The Q2 2017 Nordic Funding Analysis

With a strong May and June, Q2 finished on a high, but how does it stack up to previous quarters? And what does Q2 mean for the rest of the year? Welcome to our Q2 Nordic funding analysis where we will answer these questions and more.

A few quick notes on methodology before we begin:

* We only record private minority (equity and loan) investments into Nordic tech companies

** Ultimately we decide to leave out Unity from this analysis due to them being headquartered in the United States for quite some time now, for anyone who disagrees, just add ‘1’ to the number of investments and $400 million to the totals. 

*** We did not include Snow Software’s $120 million round as they are majority-owned by buyout fund Vitruvian (Thanks to Bjorn Bergstrom for alerting us to this)

Now, on to the good news, Q2 2017 saw the second highest number of investments we’ve ever recorded in a quarter in the Nordics, only coming in behind Q4 of last year. Even though there was only a 9.1% increase from Q1, this meant that investments were pushing the 200 mark again, eventually finishing on 197. We have talked a lot about the number of investments flatlining recently, and while the peak wasn’t surpassed, this is still a strong move towards growth once more, especially when you consider that this in fact a 23.9% year on year growth when compared directly to Q2 2016.

There was one record set this quarter though. If we remove Spotify’s $526 million and $1 billion investments from the equation, this was actually the most capital that’s been invested in the region within one quarter, comfortably passing the $500 million mark at $561.7 million.

This puts 2017 on course to surpass $2 billion raised this year even without a possibility of a Spotify monster round, a significant step forward for an ecosystem that had never surpassed $1 billion in a calendar year until 2015. And all this without any funding rounds above $100 million, demonstrating that this is predominantly due to a higher number of larger rounds rather than one or two monster rounds, a much healthier way of achieving high amounts of capital invested.

All Nordic countries except Denmark had a stronger Q2 than Q1 for investment, with Finland seeing the highest growth with a 53.8% increase from Q1. We’ll delve deeper into the individual country’s performances in specific analyses next week.

In order to get a sense of where the increases are happening, it serves us well to look at the number of investments per round size compared to Q2 2016. This actually makes it pretty clear to see how the investment scene in the Nordics is evolving as all investments under $1 million are pretty much level with last year with impressive growth occurring in three brackets: $1-3 million, $10-20 million and $20-50 million. There is also (less dramatic) growth in the $5-10 million range. This also helps us understand how this was a record quarter for capital invested.

The large number of companies who received early-stage funding in the last 18 months or so are now moving through the pipeline with a large number of them clearly able to find further financing.

This comparison also surprisingly shows that early-stage funding hasn’t really increased in the last 12 months, with an almost identical number of companies being funded in the below $1 million range.

FinTech had to make do with being joint first this quarter, with Health and Wellness having a particularly strong Q2. The only movement in the usual top 5 was Entertainment and Media knocking out Retail. A strong June meant Energy and VR and AR featured, while Travel and Transport was the surprising addition to the usual suspects who all managed to record a double figure number of investments.

Although an increase on Q1’s 16.2%, Q2’s 19.3% is still significantly lower than in previous years, considering the increase we’ve seen in later rounds, this shows just how strong the local investment ecosystem is today.

 

In conclusion, Q2 was a strong quarter and one that demonstrates that the Nordics is robust enough to recover from slower quarters and has enough companies strong enough to move through the funding pipeline, attracting a significant amount of investments and capital to remain one of Europe’s strongest hubs for attracting venture capital.

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.