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Aleksander
Jess
Business
13.06.2024 | 8 min

Startup Seed Financing in Scandinavia

We have already written about getting your startup funded in the later stages. Now, we have a no faff guide for getting additional money in the early stages of your business. It’s one of the most important times for your young business, as it’s (usually) the time to build a feasible business based on an initial idea, and solid data. Below, you will find a list of ways to get seed funding for your early stage startup in Scandinavia.

Startup Seed Financing in Scandinavia - 2024 43
Table of Contents
  • 1. Government Grants and Programs
  • 2. Angel Investors
  • 3. Startup accelerators
  • Research and Academic Institutions
  • Conclusion

1. Government Grants and Programs

The governments of Scandinavian countries offer numerous programs and provide various grants for entrepreneurs. If your company is based in Sweden, you will want to look at Vinnova’s website. Vinnova is a Swedish innovation agency that “opens the way for innovation that provides sustainable solutions and strengthens Swedish competitiveness.” Recently, they have invested in 6G.

If, on the other hand, your business is based in Norway, take a look at what “Innovation Norway” offers. The organization provides startups with grants, loans, knowledge, and other resources for further growth.

Lastly, if you happen to be in Denmark, then take a look at

Overall, government programs offer great opportunities for fueling innovation. If you do receive financial support from any of the government organizations, you won’t have to repay it, or the repayment will be much cheaper than in the case of commercially available options.

2. Angel Investors

Angel investors play an important role in the early-stage funding landscape, providing not only capital but also valuable mentorship and, more importantly, industry connections. Here are key points to consider when seeking angel investment in Scandinavia:

Who Are Angel Investors?

Angel investors are typically affluent individuals who invest their personal funds in early-stage startups in exchange for equity. They are often experienced entrepreneurs or professionals who bring more than just financial support; they offer strategic advice, mentorship, and access to their network, which can be invaluable for a fledgling business.

Why Seek Angel Investors?

  1. Financial Support: Angel investors can provide the necessary seed capital to get your business off the ground.
  2. Mentorship and Expertise: Angels usually have substantial industry experience and can offer guidance on business strategy, operations, and growth.
  3. Networking Opportunities: Angel investors can open you the doors to potential customers, partners, and further investment rounds through their networks.

Angel Investor Networks in Scandinavia

To find angel investors, you can tap into various networks and associations that facilitate connections between startups and investors. Here are some notable networks:

Finding the Right Angel Investor

When seeking angel investment, it's essential to find the right fit for your business. Consider the following steps:

  1. Research: Identify angel investors who have a history of investing in your industry or type of business.
  2. Networking: Attend startup events, pitch nights, and industry conferences to meet potential investors.
  3. Pitch Preparation: Prepare a compelling pitch that clearly outlines your business model, market opportunity, financial projections, and the value you offer.
  4. Due Diligence: Ensure that the investor's values, goals, and investment philosophy align with your business vision.

Success Stories

Numerous Scandinavian startups have successfully leveraged angel investment to grow their businesses. For example, companies like Skype and Spotify received early backing from angel investors, which played a pivotal role in their eventual success.

By understanding the landscape and leveraging networks like NordicBAN, you can effectively connect with angel investors who can provide the critical support needed to propel your startup forward.

3. Startup accelerators

Startup accelerators and incubators play a pivotal role in nurturing early-stage businesses by providing seed funding, mentorship, and valuable resources. These programs are designed to help startups refine their business models, accelerate growth, and prepare for future funding rounds. Here's an overview of prominent accelerators and incubators in Scandinavia:

What Are They?

Accelerators typically offer time-bound programs (usually 3-6 months) that include mentorship, educational workshops, and access to investors. They often culminate in a demo day where startups pitch to potential investors. Accelerators may provide seed funding in exchange for equity.

Incubators offer more extended support, often without a fixed timeline. They provide office space, business services, mentorship, and sometimes seed funding, helping startups develop their ideas into viable businesses.

Benefits of Accelerators and Incubators

  1. Seed Funding: Many programs provide initial capital to help startups get off the ground.
  2. Mentorship: Access to experienced mentors who can offer guidance on various aspects of business development.
  3. Networking: Opportunities to connect with other entrepreneurs, industry experts, and potential investors.
  4. Resources and Services: Access to office space, legal services, marketing support, and more.
  5. Structured Programs: Educational workshops and training sessions to help refine business strategies and improve operational efficiency.

Prominent Accelerators and Incubators in Scandinavia

Sweden

  • Sting: Based in Stockholm, Sting offers comprehensive support through its incubator and accelerator programs, focusing on high-growth startups in various sectors.
  • SUP46: Stockholm-based SUP46 (Start-Up People of Sweden) provides a community and co-working space for startups, along with access to investors and industry partners.
  • Fast Track Malmö: This accelerator helps startups with seed funding, mentorship, and access to a network of investors, aiming to accelerate their growth within a short period.

