The H1 2018 (Q1 and Q2) Nordic Funding Analysis

(I think the phrase “better late than never” is applicable here….)

After not publishing our Q1 funding analysis, we are now combining Q1 and Q2 to produce a bumper H1 2018 funding analysis.

The headline numbers are 387 investments totalling $1.72 billion (183 investments totalling $600.2M in Q1 and 204 investments totalling $1.1B in Q2) but before we delve deeper into what this means; the boring stuff:

 

Methodology and Disclaimers

  • The most important thing to mention, is that at the end of a quarter we spend time updating our database from investments that we either missed at the time or were subsequently uncovered post the original analysis. Therefore, some of the numbers, particularly on the number of investments per quarter differ in this analysis from previous ones you may have read previously.
  • We are largely able to achieve this increased accuracy due to the higher quality of available data sources that exist in the region these days, particular shout-outs deserve to go to Nordic9Nordic Tech List and Northstack.
  • Any differences that occur in our datasets are predominantly due to methodology, therefore it is important to outline ours:
  • We only record publicly disclosed, private minority (equity and loan) investments into Nordic tech companies. We do not include secondary investments, nor do we include accelerator investments (for entry into a programme)

 

The Number of Investments

After a slow January, Q1 kicked on, recording a total of 183 investments. This is a record for a first quarter of a year and in theory, set us up for a strong 2018. To quantify it, this was a 2.2% increase on investments in Q1 2017 and a 17.3% increase from Q1 2016.

And the action certainly didn’t slow down in Q2. In fact with 200 investments breached, 204 is the 2nd highest quarter for the number of investments the Nordics has ever recorded and is the highest quarter for 18 months, which on the surface would suggest that after a period of consolidation in 2017, the number of investments may be set to peak once more in 2018.

As a whole then, H1 was a strong one, with 2.4% more investment than H1 2017 and 23.25% more than H1 2016. If this rate of growth was sustained throughout the remainder of the year then 2018 would see a total of 810 investments, which would be just 17 more than last year.

However, as we often see more investments announced in H2 than H1 (although it is worth pointing out that last year was the exception to the rule) we can expect the 1,000 mark to be threatened more seriously than this.

 

The Amount of Capital Invested

The amount of capital invested per quarter in the Nordics has been rising pretty consistently across the last couple of years and 2018 has not proved to be the exception of the rule. In fact, capital deployment reached a new level of consistency, with 3 quarters now consecutively passing the $600 million mark.

And removing Spotify’s $1 billion and $526 million rounds from the picture (as we have done in the accompanying graph) Q2 2018 was a record quarter for capital deployed into the region, with an incredible $1.1 billion invested, as the Nordic’s continues to produce scale-ups capable of raising larger rounds. An interesting comparison is that H1 2018 already matched the total amount invested in the whole of 2016.

Such is the large quantity of cash invested so far, 2018 is comfortably on course to be a record year for total capital raised, whether we include Spotify in our calculations or not.

 

The Number of Investments per Country

All countries had a consistent Q1 and Q2 bar Sweden, who after an uncharacteristic slow Q1, put the burners back on in Q2 to record over 100 investments announced in April, May and June.

Norway is now strongly competing with Denmark and Finland as the country with the most investments after Sweden, which while on the surface appears surprisingly, won’t be too shocking for those who have been reading our analyses for a while.

 

The Number of Investments per Country H1 2018 vs. H1 2017

These two data-points are best demonstrated by looking at each country’s number of investments in H1 2018 vs. H1 2017.

Sweden are over 30 investments behind where they were at this point in the year in 2017, whereas Norway are essentially 30 ahead. Elsewhere, Denmark, Finland and Iceland all recorded modest increase.

It’s a little bit ironic that after carrying the Nordic investment numbers for the last few years, Sweden’s inability to match their incredible numbers of previous years means that they are the only Nordic country not holding up their end of the bargain for this year’s increase.

 

The Number of Investments per Round Size

Q2’s significant amount of capital invested can be accounted for by the fact that there were 4 rounds above $50 million (there were 0 in Q1). In addition, there were significantly more investments in the $3-5 million brackets, $5-10 million and $10-20 million in Q2 than Q1.

$1-3 million remains the bracket where the most action occurs, however as we have previously predicted, $0.5-1M has also become very active.

47.5% of the investments made in H1 2018 occured at $1 million or above.

 

The Number of Investments per Vertical

Business as usual for the most active verticals, with Enterprise SaaS, FinTech and Health and Wellness rather predictably fighting it out for the top spot in 2018.

The five furthest right on the chart are probably the most interesting, Education, DeepTech, Food and Drink, Manufacturing and Social and Communications making up the top 10 alongside the usual suspects.

 

The % of Funding Rounds with a minimum of 1 International Investor

Nearly 1 in 5 funding rounds in the first half of 2018 had at least one investor from outside of the region participating in it.

This a fairly notable increase from 2017’s 17.4% and as we stated in the 2017 funding analysis, we’d expect this to keep rising due to the increased profile of the region driven by the successful exists of Spotify, iZettle etc.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, H1 2018 was a strong one, more money than ever before is being invested into the region and the number of investments, although only very slightly, have never been higher at this point in a year. And if Sweden can start reaching their investment levels of 2017, which is by no means beyond the realms of possibility then we can expect 2018 to be a year where 1,000 investments in a calendar year could be threatened seriously for the first time.

 

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.