Stockholm lauded as startup metropolis
Unicorn factory, tech superstar and startup capital of Europe. In recent years, Stockholm has been lauded by international press as well as researchers and investors.
In spite of a comparatively low population, Sweden has produced the most unicorns per capita (just behind Silicon Valley) in the world. Stockholm is also ranked high when looking at the number of exits, startups who are sold to another company or goes through an IPO. In 2017 there were 120 in Sweden, many more than in countries with far larger populations, such as Germany (120), Great Britain (77), and France (44).
Some explanations that are made for Sweden and Stockholm's success are the country's strong and long tradition of engineering, being open to new ideas, an early and broad internet prenetration, social safety net, the home PC reform, and our relative "smallness" which pushes new company to think about the global market early on. Research from the Stockholm School of Economics also highlight the eco system which grew in Stockholm after the first IT crash. Networks, money and knowledge from the first crash made way for Spotify, Klarna and all the other companies that are part of the second internet wave.
Here is what Izettle founder Jacob de Geer says about how the outside world sees Sweden and Stockholm:
Success breeds success. The large number of successful companies and exits makes both founders and employees rich. Most of them then use both time and money to start or invest in new companies. This in turn attracts more investors, and more money, which makes it easier for new companies to find financing.