2015 saw FinTech startups in the Nordics attract more investments than any other vertical for the first time. This was quite the achievement considering the existing interest and infrastructure that exists around Enterprise SaaS, Gaming and Health and Wellness in the region.
However, this is not a development that has happened overnight, nor is it one that has yet peaked. Investment in the sector continues to increase, and between January 1st 2014 and up to last week, there has been 51 FinTech investments in the Nordics totalling $390.17 million.
As for where the FinTech investments are occurring, despite Money2020 currently taking place in Copenhagen, there’s clearly only one place that can claim to be the Nordic’s FinTech hub.
With 32 of the 51 FinTech investments in the last two years, nearly 2 in every 3 FinTech investments in the Nordics is made in Sweden. FinTech fever has reached all corners of the Nordics, with all five countries seeing at least a couple of investments in the field in the last two years. Finland and Denmark follow Sweden with 8 and 5 investments respectively.
As for the Nordic FinTech companies that are leading the charge, we can do worse than look at the companies that have been involved in the ten largest FinTech funding rounds in the last couple of years.
These 10 investments actually account for 92% of the total amount received by Nordic FinTech startups in the last couple of years, demonstrating that despite the increasing amount of interest and investment in the area, it is still a small number of companies that are at a mature, later-stage, most notably, Klarna and iZettle, the two jewels in the Nordic FinTech crown.
It is also worth pointing out that despite only 4 Norwegian FinTech investments in the last couple of years, 2 of these actually made the 10 largest (mCash and Zwipe).
Despite the top 10 making up such a large proportion of the total amount, if we look at the size of the investments, they are fairly evenly split across a number of sizes, demonstrating a strong pipeline for more Nordic FinTech companies to be able to attract the kind of money that Klarna and iZettle have only been able to get so far, in the future.
The majority of Nordic FinTech investments are being made at the $1-3 million size range, indicating that a high number of healthy-sized seed rounds are being raised, and showing that despite the increasing amount of investment, the ecosystem is still at a fairly early-stage and Sweden’s/the Nordics potential to be a FinTech hub is still in its infancy.
As for the VC’s making these investments, it is no surprise to see Northzone as the most active, as the most active investor in the region it makes sense that they would be heavily contributing to the region’s most backed vertical.
Finally, the rise in the popularity of FinTech in the region as an investable sector is probably best demonstrated by the fact that the first three months of this year has already seen more FinTech investments than the whole of 2014.
If 2015 was FinTech’s breakthrough year, then 2016 looks set to be the year it truly dominates. With 15 investments in Q1 of 2016 already, we are currently projecting 60 FinTech investments in the Nordics in 2016, a number which would see it comfortably leave all other verticals behind and establish FinTech as the Nordic’s dominant area of expertise, and position Sweden and Stockholm as a place that would be talked about just as much as London and Berlin when it comes to discussing Europe’s FinTech hubs.
(And to get an idea of where the Nordics currently fit into the wider European picture, check out Tech.eu’s FinTech report which I co-authored)
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