[Made in Suède] 18 Swedish start-ups to follow in 2018
2017 was another record year for the Swedish tech scene with over $ 1.2 billion invested in 442 companies, and 2018 promises to be just as successful.
The announced IPO of its star start-up,Spotify, should naturally be a highlight for the Nordic region in 2018. However, potential IPOs fromiZettle or fromKlarna could have an even greater long-term impact for the region. This should translate into the injection of new local investors more experienced than ever and ready to invest in the new generation of young shoots from the North.
For FrenchWeb,I asked my network on LinkedIn to appoint the representatives of the new wave of start-ups made in Sweden. From health to finance to education, they bring our daily lives up to date. Here is my selection:
In 2017, Natural Cycles became the world’s first certified digital contraceptive app. An algorithmic and non-hormonal method, considered more effective than the pill. Founded in 2013 by a couple of doctors, Raoul Scherwitzl and Elina Berglund, who notably worked within the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Natural Cycles already claims more than 700,000 users in more than 160 countries. Their latest fundraiser of $ 30 million, announced last November, should be used to strengthen their team and prepare for a launch in the United States.
Laurent Alexandre, the author of “The war of intelligencesHas sounded the alarm on several occasions in the French media. Artificial intelligence could lead to a two-tier education system. Solution? Born in Sweden, Sana Labs wants to put artificial intelligence at the service of democratic education by creating personalized learning on a global scale. By integrating their solution into educational platforms, Sana already claims more than 70 million users around the world. Below, the intervention of their founder at Slush last December.
Caption: Sana Labs wants to revolutionize education thanks to artificial intelligence.
While H&M is no longer king in its kingdom and struggles to reassure investors of their ability to sell online, NA-KD, founded in 2015, seems to have found the formula. By providing fashionable and affordable clothing to trendy millennials mainly relayed by influencers on social networks. NA-KD has just raised $ 45 million to pursue global expansion. Will NA-KD be the new Zalando?
The podcast is gradually establishing itself as a real competitor to radio. Founded in Stockholm in 2014, Acast is an all-encompassing podcast platform that aims to connect creators, listeners and advertisers through a mainstream mobile app. In 2017, Acast raised $ 19.5 million to develop its podcasting platform in the United States and enter new markets.
Also in music and also founded in Stockholm, Soundtrack Your Brand’s mission is to eliminate bad background music. Its B2B solution is a licensed music distribution platform for commercial and public spaces. McDonald’s, Starbucks and thousands of small and medium-sized businesses in over 100 countries have already replaced their CDs and radios with their service. Their latest Series C fundraiser of $ 22 million should help them continue their expansion and improve their platform.
KRY is transforming the world of healthcare by making it more accessible and practical. Their app allows you to virtually meet with a doctor or therapist via video calls using your phone or tablet. Now only available in Sweden, Norway and Spain, KRY should use its 20 million euros raised in 2017 to gain a foothold in new markets.
One third of all food in the world is thrown away and the environmental impact of food waste is devastating. Karma has built an app that helps restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops reduce their food waste by selling their surplus to consumers at reduced prices. After a successful launch in Sweden, Karma launched its activities in London in January, with more cities expected to follow shortly.
Lifesum is a Swedish digital health start-up with a vision to help people be healthier and happier. Founded in 2013, the application now uses advanced image recognition technology combined with an artificial intelligence system for the registration of foods and their nutritional values, making wellness and diet more accessible.
Unofficially European capital of FinTech, young shoots should follow the success of unicorns Klarna, Bambora, and iZettle in Stockholm. This might be the case with Tink, a financial app that helps categorize, analyze, and manage your expenses and income by connecting all of your accounts into one platform. Tink already has 400,000 users and wants to surf the new directive on payment services to develop rapidly in 2018.
In the wake of the new data protection law (GDPR), which comes into force on May 25, a new market is emerging. Sweden’s DPOrganizer, founded in 2015, offers a software solution that helps businesses deal with the challenges that the General Data Protection Regulation entails.
Teamtailor is an all-in-one recruiting solution providing businesses with a simple and modern platform to attract, track and hire. Already adopted by the vast majority of start-ups mentioned in this list, Teamtailor has more than 15,000 recruiters in Europe and the French market is one of their priorities displayed in 2018.
Based on the observation that accounting has hardly changed for more than 30 years, Dooer wants to simplify the life of entrepreneurs by digitizing business management services. Using innovative technologies and a mobile application, their team automated operations such as invoicing, balance sheets and other income statements. The app, now well established in Sweden, should become available in other European countries in 2018.
We all know the problem of subscriptions to sports halls, we register for a year in January with the aim of making them as profitable as possible to finally realize that we never know how to use them. Fitness Collection wants to solve this problem thanks to a new type of flexible membership which gives access to the best rooms and several hundred classes (yoga, crossfit, dance, meditation…). All directly via a mobile application and a tailor-made subscription for its users.
Who says digital economy, says increased risks of piracy. The Equifax, Yahoo! or Uber in 2017 can attest to this. Founded and backed by a global network of ethical hackers, Detectify is a scanner that performs fully automated tests to identify cyber security issues on websites. A preventive rather than a reactive solution, already used by companies around the world.
Last November, Elon Musk presented the first electric truck in the Tesla range, but it is a Swedish start-up that could win the road transport market. Einride developed the T-Pod, the first vehicle fully designed and developed for autonomous driving and electric propulsion. Einride’s mission is to be a major contributor to a sustainable society by reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the transportation industry.
By 2019, eSports is expected to be a billion dollar industry and esports already attracted 292 million viewers last year. Founded in Stockholm in 2014, Challenger Mode aims to make eSports accessible by bringing together amateurs and professionals on a single platform. The company has attracted renowned investors such as Jonas Nordlander, founder of Avito, and even Swedish football superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
In the future, no more key loss problem, even your lock is digital. Glue Home allows your smartphone to become a secure key that can open your door anytime and from anywhere. The goal of this IoT system is to become a true digital concierge service on a global scale facilitating all types of delivery, but also access to offices, and better collaboration in communities.
Not all of the start-ups mentioned above save lives, but it is the goal of Coala Life to win a battle against the leading cause of death in the world: heart problems. Their team has developed and launched digital medical solutions allowing everyone to analyze their heart, anytime, anywhere. Using an artificial intelligence system, the award-winning Coala Heart Monitor detects heart disease in real time.
This list is of course subjective and only represents a limited sample of the region’s large pool of young shoots, now more than ever the Silicon Valley of Europe. But one thing is certain, 2018 is going to be an exciting year. Industries will be reinvented thanks to the ideas of visionary entrepreneurs.
Throughout the year, I will be sharing Swedish tech news on FrenchWeb through portraits, guides and opinion columns.
Erwan Derlyn, is a digital strategy consultant for a start-up.
French expat, based in Sweden since 2008, Erwan began his career in an agency before joining the start-up iZettle between 2013 and 2016.
Now independent, he works with some of the fastest growing companies in Europe in FinTech, music, fashion, design, and healthcare.
Erwan Derlyn is the FrenchWeb correspondent in Stockholm. Each month, he presents start-ups from the region and comments on the dynamic ecosystem of the Swedish capital.