Three weeks ago, Sweden’s forest owners association and an international forest industry group Södra launched an initiative to invest around €19M (MSEK200) in a range of innovative companies with new technologies for forest estates. Now this venture capital business Södra Ädla is making its first investment in Karlstad-based startup Happie Camp which provides an online booking system for customers to book accommodation in the forest.
With the seed funding of around €282K (MSEK3) million in the startup, Södra is becoming a partner of Happie Camp which has raised a total funding of approx. €562K (MSEK 6) in that seed round. Södra is hoping to attract new technologies and businesses for forest estates while the Swedish startup will benefit from Södra’s experience in the industry to accelerate its growth.
Södra invests in nature tourism – partners with Happie Nation
Södra Ädla has made its first investment. Södra Ädla became a partner of Happie Nation by investing SEK 3 million in the company. Happie Nation is focused on nature tourism.
Södra’s new venture capital business, Södra Ädla, was launched in May. In the coming years, the subsidiary will invest SEK 200 million in innovative companies with a business concept that directly supports the development and profitability of forest estates, and promotes a more multifaceted approach to family forestry.
The first company has now been identified.
Strengthening family forestry with nature tourism
Södra Ädla’s investment in Happie Nation was finalised on Wednesday, and Södra Ädla will contribute SEK 3 million to a total funding round of SEK 6 million.
Happie Nation conducts nature tourism under the Happie Camp brand. Happie Camp leases unused forest land from forest owners and establishes small houses that are then rented out to nature lovers.
This enables Södra’s members to increase the value of their natural gems in the forest and complement their forest estate with nature tourism.
“Happie Nation’s scalable business concept is in line with our ambition to invest in companies that directly develop the value of forest estates. The company provides opportunities for Södra’s members to increase their revenue, while more people can experience our family forest ownership at first hand,” said Erik Bengtson, Investment Manager for Södra Ädla. “With this investment, we are attracting new innovation to forest estates and creating more business opportunities for Södra’s 52,000 members.”
Pending expansion of Happie Camp
Happie Camp was launched in 2019 and now has a well-developed online booking system, where customers can easily book accommodation in the forest with nature on their doorstep as well as other services. The funding will support the company’s planned commercialisation. The next step will be establishment in southern Sweden, with a focus on Götaland and in dialogue with Södra’s forest-owning members.
“Our aim is that Happie Camp will help forest owners nurture places of natural beauty and generate new revenue from the social values of their forest as a complement to traditional forestry,” said Staffan Svantesson, CEO and founder of Happie Nation.
“With Södra Ädla as our partner, we now have access to extensive knowledge and experience of forest management combined with a genuine network of passionate forest owners. We will work together to create the best conditions for running a successful business and a fast and efficient scale-up of Happie Camp.”