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News from the Swedish startup and tech sector

Welcome to Swedish Tech Weekly issue #3, bringing you a brief overview of the news from Sweden's tech and startup industry.

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Exits and funding rounds
  • Stockholm-based independent game publisher Stillfront has acquired the Hamburg-based game developer Playa Games for up to €45M (depending on the future revenue of Playa).
  • Stockholm-based SaaS startup Upsales announced that it has completed a pre-IPO placement of 47 million SEK (around 4.2M).
  • The Gothenburg-based edtech startup Strawbees which aims to teach children to code, has raised SEK20M (about €1.9M) from Zenith Group (article in Swedish, machine translation).
  • The Gothenburg-based self-driving truck startup Einride has raised SEK16M (about €1.5M) in convertible debt from an unusual investor: The Swedish National Union of Teachers (article in Swedish, machine translation).
  • Altered, a Stockholm-based startup developing and selling high-end water saving solutions, raised SEK16M (about €1.5M) from among others Almi Invest and Fros Ventures (article in Swedish).
  • Stockholm-based startup Regily, which develops registration flows for online services, has raised money from former Swedish finance minister Anders Borg and a couple of other well-known business angels (article in Swedish).
  • Last but not least, Swedish VC firm EQT Ventures has participated in a €20M funding round in Dutch e-scooter startup dott (there can really not be enough e-scooter companies, it seems). EQT also announced an investment in German robotics startup Wandelbots.
News from startups and the tech scene
  • Stockholm-based startup Hello Shim has released an app called Enjo which promises to offer parents instant emotional support. The company is primarily targeting the U.S. market.
  • The Stockholm-based payment provider Klarna has recently introduced a debit card for Swedish customers (a new neobank in the making?), and its now one of the few cards in the country that support Apple Pay.
  • Stockholm-based crowdfunding platform FundedByMe launches operations in the Netherlands.
  • Stockholm-based bargain marketplace Fyndiq is shutting down its Wish clone which it launched last year (article in Swedish, machine translation).
  • Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnona has released a list of 10 Swedish AI companies.
  • Amazon Web Services opened its new data centres just outside of Stockholm.
  • Possibly, Microsoft is looking into building a data center as well: The company just bought 130 hectares of land in Gävle and Sandviken, central Sweden. In other Microsoft news, former Telia CEO Hélène Barnekow takes over as new CEO of Microsoft Sweden (article in Swedish, machine translation).
  • Swedish music streaming company Spotify moved out of its previous San Francisco office before the end of the lease and relocated to the Financial District, since the employees didn't feel safe in the area around Market Street and the troubled Tenderloin district.
  • Apropos Spotify: With its nontraditional direct listing IPO, the company might indeed have been a trendsetter: According to Recode, Airbnb and Slack consider a similar approach.
Other news and interesting things to read
  • From a new representative survey about Swedes' payment behavior: Almost 9 out of 10 (!) use the p2p money app Swish (which is jointly owned and operated by a bunch of Nordic banks). 78 % use Klarna. 3 out of 4 Swedes either consider Sweden already cash-free, or expect this state to be reached soon (article in Swedish, machine translation).
  • The Top Level Domain (TLD) .nu is quite popular among owners of Swedish websites ("nu" means "now" in Swedish). The country of Niue, located in the South Pacific Ocean, is suing the Swedish Internet Foundation for having taken over Niue's .nu country code TLD without consent.
  • Video-based healthcare, mainly represented by the 3 startups Kry, and Min doktor, is booming in Sweden. The number of virtual appointments is expected to be growing to 550,000 this year (from 200,000 last year). Critics worry about overconsumption of healthcare, waste of tax money and patient safety (article in Swedish).
  • The entrepreneur Farzad Ban had to endure two deportations from Sweden since he was 14. Despite running a growing company in Stockholm, he currently has no country in which he can stay in for more than 90 days. Here is his story.
  • Migration and how Sweden handles its challenges has become somewhat of an Achilles heel lately. Exhibit B: A nuanced Bloomberg piece about Sweden's failure with integration. One major structural issue mentioned in the article also is subject to frequent criticism by the tech industry (but for different reasons): Sweden's real estate market, which naturally produces segregation.

Thanks for reading and happy holidays!

P.S. check out my other newsletter, filled with interesting, insightful and thought-provoking things to read about the digital world:

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