Sweden is no stranger to innovation, giving the world some of the most forward thinking technology startups in recent times, and even multinational players like Ericsson and Spotify. This is all despite a population of just 10.35 million people.
In the case of internationally renowned Skype, who were bought by Microsoft back in 2011 for USD$8.5bn and iZettle, who were sold to PayPal for USD$2.2bn, the aim is often to exit to a US giant, though It remains to be seen if this trend will continue or not.
We run down the 10 biggest technology companies out of Sweden, with familiar names and some new players, who are branching out far and wide and scaling fast!
A 3D bioprinting company and also the first bioink company in the world offering bioprinters, bioinks and more. Cellink is an early-stage hardware startup that is developing a flexible conductive backplane for power electronics, including batteries, light-emitting diodes, wire harnessing, solar cells, and other devices requiring power transmission.
The company is part of BICO, the world’s leading bioconvergence company, which leverages the synergies of its premier companies in engineering, robotics, artificial intelligence, advanced genomics and bioprinting to create the future of health. BICO envisions a future that ensures bioprinted organ transplants are obtainable, cultivated human tissues replace animal testing, every patient can get personalised medicine, drug development is faster and less expensive, easy-to-access diagnostics prevent pandemics.
One of the leaders in the Nordics with ambitions to take on the rest of Europe, Swedish startup Kry raised €53m in a 2018 round led by Index Ventures with Accel, Creandum and Project A. Then in early 2020 it raised USD$155m in a funding round led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan to support plans for further expansion in Europe.
Kry's idea is that the service saves everyone time: users put in their symptoms and then organise a call rather than going to the GP every time there is a problem. The company already provides nearly 2% of all GP visits in Sweden. Since the company was founded in 2015, it has completed more than 1.4m patient meetings and counting.
Trustly has more than 500 employees spread across 10 offices in Europe, the Americas and Australia. Trustly believe that diversity drives innovation and results in products that are more inclusive. Their workforce is made up of more than 50 different nationalities.
“The world is changing faster than ever, and we need payment methods that can keep up. At Trustly, we’re building a global payments network that bypasses the card networks so people can pay directly from their bank account and feel safe while doing so.” Oscar Berglund, CBO Trustly.
Nortvolt was born when former Tesla manager Peter Carlsson proposed a €3bn battery farm in northern Sweden. Northvolt, has today raised USD$1bn just last year from the likes of Volkswagen, BMW and Goldman Sachs to realise the dream.
Phase one of “”Northvolt Ett”” project in Skelleftea, Sweden, is to produce 16 GWh of capacity a year but once fully operational, making it one of Europe’s largest battery cell factories, capable of producing 32 GWh worth of capacity annually.
There are also plans for a second gigafactory with an “intended location” in Lower Saxony, Germany – this time to be called ‘Northvolt Zwei’.
As Carlsson puts it, “The whole purpose of Northvolt is to be the future of energy.”
#6 Telia Company
Telia Company AB is a Swedish multinational telecommunications company and mobile network operator present in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Telia also owns TV4 Media which includes TV4 in Sweden, MTV Oy in Finland, and C More Entertainment after acquiring them in 2019.
Telia Company employs around 20,000 people in the Nordics and Baltics and at the core of their people approach are the values dare, care and simplify.
Sector: Computer software
Sinch want to reinvent mobile messaging. They realiseed that SMS presented an incredible opportunity for companies due to its immediate and widespread reach - but it needed a change. They wanted to make mobile messaging easy.
Since then, Sinch has grown from six people in a little Stockholm shop window to an international powerhouse serving enterprises across the globe. Their cloud platform supports messaging, voice, and video, and handles 145 billion engagements per year, making then a leader in Communications Platform as a Service.
Market cap: USD$29.48bn
A strong competitor in the telecommunications market space, Ericsson is known worldwide for its mobile technology and networks, and remains at the cutting edge due to the company’s approach to innovation, which involves strong partnerships with various universities and research institutions around the world.
Lars Magnus Ericsson started what would become Ericsson in 1876 in Stockholm. Today this Swedish company has around 100,000 employees worldwide.
Swedish company Spotify has been able to provide legal online music streaming services as an alternative to pirated music file-sharing sites, though not without controversy when it comes to copyright and fair compensation for artists.
Started in 2006 by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, Spotify allows users to listen to and share millions of music tracks to their computers and mobile devices such as smartphones. The company estimates that it has 381 million users worldwide, of which 172 million are subscribers.
Spotify did struggle in 2021, when it barely squeezed out a slim net profit of 5 million euros ($5.6 million) in the first nine months.
Hexagon is a global leader in sensor, software and autonomous solutions. They are putting data to work to boost efficiency, productivity, and quality across industrial, manufacturing, infrastructure, safety, and mobility applications.
The story of Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence stretches back over 200 years and incorporates some of the biggest names in measurement and industrial metrology. Their experience, expertise and innovation forms a solid foundation for the development of new measurement technologies, integrated manufacturing solutions and process standards of the future.
With a net worth of USD$3.3bn himself, Chief executive Sebastian Siemiatkowski is aiming to make Klarna one of the world’s top five fintech companies.
Klarna has finally made inroads in the US and is reportedly growing at half a million customers a month.
Snoop Dogg, the American rapper, is an investor and brand ambassador. The company must decide if it wishes to stay European when looking for an eventual exit, or follow the route of Izettle and Skype and be bought by US giants.