The pacemaker, the three-point seat belt and ultrasound — these life-altering inventions all originated in a country that 100 years ago was among Europe’s poorest. Today, Sweden is renowned for its culture of innovation, strong global brands, and a social system that encourages risk-taking and responsibility. For investors seeking to make tech and sustainable investments, as well as for corporations and funds seeking to raise capital from sustainability-focused institutional investors — Sweden is a natural first pick.
Stockholm is Europe’s hottest unicorn city. Over the past few years, it has produced no less than five unicorn companies: Skype, Spotify, King, Mojang and Klarna. It is the world’s second most prolific tech hub on a per capita basis, behind only Silicon Valley. With a population of only 9.8 million people, Sweden pulls well over its weight, accounting for around 5% of all global BUSD tech exits in the past decade. In 2015, its tech industry attracted $1.1 billion in growth capital alone, making it number one in Europe, with 1.7 times more capital per capita then the UK, its closest contender at number 2. However, an increasing number of Swedish startups are finding it necessary to cross the Atlantic to secure access sufficient to meet their capital needs. For investors who want to find tomorrow’s unicorns first, the answer is simple: go there.
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Vivianne Gillman is Sweden’s Trade Commissioner in Southeast Asia. She has worked in an IT startup, as a Sustainability Director, and as a Strategy Consultant in a variety of industries.
Maria Mähl is a Senior Manager with the Clinton Global Initiative. She curates the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting working on issues such as health, climate change, energy, education, infrastructure, tech and economic development, with a special focus on sustainable finance and impact investing. Prior to the Clinton Foundation, Maria worked in Sweden at Volvo, Health Navigator and Capgemini Consulting. All views are her own.