US VC investment in the Nordics: Deals decreased, total value increased, interest maintained

Last year we looked at how much VC money from the US was coming into the Nordics in an attempt to benchmark it against other European hubs. We subsequently discovered that US-based investors participated in $209.9M of the $846.44M raised accounting for 24.8% of the money raised in the region in 2014 (for those interested, this was in comparison to 56.8% for London).

As investment increased dramatically in 2015, we wanted to determine whether US-based VC’s had an impact on this, and if American investor interest in the region had grown along with the total.

Before we delve into it, firstly I want to address the catalyst that led to me looking at this again for 2015.

Source: Pitchbook Source: Pitchbook

Pitchbook, an American venture capital database reported that there are fewer and fewer rounds with US investor participation in the Nordics. This may be correct, as we will get on to in a minute, but the percentages mentioned above are simply outrageous. US VC participation has never been anywhere near as high as 65.8%, let alone as low as it!

In fact, we recorded that of the 339 funding rounds in the Nordics in 2015, just 28 involved at least one US based investor, giving a percentage of 8.26% participation, a long way off the supposed low of 65.8%.

28 rounds is still a decrease from 2014, where 31 funding rounds from 181 included a US based investor (17.13%).

Seemingly then, although there were three less rounds in 2015 than 2014 where one was involved, it appears that it is more of an increase in the number of deals that are happening in the Nordics rather than a significant decrease of interest from American investors, although, it is rather curious that despite the increase in deals, we didn’t see increased participation from US based VC’s, which would be a natural assumption to make as the general stereotype has been that Europe still has to rely on the US for additional investment.

This appears to be the case no longer though, as an increase in funds in Europe and the Nordics has meant there is no longer a reliance on US investors to provide capital for our startups, not even particularly at the later stages, as in 2015 only 4 of the top 10 and 7 of the top 20 largest deals in the region had a US based investor participating in the round.

Despite these points though, it’s worth highlighting that the total value of rounds that US based participated in did rise year on year from 2014 to 2015, with 842.05 million of the $1.82 billion raised including a US investor in the round, giving us a percentage of 46.27%, up from 24.8% in 2014. This did include Spotify’s $526 million round though and removing this from the equation would leave us with a percentage of 24.4%, pretty much in line with the previous year.

In conclusion, yes, US investment in the Nordics has slightly decreased, but this has not had any real effect on either the size or number of investment(s) that Nordic startups are able to raise, and although interest and investment has dramatically increased in the Nordics, from across the Atlantic, it has simply been maintained.

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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