Stockholm Tech Scene: Best Startup Hubs, Accelerators and Events of 2018
Stockholm’s start-up scene is growing — and it is growing exponentially fast.
In 2016, $ 1.4 billion was invested in venture capital in Stockholm start-up ecosystem. The same year, this ecosystem produced $1.75 billion in exit value. The six Stockholm-based unicorn companies also attest to the city’s great conditions for business growth.
Those great conditions can be largely credited to the Stockholm outstanding tech community, well-connected network of co-working spaces, education initiatives, meet-ups and events. Today we take a closer look at some of the most interesting events and initiatives that contribute to Stockholm’s tech and start-up scene. The starting point of our research is the list created by Joseph Michael — Head of Tech and Startups at Invest Stockholm.
Here we go!
Dates of the 2018 event: TBA
The organisers describe it as: “Sweden’s largest and most spectacular un-conference for start-ups”. Taking place yearly in December, the Demo Day attracts start-ups, entrepreneurs, investors and talents. Over 3,000 of them participated in the last event in December 2017. The event is free and open to everyone, and claims to be “the first 100% community driven and owned event.” This is where the local tech ecosystem comes together to pitch ideas, network and look for funding and working matches.
Demo Day’s organisers prepared a great video promoting the event, which lets you get a grasp of its exciting atmosphere. You can watch it here.
Symposium Stockholm and Brilliant Minds
Dates of the 2018 event: 6–16th June
Symposium Stockholm was first launched by Spotify’s co-founder Daniel Ek in 2015. Since then, it became a yearly, 10-day long “festival for creative individuals with powerful ideas to come together and experience a creative home, at the intersection of tech and music.”
An important part of Symposium Stockholm is the two-day global leadership summit, Brilliant Minds. It brings together world’s biggest players from the creative and tech industry, to challenge the status quo and discuss how innovation should be implemented to redefine the world we live in. This year the Brilliant Minds will be held under the theme of ‘Fenomen’ and it will focus on three main areas: Health, Leadership and Education.
Some of the key values promoted by the summit is collaboration and strive for collective change — rather than competition and individual success. Ultimately, the goal of the event is to “scale the Brilliant Minds model globally to influence the future of education, leadership and the convergence of humanity and technology.”
Dates of the 2018 event: 7–8th June
Sweden FoodTech is an initiative focused on the intersection of food and technology. Its mission is to connect researchers, food and tech specialists, and provide them space to develop sustainable ways of producing and thinking about food.
The Big Meet is Sweden FoodTech’s major event devoted to the future of food and the role digital technology plays in food production. This year’s event will be held between 7–8th June in Clarion Hotel Stockholm. The programme includes such topics as space food, urban farming solutions, building cities of the future and much more. FoodTech start-ups are very welcome to attend and pitch their ideas to potential investors and partners.
Regular admission ticket costs 3900 SEK and can be purchased on the event’s website.
Dates of the 2018 event: TBA
STHLM Tech Fest is first of all dedicated to innovation. Being one of the biggest events of this kind in Sweden, it provides an exchange platform for hundreds of developers, investors and founders every year (usually in September). People come together to discuss current business climate and the direction in which global tech industry is heading.
This three-day conference comprises of workshops, firechats, pitching sessions and presentations of renowned business owners. The topics covered are mostly tech, but some presenters also tackle the socioeconomic dimension of technology-related changes. At the end of the second day, The Nordic Startup Awards finale is hosted to acknowledge and reward the most promising start-up of the year.
Many parts of the programme are open for anyone to attend, but some of them require an invitation.
Dates of the 2018 event: 16th May
Sting Day is nothing like most of the big start-up an tech conferences. Organisers refer to it as a “boutique event for investors and start-ups”. The number of guests is limited to 400, which includes 60 start-ups and 150 investors. All of them are selected and invited for the event by the organisers.
Because Sting Day is non-commercial and an invitation-only event, the quality and prestige of it are quite high. Networking happens in a more intimate setup, as all the participants fit in one room. The feel of Sting Day is certainly different from the other, open tech conferences in Stockholm.
Dates of the 2018 event: 13–14th September
Digitalization of healthcare and HealthTech are big topics these days. And they are exactly what the My iHealth conference focuses on. Additionally, it is one of the most patient-centred events of this kind.
This year’s edition is all about sharing cutting-edge research and newest patient-oriented ICT solutions. Speakers and attendees are mostly healthcare practitioners and executives, policy makers, innovators, clinicians, patients, and researchers.
Dates of the 2018 event: 15–16th October
When comes to EdTech (educational technology), Sweden and other Nordic countries are considered to be among the most forward thinking in the world. EdTech Sweden is a yearly summit bringing together the producers and end-users of educational technology. The event focuses majorly on adult learning and skills development.
Most of the participants come from the Nordic countries, but the admission is open to international guests as well. Tickets for the summit are available here and cost from 995 to 3495 SEK, depending on how early you book and how many days you are attending.
Dates of the 2018 event: 7–8th November
An exciting conference for all tech companies and entrepreneurs interested in new ways of using Blockchain for business and developing the new economy of distributed trust. Day one is all about taking a holistic look at Blockchain, while day two is divided into two separated conference threads: one dedicated to business, and the other to the technology aspect of Blockchain.
Apart from knowledge sharing, discussions and workshops, there is some time secured for networking, so the enthusiasts of the ledger-based technology can meet and create partnerships. The regular price for delegates is 1995 SEK, although if you are a supplier to the industry, you may request to join as a partner
Dates of the 2018 event: 12–13th April
The 2-day conference focuses on the intersection of business and technology and tackles topics such as product digitalization, engaging employees, business processes optimisation and much more. The key goal is to provide a platform for organisations from different industries to come together and explore latest tech advancements, including their utility for business.
