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How Sweden Became Europe’s Silicon Valley

As Klarna’s billionaire founder Sebastian Siemiatkowski prepares to the degree one among the biggest-ever European fintech agency listings, a ceremonial dinner of capitalism, he credits a not likely backer for his runaway success: the Swedish welfare nation.

n particular, the 39-yr-vintage pinpoints a past due-Nineteen Nineties government coverage to position a laptop in every home.

“computers had been inaccessible for low-earnings households together with mine, however when the reform got here into play, my mom offered us a laptop the very next day,” he told Reuters.

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Siemiatkowski began coding on that pc while he became sixteen. speedy-forward greater than two a long time, and his payments firm Klarna is valued at $46 billion and plans to move public. It hasn’t given details, though many bankers predict it’s going to list in the big apple early next yr.

Sweden’s home pc force, and concurrent early funding in internet connectivity, help explain why its capital Stockholm has emerged as such wealthy soil for startups, birthing and incubating the likes of Spotify, Skype, and Klarna, although it has some of the highest tax charges in the global.

it is the view of Siemiatkowski and numerous tech CEOs and challenge capitalists interviewed by means of Reuters.

inside the three years, the scheme ran, 1998-2001, 850,000 domestic computer systems were purchased thru it, attaining nearly a quarter of u.s then-four million households, who did not must pay for the machines and consequently covered many folks that had been in any other case unable to manage to pay for them.

In 2005, while Klarna turned into based, there have been 28 broadband subscriptions in line with one hundred human beings in Sweden, in comparison with 17 inside the usa – in which dial-up become nonetheless a long way greater commonplace – and a global average of three.7, consistent with statistics from the arena financial institution.

Spotify allowed users to circulation tune while Apple’s iTunes was still download-based, which gave the Swedish agency the top hand while streaming has become the norm around the arena.

“that might simplest show up in a rustic in which broadband was the usual tons in advance, while in different markets the connection becomes too sluggish,” Siemiatkowski said.

“That allowed our society to be more than one year in advance.”

a few executives and campaigners say the Scandinavian country demonstrates that a deep social safety internet, often regarded as a counter to the entrepreneurial spirit, can foster innovation. it is a final result that may not have been envisaged by way of the architects of Sweden’s welfare country within the Fifties.

Childcare is, for the most part, loose. a variety of income insurance price ranges can guard you if your enterprise fails or you lose your process, making sure as much as eighty% of your previous earnings for the first three hundred days of unemployment.

“The social safety internet we’ve in Sweden lets in us to be much less vulnerable to taking risks,” said Gohar Avagyan, the 31-yr-antique co-founding father of Vaam, a video messaging carrier used for income pitches and patron communique.


despite the fact that standard investments are large in the bigger ecu economies of England and France and their longstanding finance hubs, Sweden punches above its weight in some regards.

It has the 0.33 highest startup fee in the international, behind Turkey and Spain, with 20 startups per 1000 employees and the best 3 yr survival price for startups everywhere, at seventy-four%, according to a 2018 look at by OECD economists.

Stockholm is 2nd best to Silicon Valley in phrases of unicorns – startups valued at above $1 billion – per capita, at ground zero.8 according to a hundred,000 inhabitants, in step with Sarah Guemouri at challenge capital company Atomico.

How Sweden Became Europe's Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley – San Francisco and the Bay place – boasts 1.four unicorns per one hundred,000, said Guemouri, co-writer of a 2020 report on ECU tech organizations.

no one can say for certain if the growth will last, though, in a rustic in which capital gains are taxed at 30 percent and income tax may be as excessive as 60 percent.

In 2016, Spotify stated it turned into thinking about shifting its headquarters to another country, arguing excessive taxes made it difficult to draw overseas skills, even though it hasn’t achieved so.

Yusuf Ozdalga, the accomplice at venture capital company QED investors, said get the right of entry to investment and administrative or criminal tasks connected with founding a company can also prove difficult to navigate for the non-Swedish audio system.

He contrasted that to Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, in which the government adopted English as an authentic language in April to make existence less complicated for worldwide agencies.

‘thrilling catch 22 situation’ FOR VC

Jeppe Zink, the partner at London-based totally venture capital company Northzone, said a third of all of the go-out value from fintech agencies in Europe – the amount received via traders once they coin out – got here from Sweden on my own.

government coverage had contributed to this fashion, he brought.

“It’s a thrilling catch 22 situation for us assignment capitalists as we are now not used to regulation creating markets, in truth we’re inherently apprehensive about regulation.”

Sweden’s virtual minister Anders Ygeman said that social law should make it “possible to fail” and then “be up and going for walks once more” for innovators.

Peter Carlsson, CEO of startup Northvolt, makes Lithium-ion batteries for electric cars and is worth $eleven.seventy-five billion stated that in the end achievement bred fulfillment.

“you’re actually growing ripple consequences whilst you’re seeing the fulfillment of someone else and I think it’s perhaps the maximum essential aspect if you want to create nearby ecosystems.”

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