After another record amount of investments, 9 exits and lots of juicy stories to choose from, this month it was particularly hard to single out what we found to be the most significant of each of these. However, after some careful deliberation, we eventually chose an impressive Series B, an American giant returning to shop in the region, and the latest plans for the Nordics biggest star.
For a full recap of investments, exits and top stories for Nordic startups in January, go here
Much like a fine wine, this round had taken some time to mature, in fact I believe Vivino expected to close this as much as a year before they did. Either way, the round was eventually closed, and what a round it was. Not just in terms of the amount, which at $25 million is significantly higher than the median Series B in the Nordics ($15 million) but also from who the Moët (sorry, money) was raised from. Yes, as my bad pun hinted at, in addition to prior investors Creandum, Balderton and Seed Capital, Christophe Navarre, the CEO of Moët Hennessy also joined in on the round and took a non-executive position. This is a perfect strategic investment for Vivino, and gives them added reputation and respect amongst the wine industry, and alongside the significant cash in the bank allows them to push on to really establish themselves as one of the main players in the industry.
After purchasing Minecraft creator Mojang in 2014 for a cool $2.5 billion, Microsoft returned to Finland, and Minecraft last month in order to purchase MinecraftEdu, aimed at educating kids, and providing a school-ready version of the game, one which is already present in 7,000 classrooms. I have to admit, I'm a little confused as to how this version is separate from the game, however, it appears that Microsoft only purchased the game itself, and not the company who produced it. Either way, it's another exit to Microsoft for a Finnish product, and even though this one is nowhere near the price tag that they paid for Mojang, it demonstrates that the largest American companies continue to look to the Nordics for acquisitions.
According to documents that were seen by Swedish blog Svenska Dagbladet, Spotify are in the process of raising another $500 million, less than a year after raising $526 million, as rumours of an IPO persist. While we've been talking about the possibility of Spotify going public for about three years, this time around it does seem to have more substance than previous rumours. This is as the documents show that Spotify are essentially leveraging an upcoming IPO in order to raise the funds, providing potential backers with a 17.5% discount on the share prices within the next twelve months. However, if Spotify do not go public in that timeframe, then this discount would increase at a rate of 2.5% every six months thereafter. This information certainly points to the fact that an IPO is seemingly imminent, although my personal perspective and sources indicate that this will not happen within the next twelve months. Either way, whether it is the form of another $500 million+ round or one of the largest European tech exits we've ever seen, Spotify continue to have a huge impact on the Nordic and European tech scene.
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