Q4 funding analysis: A record quarter for number of investments

Q4 saw a total of 132 investments totalling $362.25 million

As the year draws to a close, funding activity traditionally slows down, but not in 2015, not in the Nordics. While the amount invested was not particularly eye popping for what we've become accustomed to in 2015, the amount of investments certainly was, as Q4 saw an incredible 132 investments, which is 72.93% of the total amount of investments we saw in the whole of 2014, really pressing home the point that the number of investments in Nordic startups is still significantly increasing

We'll look into this more when we release our yearly funding analysis for 2015 next Monday, but for now let's take a deeper look at the last quarter of the year, starting with the ten biggest investments. 

Whereas the top 10 investments in Q3 contributed to 75% of the total, in Q4, they accounted for 61.64% of the total, showing that the 'success' of this quarter was more about the collective number of investments rather than any huge individual rounds, although of course Siteimprove's $55 million is certainly not to be sniffed at. Rather interestingly, all five Nordic countries had a company present in the top 10 largest investments of the quarter, demonstrating that all countries have the ability to attract larger rounds. This also meant that we saw a fairer split of where the money went than we normally do:

It's also worth looking at the breakdown by number of investments too, as this can change the picture of how individual countries fared quite significantly, for example, Finland saw a large number of investments this quarter, meaning it was a very promising one for them, but because they were mainly pre-seed and seed investments, this was not necessarily reflected by simply looking at the amounts that each country saw.

As suggested by the make-up of the top 10 largest investments this quarter and the pure number of investments, there was not as much late-stage funding rounds as we normally see, meaning that early stage investments (pre-seed and seed) accounted for approximately 85% of the money invested in Q4. 

After threatening to do so over the last year or so, Nordic Fintech startups finally saw the most investments in a quarter, as the Nordics continues to produce strong companies in this area. An area that the Nordics have always been typically associated with is gaming, and after gradually attracting less and less investments each quarter over the last 18 months, gaming came back with a vengeance in Q4, with 11 Nordic startups in this area attracting investment, I'm very interested to see whether this will continue in 2016 or whether this was a one-off spike. 

In addition to our yearly analysis for the region, we will also be releasing yearly funding analyses for each of the five Nordic countries over the next couple of weeks too. For now though, here's a snapshot of the top investments and the stage at which the money was invested in each one in Q4.

In terms of average round sizes across the region, seed rounds were slightly up on Q3, however, Series A round sizes dropped down to the lowest we've seen them in 2015, something we'll keep a close eye on in 2016. Series C were a nice and healthy $30 million+, which is promising for those looking to raise larger later rounds. 

We've long established that this quarter was a spectacular one for the sheer number of investments, but just how much of an improvement was it from Q4 the previous year? Well, the answer is significantly so, with 175% growth year on year. 

In conclusion:

  • We've never seen so many investments in a quarter, demonstrating an increase in early-stage investments.
  • Big funding rounds were scarce this quarter.
  • Iceland and Norway are beginning to see more consistency with investments, registering consistent amounts each quarter, although this was a particularly strong quarter for Iceland.
  • Fintech is now firmly established as an attractive area for investment in the Nordics.

As said above, we will now be analysing the funding year as a whole from next week both for the region and for the individual countries, so look out for that, but in the meantime:


If you really want to keep on top of what's happening in The Nordic startup scene, then sign up to our weekly newsletter where we curate all of the need-to-knows news from the region

In the tech world, things move fast and companies are born anywhere in the world. I’m able to have an ear to the ground with The Nordic Web - the content is fresh, local, and of high quality, which is exactly what you need as a seed investor.

In fact, it’s through Neil Murray’s newsletter that I first heard about Mapillary. Several months later, I was fortunate to lead our firm’s investment in the Company to help drive the creation of a crowdsourced visual representation of our world
— Nathan Benaich, Playfair Capital