Nordic Funding Analysis Q1 2015

2014 in The Nordics kicked off with some big funding rounds; including Tradeshift's $75M and Trustpilot's $25M Series C's, leading me to believe that the first quarter of 2015 may struggle to match the $147.45M raised the previous year. Boy, was I wrong....

In Q1 2015, 50 Nordic Startups raised investment totalling $308M.

As aways, this analysis was based upon our own proprietary data collection of funding and exits in the region, using a wide variety of sources including local media, monitoring press releases and relying on our own network across the Nordics. Our data is also supplemented and cross referenced by sources including Mattermark, Crunchbase and 

Breakdown by Country

Having been perennially last in 2014's funding analyses, Iceland flip the tables on their head and take top spot for Q1 2015. They knocked the traditional pacesetter of Sweden into second place with Denmark and Norway following them in third and fourth respectively. Perhaps surprisingly, Finland attracted the least investment in Q1, however, it is worth noting that they also started slowly in Q1 2014 but eventually went on to raise more investment than all of the other Countries bar Sweden. 


Breakdown by Stage

We have previously predicted on The Nordic Web that the Series B crunch will come to an end in the Nordics in 2015. And it appears that the stats back that up, with 5 Series B's raised in Q1 (the same amount as Series A's), compared to a total of 8 across the whole of 2014. 


The Top 10 Investments

If you were confused as to how Iceland went from fifth to first in attracting investment then now you have your answer; Verne Global's $98M Series D was easily the biggest round in the region in Q1, more than double the second biggest in Saltside ($40M Series C). And for the first time since running these quarterly analyses, we see all five Nordic Countries represented in the Top 10 rounds of the quarter.


Breakdown by Vertical

Enterprise SaaS dominated the investments, with 10 startups in this vertical raising money. Already possessing a strong track record of SaaS successes, perhaps Zendesk's IPO in 2014 has sparked even more interest in the region's SaaS startups. Most interesting, however, was the fact that five startups looking at the travel industry attracted investment, could this be the start of a new trend?


Average Round Size

The average seed round was pretty healthy in Q1 at $1.28M, and was up from 2014's average of $1.16M. In comparison Series A was at $4M, compared to 2014's $5.64M, Series B at $15.68M compared to 2014's $6.61M and Series C at $30M compared to 2014's $55M.



Breakdown by Stage

Top 5 Investments

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Orphazyme are a Biotech startup developing innovative new therapies for the treatment of a family of serious genetic disorders. The $24M Series B, led by new investor Kurma Partners, will bankroll Orphazyme's planned Phase II trial for Orph002, which the company is now preparing. Idinvest Partners joined in on the financing, as did repeat backers Novo A/S, Sunstone Capital and Aescap Venture.

Realm is a mobile database, enabling its users to develop applications that are fast and craft amazing user experiences. TechCrunch reported: "They plan to use their $20M Series B to double from its current 21 employees by the end of the year, and expand their markets as well as increasing their sales efforts."

Falcon Social  provides an SaaS platform that allows marketing departments to create, launch and measure social media campaigns in real time. The $16M Series B will help support the company’s product development, innovation and continued global expansion.

Sekoia delivers an open software platform for nursing homes and specialcare homes that integrates existing health care technologies and services into one easy-to-use touchscreen solution. Arctic Startup reported that "with the $3M it looks like the team will be going after markets like the UK, Germany, and the rest of Scandinavia."

Colego is a task marketplace, allowing you to post your task, albeit gardening, bookkeeping, legal advice etc, and then receiving three vetted quotes for you to choose from. After attracting 50,000 users in Denmark since they launched, Colego will be using their $2M Series A to expand Internationally, with Hamburg in Germany their first target.



Breakdown by Stage

Top 5 Investments

LeadDesk  brings web-based sales automation to all your calling activities, be it sales, service, research or appointment setting. TechCrunch reported that their $6.2M Series A "is designed to drive LeadDesk’s growth in European markets with particular focus on UK/Ireland, Spain, and the Benelux region."

MariaDB is a global software vendor specialising in high availability and high performance MariaDB & MySQL. Their $3.4M Series B was led by Moscow-based Runa Capital and will be used to help the company further the development of its product and markets.

Zervant offers an online invoicing and accounting service that fully automates the accounting for SMBs. Zervant's CEO stated that their $1.7M Seed would "help us to execute our growth plans and further expand into the European market.”

CreateTrips is a social trip planner that offers travellers and locals with travel guides, maps and reviews. 25% of their user-base is in Southeast Asia, demonstrating a true International demand which can be explored further with their $1.6M Seed investment.

Playfield is a community platform for game discovery owned by Shark Punch. The $1.3M in Seed will help Shark Punch create the platform that it says will connect gamers and developers from the very inception of a new title.



Breakdown by Stage

Top 3 Investments

poLight develops high performance micro optics autofocus components for mobile phone cameras. The $19M Private Equity investment will enable poLight to take the next steps toward commercialisation and public listing.

Xeneta provides global sea freight market information and actionable data on shipping rates and actual transit times. Xeneta says it will use the $5.3M Series A to accelerate its “product innovation and growth”. 

Fuse is a development tool combined with a rich set of libraries that help both developers and designers build better apps. TechCrunch reported that with the $2.8M, Fuse "is now preparing to launch into beta in Q1. It’s also expanding its U.S. presence with the addition of the Palo Alto office."



Breakdown by Stage

Top 5 Investments

Saltside creates online marketplaces in developing countries. TechCrunch reports that "Saltside now has 6 million visitors a month across Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ghana and Pakistan which collectively represent 200 million people, the $40M Series C will be used to scale and expand further into this market".

Neo Technology is the company behind Neo4j, the world's leading graph database. TechCrunch reports that the $20M Series C will be used to expand employees up to around 120 from the 70 or so they currently employ.

KnCMiner focuses on producing miners for cryptocurrencies. KnCMiner plans to use the $15M Series B to increase its bitcoin mining capacity and continue to build the bitcoin-processing infrastructure of the future.

Sqore specialises in certifying knowledge and skills through competitions and connecting talent with opportunities. The $3.5M Series A will go towards their full scale launch which is due to take place this summer.

VionLabs is a search engine for the movie and television industry. VionLabs will use the $3M Seed from Northzone to come out of stealth mode and take the concept further. 


Number of Investments compared to Q1 2014

Amount of Funding compared to Q1 2014

So, there we have it, despite my initial scepticism, not only did Q1 of 2015 surpass 2014's Q1, in terms of investment raised, it more than doubled 2014's, with $308M compared to $147.45M. 

This puts the Nordics on track to surpass $1B in investment raised this year for the first ever time (as predicted in our 2014 analysis), as investors continue to realise the wealth of opportunities that exist in the regions Startups. In fact, it's possible that the $1B mark will be easily passed, as Q1 is traditionally one of the quieter quarters for investment. If we follow 2014's trajectory with Q1's investment 20.78% of the year's total, then this would put 2015 on course for surpassing $1.5B in investment and bringing The Nordics nearly par with the UK and Germany as Europe's 'richest' tech hubs. 


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