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Startup Hub Northern Europe - What we can learn from the Startup Vikings

We have heard a lot about Scandinavian startups. "Why not write a blog about this?", we thought. Find out about the vibrating startup scene of Scandinavia in our little blog series.

Part 1: Flying Visit of the Scandinavian Innovation Powerhouse

"Hey Vikki let's build a boat to conquer the seas!" - "Way too inconvenient, let's program a computer-based simulation and sell it for gamers all around the world!" Such or similarly might a conversation in Finland, the gaming startup hub of Northern Europe, look like.

He helps Apple users with their daily technological tortures. My norwegian friend Henrik Ruud shows his customers how to use their Apple device efficiently. His company Epletips (epletips.no) is a "B2C consultancy" for Apple products. I have got to know him while he was staying for his study exchange in Switzerland. Henrik's business seems to be pretty busy - he receives up to a three-digit number of business-related mails on a normal workday. Despite the global reach of the idea, Henrik does not plan to conquer the global markets anytime soon. Epletips is just one example of the flourishing startup scene in Scandinavia. It is not by chance that a lot of established technology ventures such as Uber, Spotify, Skype, SoundCloud, MySQL, Unity, Zendesk, Pipedrive or Vivino have its origin in the lands of snow and ice. And the list goes on. Nevertheless, there is a lot more potential for globally scalable Scandinavian innovations.

Most of the Nordic startups, just like Henrik's Epletips, stick to their home markets (with an exception of the Finnish). They rather want to become an important national player, than a global one. Investors and tech specialist nevertheless think big when looking to the nordic startup region."Even if it hasn't got the capital intensity of the Silicon Valley or London, it might still come up with new billion dollar businesses every year.", they say. The Nordic Innovation House (nordicinnovationhouse.com) aims to conquer the challenge of globalisation for the domestic entrepreneurs. Located in Palo Alto, it connects Nordic entrepreneurs with the Silicon Valley. Other Scandinavian players like IKEA or Nokia scaled globally intensively and successfully. A lot of experts in the field believe in the dynamic and the potential of the Nordic startup scene. I can assure you the next Volvo or Ericsson is just around the corner.

“My feeling is that we have a momentum. Governments in our countries understand the  importance of creating the right environment for seed and growth companies to be successful. In Iceland and in the Nordics we need more scalable tech companies to provide young people with opportunities to use their skills and competencies. We need to build global tech companies that create value for our society”

Vilborg Einarsdottir, Nordic Innovation Steering Committee and EdTech Specialist

Find out about the main success factors of the Scandinavian startup scene in the second part of our "Startup Hub Northern Europe"-Series next Sunday, the 19th of July.