VR has been a buzzword in the Nordics for some time now, with Nordic VR showcases taking place Stateside and even a dedicated mainstream event in Slush Play. There's no doubting that interest in the sector is at an all time high in the region, but is the money following the hype?
In short, yes, but this is a fairly recent development...
In 2014, we didn't track any investment in Nordic VR, however things starting happening from Q2 in 2015, meaning that the $230 million+ across 15 investments has all occured in the last 15 months, demonstrating a rapidly growing interest area within the region, with an investment into a Nordic VR startup now happening once a month on average.
As for which countries in the Nordics are leading the way, it becomes easy to see why Iceland are hosting Slush Play, as they recorded the most VR investments in the region in the last 15 months.
In fact, VR accounts for 18.52% of all investments in Iceland in that time period, pushing home just how much of a blossoming VR ecosystem they have over there right now.
Sweden also fared well, in fact, all of the countries have benefited from VR investments in the last 15 months, meaning this is a Nordic wide phenomenon.
Perhaps most interestingly, is that less than half of the VR investments have been into VR gaming startups, meaning not only does the Nordics have the opportunity to be one of the leading VR hubs globally, it's also likely to be at the forefront of VR innovation and the battle to apply it to more mainstream applications.
Another surprising data point is that the size of the rounds are perhaps more spread out than we'd have expected for such a blossoming area. However, the fact that there is a mix of later-stage rounds demonstrates two things = 1) VR is not an inexpensive area to operate in, it requires strong capital to create something truly innovative and 2) There are a number of established Nordic companies who have been around for a while but have now focused their energy towards VR, such as CCP and Unity.
In conclusion, by following the money, we can see that the Nordics have a genuine chance to establish themselves as one of the leading VR hubs globally. With experienced talent in world-class companies such as CCP and Unity eventually likely to start their own things (Solid Clouds is already one example) the Nordics looks set to build on these last 15 months and position themselves further as a place for true VR innovation.