Top 10 Nordic Startups to Watch

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The Nordic region has always grabbed eyeballs when it comes to cutting-edge innovations and start-ups in almost every sphere. The area is most well-known for its array of FinTech startups – one in every ten of the world’s leading FinTechs on the Global FinTech Index by Findexable have their roots in these Scandinavian countries of Northern Europe.

The mountainous region which was once known better for its fjords now has a thriving startup ecosystem due to a seamless collaborative model between communities, infrastructural entities, private players and governments. Though the Nordic made a late entry into mass entrepreneurship compared to Western leaders, the escalating investments in the native startups of Scandinavia paint a vibrant picture.

Most Norwegian startups are profoundly focussed on offering sustainable solutions to financial, social and environmental challenges, resting on the pillars of technology and trust. The following 10 startups, however, have emerged as the most talked-about due to their exceptional premises and massive potential for traction and growth.

Axo Finans

Bringing much-needed ease, cost-effectiveness and simplification to loan applications for customers, Axo Finans is a leading-edge FinTech in the personal lending domain. The startup currently has a notable presence in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, and acts as a digital broker helping customers fill out and send loan applications to multiple banks without hassles.

Axo Finans was established in Oslo in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008. Ever since it has grown consistently with its one-of-a-kind promise of non-binding offers and friction-free service to customers. Racking up revenue of 250+ MNOK with proven results, the startup was sold to US-based private equity firm Corsair Capital in 2019 by founders Stig Arff and Morten Armand Johansen.

NyBy

Catering to the quite underserved section of healthcare staff, NyBy allows healthcare workers to reach out to qualified citizens and volunteers for supporting the most vulnerable through errands, social needs, assisted trips to the doctor, and so on.

NyBy’s resource collaboration platform is helping the ageing population and scarcity of healthcare workers, especially during the pandemic. The variety of participants is quite inspiring – from politicians to nurses, labour unions to unemployment offices. On the principles of empathy and collaboration, NyBy is consistently expanding its mission-driven startup to help patients, healthcare workers as well as interested citizens.

reMarkable

Based on the good old love for pen and paper when it comes to penning down thoughts, reMarkable is helping people focus better with one of the world’s first Paper Tablets. These tablets look and feel like paper can be used for reading, writing and sketching without distracting notifications for a healthier focus.

Launched in 2017, remarkable has had one of the most successful pre-order campaigns in the world of tech startups. The Norwegian company operates across Europe, Asia, Oceania and America today, and saw a massive $15 million Series A round with Spark Capital two years ago. Recently, remarkable launched the world’s thinnest tablet, which soon got listed in the Time’s Best Inventions of 2020.

Tibber

One of the only Digital Energy ventures in the world so far, Tibber is already a noted market leader helping people reduce their electricity consumption, and thus energy bills, through smart technology. The startup was founded in 2016 and has already helped more than 100k customers control their energy usage using locally produced renewable resources.

Tibber is currently operating across Norway, Sweden and Germany. Its impressive business model speaks of its dedication to its customers and the environment – the startup has vowed not to make profits out of selling energy. Tibber has seen backing from leading investors, including Founders Fund, Balderton Capital and Eight Roads Ventures, closing a $65 million Series B funding round in 2020.

Klarna

Sweden’s online banking revolution Klarna made it to the headlines as Europe’s largest FinTech Unicorn of 2020 recently. Founded in 2005 by Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Niklas Adalberth and Victor Jacobsson, Klarna handles more than 40% of the total financial transactions taking place in Sweden today.

The startup focuses on providing all-in-one online payment solutions to customers to make online shopping a hassle-free experience. Today, Klarna is keenly expanding its services to connect 90 million active consumers with 250,000+ merchants across 17+ countries through flexible financial solutions. The startup is backed by principal investors such as Sequoia Capital, Silver Lake, Dragoneer, Atomico, Bestseller Group, Visa and Ant Group.

Unloc

With the advent of smart technology for home efficiency and automation, Unloc makes the handling and sharing of keys easier for people over the digital medium. Users can store all their keys in the form of an application. Sending out simple text messages to partners, children, residents, delivery persons, caretakers, and so on could grant them safe access instantly.

Unloc was founded in 2017 and has attracted top talents from Facebook, Google, Airbnb and Goldman Sachs down the years. Working on the principles of freedom and initiative, the startup has expanded its operations to Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Benelux. The digital locksmiths have received the backing of major investors such as Axel Johnson, OBOS and Schibsted.

SafetyWing

Dwelling on the here-to-stay culture of working from home, SafetyWing offers insurance cover to remote workforces in this digitally connected age. The startup has an exclusive range of Nomad Insurance and Remote Health products for people who wish to work across cities, countries or even continents.

SafetyWing itself also operates on a completely remote mode – its diverse team of 35 members is working across three continents fully remote. Founded in 2017, the company’s premise saw greater welcoming in the wake of the global pandemic. SafetyWing has recently raised $8 million in Series A investment rounds, with prominent names on the table being Creandum, by founders and Rocketship.

No Isolation

Realising the far-reaching impact of social isolation and loneliness in the fast-paced world of today, No Isolation is helping reduce involuntary loneliness through communication tools and knowledge sharing.

The platform targets vulnerable social groups, such as children and young adults with long-term illnesses or senior citizens above the age of 80. No Isolation has garnered a lot of praise for its path-breaking inventions of Av1 and KOMP. While the former is a telepresence robot that has helped thousands of children and young adults across Europe, KOMP is dedicated to seniors as a one-button communication device.

The company received its Seal of Excellence from the European Commission in 2016 for its commendable efforts towards a much-neglected societal concern. It also holds valuable partnerships with the Norwegian Cancer Society, Oslo University, telecom giant Telia and several hospitals across the Nordic region.

TOOL: The Ocean Opportunity Lab

With its focus on environmental conservation and sustainability, TOOL is helping build a resilient ecosystem for the ocean and renewable energy industries. The Norwegian startup has partners and members spread across 22 countries and run five interlinked projects inspired by the functioning of coral reefs.

Just like coral reefs help small fishes survive and thrive until they are ready to face the open ocean waters, TOOL hosts a floating lab and hub for innovators, helping them grow. The startup has particularly garnered much attention with its emphasis on diversity – TOOL hired as interns both recent university graduates and retired seniors.

Whereby

Another Top 10 Nordic startup based on the growing trend of remote work is Whereby, which offers easy and flexible video meetings, video conferencing and screen-sharing facilities. There is no need for any installs or downloads when using Whereby, besides the advantages of greater freedom, security and ease of use.

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