ArcticEvening Stockholm was held last night at the Hub Stockholm, where around a hundred people from the startup scene gathered to talk about startups, growth and everything else. The guests on the panel included Carl Waldekranz (Tictail), Peder Stahle (iZettle) and Hjalmar Winbladh (Wrapp). I have to say that this was most probably the easiest panel I’ve held in a while – the reason was simple; these gents know their stuff. It made me think though, looking at all the successful companies in the room, what is it that Sweden has that Finland doesn’t?
It’s not an easy question to answer at first, but the more accustomed you get to both countries you begin to understand the differences quite fast. Stockholm lacks the kind of tight knit community with a lot of buzz that Finland has (I hope and fear that we are partially to blame for that). However, it’s so clear after 20 minutes on the panel – why Swedish entrepreneurs have connections to the best investors in the world and through good financing are able to build great companies. One word: revenue.
Hjalmar Winbladh spend the better part of his introduction going through his past, naturally – but it was close to leaving the others in the cold. He sold a company to Microsoft before the dotcom boom and after that began work on Rebtel, for instance, a company that is doing around $80 million in revenue today.
Peder Stahle talked about how iZettle will change the world of accepting payments offline. While the company is just getting started, Stahle mentioned that the initial batches of 5000 devices per country in the Nordics (Denmark, Norway and Finland) have all been ordered already. He did talk to me after the panel and promised to keep us updated on some very impressive stuff they are coming out soon.
Carl Waldekranz, the one with the youngest company on the panel was the champ who picked us up at the airport. Despite him saying that he came across a couple of people with exactly two cards to the local transportation system at the airport (who just gave them to him) we strongly suspect the Tictail guys are behind the trick. Regardless of this, they did show us some very impressive presentations and demos. Another company to watch from Sweden.
But the thing thing that seems to set Sweden apart from Finland is the amount of money the young growth companies are able to churn is truly impressive. Not only that, it felt like all the companies on the panel focused a lot on creating revenue and took that into account very early on.
I’m not sure if its the fact that these companies make a lot of noise about themselves from a revenue point of view, but if that gets the attention of the best companies and investors in the world – it’s probably worth it.
ArcticEvening was a blast. So was Stockholm and we’ll be back.
Below are some photos from the event.
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Here’s Carl from Tictail pitching us his company.
We did some shopping from the Systembolaget for the evening.
Helping people find our event.
Mingling around after the panel.
There also seemed to be a lot of interest towards Arctic15 this year as well.
People stayed well until 9pm when we had to start closing down.