Denmark

  • Accelerace: One of Europe's leading accelerators, Accelerace offers a range of programs for startups in various industries, providing mentorship, seed funding, and access to a vast network of investors and partners.
  • Founders House: Located in Copenhagen, Founders House is a co-working space and community for tech startups, offering networking opportunities and access to experienced entrepreneurs and investors.
  • Rainmaking Loft: Also based in Copenhagen, Rainmaking Loft provides office space, mentorship, and resources for startups, focusing on fostering innovation and growth.

Norway

  • StartupLab: Located in Oslo, StartupLab is an incubator and early-stage investor that supports tech startups with office space, mentorship, and access to a network of investors.
  • Aleap: A health tech incubator based in Oslo, Aleap offers specialized support for startups in the health and life sciences sectors, including mentorship, office space, and access to industry-specific resources.
  • TheFactory: An accelerator and incubator that focuses on fintech, proptech, and related industries, TheFactory offers programs that include seed funding, mentorship, and access to a network of investors and partners.

How to Choose the Right Program

Selecting the right accelerator or incubator depends on your startup's specific needs and goals. Consider the following factors:

  1. Industry Focus: Choose programs that specialize in your industry or sector for tailored support and resources.
  2. Location: Consider the geographical location and its proximity to your target market or industry hubs.
  3. Program Offerings: Evaluate the type of support, mentorship, and resources provided by the program.
  4. Alumni Success: Research the success stories of past participants to gauge the program's effectiveness.
  5. Network and Connections: Look for programs with strong connections to investors, industry experts, and potential partners.

Research and Academic Institutions

Universities and research institutions in Scandinavia play a crucial role in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. They provide funding, resources, and support for spin-offs and research-based startups, helping bridge the gap between academic research and commercial success. Here’s an overview of how these institutions can support your business:

Role of Research and Academic Institutions

Academic institutions often have dedicated programs and funds aimed at nurturing innovative projects and supporting the commercialization of research. These initiatives can include seed funding, mentorship, access to specialized facilities, and networking opportunities. They are designed to help researchers and students turn their ideas into viable businesses.

Benefits of Engaging with Academic Institutions

  1. Access to Funding: Many universities offer grants, seed funding, and investment opportunities for research-based startups.
  2. Mentorship and Expertise: Access to experienced faculty, researchers, and industry experts who can provide valuable guidance and mentorship. That’s especially valuable if you run a high-tech startup or are monetizing a breakthrough.
  3. State-of-the-Art Facilities: Use of advanced laboratories, research facilities, and technical resources that may be otherwise inaccessible.
  4. Collaborative Environment: Opportunities to collaborate with other researchers, startups, and industry partners.
  5. Networking Opportunities: Connections to a broader network of academics, industry experts, investors, and potential partners.

Prominent Programs and Initiatives in Scandinavia

Sweden

  • KTH Innovation: The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm offers the KTH Innovation program, which supports students, researchers, and employees in developing and commercializing their innovations. The program provides funding, business development support, and access to a network of mentors and industry partners.

Denmark

  • DTU Skylab: The Danish Technical University (DTU) hosts DTU Skylab, an innovation hub that supports student- and researcher-driven startups. Skylab offers funding, prototyping facilities, workshops, and access to a community of innovators and entrepreneurs.

Norway

  • NTNU TTO: The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has a Technology Transfer Office (TTO) that helps researchers commercialize their inventions. NTNU TTO provides funding, patent assistance, business development support, and connections to industry partners.
  • UiO Growth House: The University of Oslo’s Growth House supports innovation and entrepreneurship among students and researchers. It offers funding, mentorship, workshops, and access to a network of industry experts.

How to Leverage Academic Support

  1. Identify Relevant Programs: Research and identify programs and initiatives at universities and institutions that align with your project or business idea.
  2. Engage Early: Engage with these programs early in your development process to take full advantage of the resources and support available.
  3. Collaborate with Researchers: Consider collaborating with academic researchers to enhance the technical aspects of your project and leverage their expertise.
  4. Utilize Facilities: Make use of the state-of-the-art facilities and technical resources provided by these institutions to advance your R&D efforts.
  5. Seek Mentorship: Tap into the mentorship and advisory resources offered by faculty and industry experts associated with these programs.

Conclusion

Securing seed funding for a business in Scandinavia can be approached through various avenues, each offering unique benefits and opportunities. No matter the path you choose, when you will have to hire trusted technology partners, know that you can get in touch with us, and we will be more than happy to help you with your software & design issues.

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