In this edition: Starting up in Sweden
As a founder myself (Padworthy.com), I’m always looking to meet entrepreneurs around the world and experience their projects. Perspectives on innovation vary around the globe and I decided to try a social experiment and meet as many tech companies as I could during my short stay. How many could I meet in a week? Turns out quite a few, as long as you know where to look.
Stockholm is a tiny city but huge on technology and startups. In fact, according to Atomico, Sweden is second only to Silicon Valley in creating successful, billion-dollar startups including Mojang (Minecraft), Klarna, King, Spotify, and Skype.
In an effort to locate local founders, I leveraged Meetup.com’s worldwide reach to discover where the local founders congregate. Fortunately, the STHLM Tech Meetup (led by Los Angelino, Tyler Crowley)was a hosting a local event about gender diversity the very next evening.
In the States, this awesome turnout would be considered a fire hazard.
The Hilton Slusson Auditorium was the scene for the Meetup and I was blown away by the turnout. There were HUNDREDS of people in the audience clamoring to hear about the progress the Stockholm was making on the gender diversity front, enjoy the pitch competition, and perhaps even meet a VC. Stockholm is at the forefront of the push to make startups more accessible to women, and I applaud the involvement of the local startup community on this front! The pitches were generally very well put together with the female founder taking home the top prize.
Thanks to local, online startup maps and news aggregators like StartupLocation and Swedish Startup Space, I became aware of dozens of other startups in the local area and I reached out to several of them with a tweet. While there were many replies, I decided to take the opportunity to sit down with representatives from Pingdom and Klarna over fika.
Me and my juice.
Charles Arvidsson leads up worldwide accounts for Pingdom and we met up at a local smoothie bar [appropriately] called “Joe and the Juice”. As an American expat hailing from the Bay Area, I was fascinated by how his story led him to Stockholm by way of NYC. Perhaps most interesting was learning about how our meeting came to be. As I soon learned, Swedes aren’t so into small talk and my request had been passed around the office until it landed in Charles’ lap. Lucky for me, he was an incredibly kind and generous host and I thoroughly enjoyed our time sharing about our personal and professional stories of work and home.