Another month has passed and the startup community in the Nordics and Baltics just keeps on getting bigger, better and more active. Here's what we learned in September.
Sweden's startup scene is absolutely on fire and with Stockholm being considered one of the best tech-hubs in the worlds it's hardly a surprise. After all, without the Swedish entrepreneurial spirit we wouldn't have companies we've come to love like IKEA, Volvo or Spotify.
Swedish payment service Klarna is on its way to join those companies in the coming years. In the first six months of 2015 the company increased its operating profit sixfold from last year, reaching $19.8 million. At the same time Klarna's revenue increased by $37 million to $158 million. Very strong numbers and considering the company recently launched in the US we are waiting for even stronger second half figures.
It is great to see companies coming out of the small island of Gotland. One of those companies is Pichit, which raised $3 million and hopes to create for images what Spotify has for music. The company is working closely with Microsoft and aims to reach at least 250,000 registered users within the next 18 months.
Danish startup Linkfire is really firing on all cylinders and the company announced in September they closed a large seed investment round of €2.3 million. The investment was led by Northcap followed by a group of business angels who undoubtedly will help Linkfire with their expertise. The company plans to open its first office outside of Denmark in Williamsburg, New York.
Big news from Finland where advertising technology platform Kiosked received a €15 million loan from the European Investment Bank. Kiosked will use the money to develop new online and mobile advertising platforms as well as build on its expansion over the next three years by increasing its staff fourfold.
Lately it seems every industry has it's own 'Uber-like'app or company. One of those companies is SportSetter from Finland, which raised a $1 million seed round early September. Currently the app is live in Finland and New York and the company plans to use the money to expand into the U.K. market, as well as build out its app reach from iOS to Android.
What could be more of a clichéthan a skiing app from Norway and Switzerland? A St. Bernard with a gold Rolex on a pair of Madshus skis? Maybe not...So it comes as no surprise that Skioo is such a tremendous success having increased its userbase fivefold last winter season and now the company announced raising CHF 1.5 million and bringing in investors like Olympic gold medalist Aksel Lund Svindal. Skioo is a mobile app solution where a skier adds a credit card to any ski pass and gets immediate access to the slopes.
Jobbatical is becoming one of the hottest names in the Baltic startup scene and the company now has the money to back it up. At the start of september Jobbatical, an online marketplace for connecting businesses and working talent, announced it raised €510,000 from a slew of investors.
Estonia's largest business newspaper Äripäev released it's annual list of the richest people in Estonia, which is basically an Estonian version of the Forbes richest list. Times are changing in Estonia and after years of the top of the list being dominated by people involved in realty, construction and transportation industry, the richest person in Estonia is officially from a startup.
Äripäev estimated that with a fortune of €234 million Kristo Käärmann, co-founder of TransferWise, is now Estonia's richest person. The second co-founder of TransferWise, Taavet Hinrikus, is third on the list with a fortune of €211 million.
Last month Latvian edtech company Edurio made a splash with a €230,000 investment round from Imprimatur and an Australian angel. Edurio aims to help schools make data-driven continuous improvement decisions by offering feedback surveys for students, parents and teachers. The company will use the money to roll out now versions of its product and expand it's school network.
As a heads up to people in Latvia or nearby interested in founding their very own startup there's an event in Riga that helps you do just that. At the end of November there's a three day startup crash course, where designers, developers, entrepreneurs and experts meet to find out what are the best ideas out there and act upon them. Check the event out by Google'ing Startup Weekend Riga.
Lithuanian startup Dropbyke is entering the crowded field of bike-sharing apps, aiming to take on local taxis and help cyclists share their bikes. Basically Dropbyke lets you search for a bike, get access and enjoy the ride. It runs on existing bike infrastructure so customers can use any public parking space. They launched at the start of August and already have a few thousand registered users.