The Briefing: September

In addition to our regular curation of all of the investments, acquisitions and top stories from each month, from now on we will also be providing a more in-depth look at what we consider the most significant investment, exit and news from that month too. So, without further ado, here's your briefing for September.

The Investment

Linkfire raises €2.3 million after impressive growth in the music industry

I used to sit next to Linkfire in a co-working space in Copenhagen, when they were just a couple of guys with an impressive, but fairly generic deep-linking tool, which shortened links and provided marketeers with detailed analytics of link performance.

Roll on a year or so, and the Linkfire team have sharpened their focus and after seeing some traction in the music industry decided to go all-in and focus on it. And so far, it seems like that decision is paying off.

They've already partnered with the world's biggest record labels like Universal, Warner Music and Sony, and artists as renowned as the Rolling Stones are now using Linkfire to promote their music online.

By using Linkfire artists can send out one link, and the end user can then choose the music service of their choice to listen to the track(s) on, making the listening process easier for the end user, but also allowing the artists to just post a link without having to worry about what proportion of their audience is using Spotify, or Soundcloud, or Apple Music, if they posted a direct link to one of those services.

Northcap led the €2.3 million round, with support from a group of angels, with money also coming in the form of a syndication loan by the Danish Growth Fund (Vækstfonden). Interestingly, it is my understanding that Linkfire's round was hotly contested, but that they chose to go with the Danish Growth Fund over several local VC's due to the superior terms. For the Danish Growth Fund to be beating local VC's to invest in one of Denmark's hottest early-stage companies really says something about the state of the local investment scene there. 

The Exit

Sweden's Bambora acquires Norwegian dsafe

Norwegian fintech startup dsafe were picked up by Swedish payment company Bambora. We've long been talking about the fledgling fintech scene in the Nordics, and this exit, albeit within the Nordics, and likely to have been for a relative small amount, demonstrates the potential in the Nordic fintech scene right now. DSafe specialise in gamification loyalty programmes, with real-time analytics, and can boast of a customer base of 5000 in Norway already. Bambora already own several payment companies within their umbrella and it will be interesting to watch if they look to acquire other Nordic fintech startups going forward.

The Story

Subway Surfers passes 1 billion downloads, and has 27 million daily active users

Kiloo are one of the Danish tech scene's biggest successes but continue to go under the radar, however, that might not be the case for much longer, as they announced that they passed one billion downloads of their game Subway Surfers and can boast 27 million daily active users.

One reason for the fact they continue to escape the media limelight is likely to do with their approach to their business, they concentrate on the gaming side rather than the business side, and are pretty open about this. Therefore they don't have the same revenue that other Nordic companies that are considered huge successes such as King do, but they have built up an extremely loyal following.

Also, they've operated the company for 15 years, so their model is clearly working, especially when they can post such impressive numbers. If the spotlight does now increase on them, it will be fascinating to watch if this does affect their principles. Either way, we'll certainly be including them when we are asked who Denmark's biggest tech successes are.


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