In our final country specific analysis for Q2, we focus on the nation that provides the majority of investment action for the region, not only that but is also one of its most consistent performers. After a minor correction in Q1 (which in fairness was still 2nd only to Q4 2016 in number of investments) Q2 2017 was back with a bang, as the Nordic’s biggest ecosystem recorded 111 investments totalling $319.8 million.
A couple of quick notes on methodology before we begin:
* We only record private minority (equity and loan) investments into Nordic tech companies
** 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)
This strong performance meant that it was the third quarter in a row that the Swedish ecosystem recorded more than 100 investments, not only signalling strength but consistency, something that is of equal importance when ensuring an ecosystem continues to mature and doesn’t just rely on exceptional quarters here and there. This meant that Q2 2017 is the 2nd strongest quarter Sweden has ever recorded. It also means that H1 2017 is 41 investments ahead of H1 2016, a 23.56% growth, outpacing the growth of the region which stands just above 19%. In terms of comparing directly to Sweden’s Q2 2016, there’s also a 19.35% growth here.
Removing Spotify’s funding rounds from the equation, Q2 2017 came with the most capital that Sweden has ever seen invested into it in one quarter, coming in at approximately $5 million more than Q1. Again, ignoring Spotify, this means that H1 2017 has seen over $335 million more invested than H1 2016, a year-on-year growth of 112.57%, setting 2017 up to be a record year for the amount of capital invested.
As to be expected of a more mature ecosystem compared to the other Nordic nations there was plenty of action across the different stages and ranges of investment. Still, the majority of action (naturally) occured below $1 million, with 4 in 10 investments happening there and 1 in 3 investments happening within the $1-3 million range. Just 1 in 10 investments happened above $10 million which perhaps demonstrates that there is room for this to increase, particularly considering the amount of early-stage companies we’ve seen funded in Sweden in recent years.
As it did across the whole region, Health and Wellness gave FinTech a good run for its money in Q2, claiming an equal number of investments over the last three months. While investment into Entertainment and Media rose, investor interest in Swedish Retail and Enterprise SaaS companies cooled slightly compared to Q1.
Health and Wellness and FinTech not only dominated as the most invested in verticals but they also dominated in the top 5 largest rounds seen in Q2 as well, as Min Doktor, Lendify, KRY and BIMA all featured.
Stockholm represented 67.57% of investments in Q2, comfortably surpassing the 54.8% seen in Q1 and even the 63.7% across 2016. This is despite Gothenburg claiming an impressive 17.12% (compared to 8.65%), but perhaps can be explained by Malmo’s underwhelming Q2 where investment action slowed down considerably the last three months with just 6 investments compared to Q1’s 11.
Despite international investors being well aware of the opportunities that exist in Sweden, and participating in many of the funding rounds, due to the sheer number of early-stage rounds, as well as the sheer number of early-stage domestic financing options that exists, the % for international participation still comes in fairly low, however, for an ecosystem as mature as Sweden’s as well as the aforementioned explanations, there is no reason for concern here.
With Sweden representing around 56% of the Nordic’s total investments in Q2, their performance in fundraising has a huge impact on how the region itself performs, not just due to this percentage but also because investors typically look to Sweden’s funding environment as a temperature gauge for the rest of the region too. Therefore, with Sweden still experiencing relative growth in the number of investments and the amount of capital, Q2 indicates that the Nordics as a whole could still end up with a strong and growing 2017, with Sweden dragging it up the hill.