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    the nordic unicorn factory

stockholm is europe’s answer to silicon valley & here’s why

One thing is for sure: We’re not celebrating Stockholm’s tech scene as hard as we should be. According to eu-startups.com, the Swedish capital is “second only to Silicon Valley when it comes to the number of ‘unicorns’ it produces per capita” – the most recent example of this was Paypal acquiring Stockholm’s payments company iZettle for $2.2 billion in May. And no wonder — after all, in Stockholm “18% of the workforce work in high-tech related jobs” — the highest share of any city in Europe. Of course, Stockholm is also home to Kista Science City, a tech cluster that The Local claims is “known as the ‘Silicon Valley of Sweden.’” This isn’t an exaggeration: it’s the world’s second largest ICT cluster after Silicon Valley.

So why is Stockholm, a city with just over 950,000 people residing there, so successful at tech? One clear advantage the capital has over much of the rest of Europe is that the Swedish government is extremely active at fostering and protecting their startup ecosystem, offering government-backed funding programs for entrepreneurs. Others also argue that the country’s size is actually an advantage — 'Sweden is such a small country, we have to learn about the rest of the world fairly early on,' Ted Persson, design partner at investor EQT Ventures told Wired. Similarly, Inc points out that historically, Sweden has a record of being early adopters of tech. “Back in 1994, Stockholm built the world's largest open fiber network--giving all businesses the ability to tap into the infrastructure.” The publication claims this curiosity and appetite for tech has fostered a welcoming atmosphere meant an atmosphere welcoming to digital businesses.

All of this explains why me Convention’s Exploration Day (September 4) will feature a startup route. Organised in collaboration with STHLM TECH FEST 2018, the startup route will take participants to visit workplaces, coworking spaces and listen to talks from some of the scene’s biggest names, so you can get up to speed with one of Europe’s most impressive tech hubs. Startup Guides will also be launching their Stockholm guide as part of the program. We look forward to connecting with you over all things tech-related there! Register now to join us in Stockholm.

Disclaimer: The views of me Convention speakers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of either Mercedes-Benz and/or SXSW.