Some of the featured sessions of the conference include Digitalization Through Agility or How To Digitally Transform Your Enterprise For 2030. The tickets are available on the Nordic Digital Enterprise Festival’s website and cost 250/400 euros (one- or two-day pass).
Note that the event is not open to vendors, consultancies, agencies of suppliers — more info here.
START-UP INCUBATORS AND CO-WORKING SPACES
Stockholm’s flourishing tech scene is not just based on events. There are many acceleration programmes, start-up hubs and co-working spaces, which support the tech community on a daily basis. Many of them are profiled to start-ups and innovators working in specific industries. Take a look below!
STING is one of the leading accelerators and incubators for start-ups in the Nordics. The support offered throughout their programme is quite amazing. Every year around 600 start-ups apply for the STING acceleration and incubator programmes, but only about 5% of them get accepted.
If you do get accepted, the amount of help you receive is immense. STING supports start-ups in five key areas of their business growth and provides: financial support, coaching, recruitment assistance, networking opportunities and marketing advice. In practical terms, founders can receive such perks as: up to 300,000 SEK in seed funding, free office space for up to 6 months or business coaching with Lean Canvas method.
Amplify Sweden is an exciting opportunity for start-ups focused around MusicTech. They support young entrepreneurs who are trying to incorporate music elements into their tech business. Amplify is located at KMH Campus in Stockholm.
Taking that Spotify is the flagship start-up born in Stockholm, there is obviously a network of MusicTech entrepreneurs around the city. This is exactly what Amplify Sweden bases its support on — networking and community. It is the local community that the business coaching, fundraising and product development advice are sourced from.
Amplify provides not only support for local start-ups, but also long-distance mentorship for young entrepreneurs based all around Sweden.
KTH Innovation is a pre-incubation programme, focusing on start-ups in the very early stage of their development. They recognize the need to support innovative ideas before their authors are prepared for the next steps — incubation, first funding pitches, etc.
KTH Innovation support focuses on five main areas: business coaching, structuring the development process, providing access to community and office space, organising relevant workshops and trainings and offering commercial support (funding and legal advice).
Apart from the acceleration and incubation programmes for start-ups, Stockholm also has great co-working spaces that encourage collaboration, networking and creative work atmosphere.
Beautiful working space, located in a building which has been dedicated to commerce and entrepreneurship literally for ages. The oldest part of the building dates back to 1420!
Knackeriet aims to not only provide office space, but to also make it into a place of collaboration and creativity by bringing together “interesting startups, talented entrepreneurs and fun individuals.” It offers a 24/7 desk access without a possibility of drop-in days or day passes. This policy is intended to create long-term member relationships and a sense of community around Knackeriet — rather than having it host random, ever-changing crowd of alienated individuals.
Promoting positive development of the Internet — that’s the main objective of GOTO 10. It offers paid (but subsidized) co-working offices, as well as free-to-use space for all GOTO 10 members to organise their meet-ups and events, as long as they are related to Internet. GOTO 10 membership is entirely free.
To see what kind of Internet-related initiatives they support, you can visit GOTO 10 Youtube channel.
Norrsken House is a safe haven for entrepreneurs or freelancers who want to put out their best work possible. Norrsken describe themselves as “The Impact Unicorn Factory” — and if they exaggerate, it is just by a tiny bit.
Norrsken House co-working space is hosted inside of the hall of an old tram station. The building itself is impressive — not to mention the design of the interior! There is designated space for any kind of activity: focused work, meetings, uninterrupted skype calls, conferences and workshops. But what really stands out is the attention to detail and the visible pursuit of the concept of “balance in the workplace”. The meditation room with weekly guided meditation sessions or the playroom where you can bring your kids are just two examples of that.
Additionally, Norrsken puts a big impact on building a community and ecosystem around the place. It hosts over 120 companies — most of them working in the areas of technology and social entrepreneurship — which share ideas and collaborate with one another on a daily basis.
Impact Hub Stockholm is a part of the global Impact Hub movement and network of social entrepreneurs. The co-working space they run at Sveavägen 44 is a place where the local part of the community works together (or at least side-by-side) to create a better world of tomorrow.
Main occupants of the Impact Hub Stockholm co-working space are businesses that aim to have far-reaching positive impact on the global society and economy. Values promoted in the Hub are collaboration, community, diversity and supportive work environment, which allows everyone to perform at their best.
Perfect work space for HealthTech innovators and enterprises, as well as start-ups who are just kicking-off their innovative idea in the sector of digital health. H2 Health Hub brings together like-minded professionals from related fields, so they can exchange ideas and build better health care solutions for the future.
SUP46 is not just a co-working space for start-ups — it is a whole start-up and tech ecosystem, bringing together founders, investor and advisers who are eager to build something exciting.
The working space consists of the member-only area with 24/7 access for members, and a Startup Cafe. The latter is available to anyone looking for a good place to work, drink coffee and enjoy company of other creative minds. Moreover, SUP46 lends its space to acceleration and incubation programmes (such as STING) and organises valuable workshops and events. Currently upcoming on the agenda are: Agile Workshop, 3D Printing Workshop or Stockholm Talent Night.
Any more doubts that Stockholm is one of the best places for a tech junkie to thrive and learn? We find that all the opportunities, collaborative spaces and events available in the Swedish capital make it the place to be. Not only for start-up founders or tech specialists — but for anyone interested in building a better future based on shared experience and innovation.
In fact, in Ideamotive we are planning a trip to Stockholm sometime soon, to explore possibilities for our own growth. If you want to be up to date with what we do, follow our Facebook page.
Originally published at ideamotive.co on March 19, 2018.