Fintech Talents Road Trip – Stockholm
Home to dozens of unicorns, Stockholm can well-and-truly call itself a leading European fintech hub, after experiencing a few years of extremely strong growth. No single reason exists for why Sweden has managed to establish such a healthy fintech ecosystem. But the digital-first attitude of the nation combined with high levels of investment in research & development by the Swedish government and welfare support for founders all play into the culture of innovation.
According to research from Dealroom, venture capital investment to Sweden more than doubled in 2021, reaching its highest level ever of €7.8 billion. These gains were not evenly shared across the ecosystem, with mega rounds making up 70% of this funding.
However, relatively high capital gains taxes and income taxes represent a challenge to some founders. Work also needs to be done to diversify the type of founders that receive investment, with all-woman founding teams accounting for less than 1% of venture capital investment.
The Swedish capital is home to some of the highest-valued private fintech firms in Europe, such as online payments business Klarna, which raised $639 million in funding to reach a valuation of over $10 billion in 2020. While Klarna’s value has plummeted by 85%, falling from a high of $45.6 billion to $6.7 billion in 2022, the rapid growth of this fintech has helped boost Stockholm’s status as a leading fintech hub.
Beyond Klarna, a number of other fintechss have found success in Stockholm. This January, financial well-being start-up Anyfin completed a €30 million Series C funding round and open banking platform Tink was bought by Visa for more than $2 billion last year.
Few countries can claim to have digital banking infrastructure that rivals Sweden, with the advanced digital payments ecosystem being one of the reasons why the nation had a head-start when payment methods shifted online during the pandemic. Close relationships and collaboration between firms across the Nordic markets also boosted Stockholm during challenging times.
Jeff Parker, SVP and Managing Director of Marqeta International, believes there is much to learn from the Scandinavian approach to nurturing fintech talent.
He said: “Sweden and the wider Nordic region are such an exciting part of the world when it comes to tech innovation, having given birth to a range of propositions that are more than capable of holding their own against the giants of Silicon Valley. I can’t wait to visit Stockholm this April to find out more about the approach and culture that is fostering some of the planet’s most successful tech businesses.”
Of course, outside of fintech, a diverse ecosystem exists in Stockholm with sectors such as music and gaming representing exciting future areas for innovation and growth. From music tech firms like Tidal, which was purchased by Jay-Z, to gaming firms like Mojang and King, two firms that were acquired for billions of dollars by Microsoft and Activision Blizzard, respectively; there’s no shortage of innovative start-ups in Sweden.
Sweden is also a leader in the impact investing space, with this form of funding more than tripling between 2020 and 2021, to total €4.3 billion, the highest figure in Europe. With solid fundamentals, backed by government support and a well-built ecosystem, Stockholm can expect to see fast-growth in 2023.
Dadmehr Fatehi, VP of Banking & Fintech, Insurely – “As a company at the forefront of insurance technology, we recognize the potential of emerging technologies and their impact on insurance. We believe that by joining forces with other industry experts, such as during events like Fintech Talents Road Trip, we can drive innovation forward and explore new opportunities to harness the power of these technologies.”
Join the Fintech Talents Team for our first European Road Trip as we stop off in three exciting fintech hubs in France, Sweden, and Germany. On Wednesday 19th April we get to the second stop – Stockholm! The Swedish capital, well known for its innovation in fintech, will see more than 45 speakers and 100-plus C-Level attendees building connections during the visit.
Register now to join us in Stockholm on 19 April.