malmö, Gothenburg is an often-overlooked hub as International investors don’t tend to visit it so often. Even still, it consistently attracts strong interest domestically, and with the ecosystem continuing to mature, we predict that it won’t be long until International investment starts increasing too.

 

5) Espoo (Finland) $36.8 million

Position in 2015: = 2 (-3)

Difference in capital from 2015: -$58.69 million

Notable investments in 2016: Fluido, MariaDB, Verto Analytics

Notable investors in 2016: EQT Ventures, Conor Venture Partners, Open Ocean Capital, Salesforce Ventures

Although often considered part of the Helsinki ecosystem, Espoo has a scene in its own right too despite its close proximation to the Finnish capital. At the very least, it’s a strong cluster of companies that demand our attention, with MariaDB and Verto Analytics some of the most promising Finnish startups that have emerged recently.

 

6) Turku (Finland) $24.4 million

Position in 2015: = n/a (New Entrant)

Difference in capital from 2015: +$23.8 million

Notable investments in 2016: Vaadin, Noccela

Notable investors in 2016: eEquity, Verdane Capital

Turku had a strong 2016, with companies like Vaadin and Noccela emerging to raise sizeable rounds and contribute to a rather dramatic rise from $600,000 being raised in 2015 to $20 million+ in 2016. It will be interesting to see if there are more companies ready to put their heads above the surface in 2017 or whether 2016 just happened to be a vintage year for capital in Turku.

7) Oulu (Finland) $17.9 million

Position in 2015: = 4 (-3)

Difference in capital from 2015: -$8.35 million

Notable investments in 2016: KNL Networks, Ouraring,

Notable investors in 2016: Sunstone, Inventure, Jaan Taalinn

Similar to Gothenburg in Sweden, Oulu can often be overlooked due to its location. However, should you decide to brave the cold and travel to the world’s northernmost tech hub, you’d be rewarded by discovering a blossoming tech hub. Recent companies that look particularly promising include KNL and Ouraring, and with the community continuing to come together up there, I’d expect to see more interesting companies come through in the next year or so.

Further reading: Oulu, the world’s northernmost tech hub is making a comeback

 

 

8) Uppsala (Sweden) $16 million

Position in 2015: = 8 (=)

Difference in capital from 2015: -$6.69 million

Notable investments in 2016: Freespee, Unibap, KitchenTime, 46Elks

Notable investors in 2016: Sunstone, Inventure

Situated outside of Stockholm, Uppsala is another Swedish University town benefitting from a large concentration of technical talent, which we see trickle down into starting strong technology companies. With a convenient location and a large talent pool, the future looks bright for Uppsala to grab some of the increasing millions that are being invested into Stockholm and Sweden.

Further reading: Breakit (Based on our research)

9) Aarhus (Denmark) $15.1 million

Position in 2015: = 10 (+1)

Difference in capital from 2015: +$6.76 million

Notable investments in 2016: Lix Technologies, Lunar Way, Reshopper, Sekoia

Notable investors in 2016: Northcap, Seed Capital

Denmark’s 2nd largest city is (perhaps unsurprisingly) also its 2nd biggest tech hub for attracting capital. Although 3 hours or so away from Copenhagen, the increased quality of startups that we’ve seen emerge in the last couple of years indicate an ecosystem on the rise, and the investment appears to be following that trend as well, indicating that it could be worth a visit sooner rather than later.

 

10) Linköping (Sweden) $15 million

Position in 2015: = 9 (-1)

Difference in capital from 2015: +$3.9 million

Notable investments in 2016: Zenterio, Univrses, Onslip, XMReality

Notable investors in 2016: Almi Invest, Vinnova

We noted at the beginning of the year that we are seeing a real increased interest and investment in Linköping so far in 2017, in addition to a strong end of year in 2016. That strong H2 saw them claim 10th place on this list, and the way 2017 is going we could expect to see them even higher up next year.

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.