Due to a flurry of Asian investments into the Nordics in H2 2015, we produced our first analysis looking at investment from the East at the beginning of last year. We noted that investment from Asia was dramatically rising, in fact, the number of investments increased quarter by quarter.
There was a certainly an increased focus in the Nordics to tap into the Asian market in 2016, but did the investments continue to follow?
It’s immediately clear that the quarterly growth was lost instantly as Q1 2016 brought us just one investment. Interestingly, the rest of the year followed a similar trajectory to 2015, yet couldn’t quite reach the same heights, meaning that technically Asian investments in the region actually decreased last year, even if it was just a difference of three investments.
However, despite this, there were Asian investors involved in two of the biggest funding rounds in the Nordics in 2016 as CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund participated in Tradeshift’s $75 million round and China Investment Corporation were present in Unity’s $181 million Series C, meaning that the total capital invested increased.
These investments in Denmark contributed to a two-year period where they, Finland and Sweden all appear equally adept at attracting interest and investment from the far East.
In terms of where the investors themselves are located, unsurprisingly, China is the main home of investment activity. Thanks to a strong 2015, Singaporean investors are also seemingly keen on looking North, with Korea, Hong Kong and Japan also worth mentioning.
In conclusion, while I expected more Asian investors to back Nordic startups in 2016, I still believe this will happen in 2017 and beyond, as ties between the two regions continue to be worked on and improved. And while the number of investments may have decreased, it is notable that Asian investors participated in two of the biggest rounds of the year, making a strong case for Nordic startups to look East as well as West when looking for later-stage capital.