Institute for Digital Business

Startup culture in Stockholm – The minimal valuable product

August 2, 2022

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By Ilona Grau-Tschopp.

Will perfectionism fail your startup? Or how the Swedish expression of Lagom (good enough), summarizes the minimal valuable product theory. We went to Stockholm for our CAS Digital Masterclass study tour to find out more.

 The Swedish culture

In the beginning of July 2021, our group of the CAS Digital Masterclass went under the lead of Manuel Nappo and Oliver Flückiger to Stockholm to find out more about the startup culture in Sweden. Stockholm is considered as one of the leading startup capitals in the Nordics, being the birthplace to many successful companies such as Spotify, King (Candy Crush), Klarna and Mojang (Minecraft). Furthermore, it has also the second highest number of unicorns (startups valued at €1 bil or more) per capita in the world (behind Silicon valley). But why is that so? Sebastian Fuchs, CEO and co-founder of the startup hub SUP46 in Stockholm gave us a first overview. Half of the Swedes are educated to a tertiary level and Sweden is one of the most gender equal countries. They are early adopters and have one of the most digitally advanced economies in the Gustav Henriksson, head of the Trade Section at the Swiss Embassy and Switzerland Global Enterprise explained us more about the Swedish business culture and introduced us to the concept of ‘Lagom’, which means good enough in Swedish. If it is good enough, go out there and launch it.

Which skills do we need in the future?

Consequently we met Heidi Rundt, managing director of Hyper Island. Their slogan: Rise to the challenge and learn for life. This is definitely not your average school, but an international learning hub. Hence it is focused on real life knowledge people need nowadays. This is why classes are designed by a project leader who finds an expert and together they define the speakers and industry company partner. Ulrika Hallström of the Swiss Swedish Innovation Initiative (SSII) presented ongoing collaborations between Sweden and Switzerland. Therefore, SSII is on the forefront of the next industry trends. Their next big event on additive manufacturing and lightweight technoloy is coming up in November ’21 in Neuchâtel.

Work Life Balance Startups

Deedster helps companies support their employees to live a more sustainable life for a better future for all of us. It is an environment startup, where users can calculate their carbon footprint and can join challenges to improve it. Another resident at SUP46, is Swiftly, an online job platform, where the employees can make a profile and their skills (soft and hard) are matched with potential jobs. The employer receives an anonymized profile without name, gender or ethnicity and can invite the employee to an interview. Swiftly helps employees to realize their skills better and suggest them jobs accordingly.

Low code makes the world easier

Out of this Stepen Bryant presented Lolo, which serves as a foundation for your platform. Lolo is used to build IP infrastructure and microservices across global data centers. Furthermore, we met Fredrik Lindqvist, CEO of Flow Factory, which offers low code business applications, which can speed up your development. No need anymore to program everything from scratch.

Privatsphäre im Zeitalter von Big Data

 Further online startups

With the seemingless endless technological possibilities, many startups are digital, such as Comentum. Comentum is short for co-created momentum for the health care sector. As a result they help hospitals with innovation and matching the customers needs with technological possibilities. User engagement is the new reach, at least Society Icon proves that. A platform for influencer marketing, where brands can post their campaigns and icons (aka influencers) can upload their content and participate in them. And finally, we visited Andreas Ahlenius from Doors, digitalizing the concert experience. In 2020 €497mil was spent on virtual concert tickets and it is estimated that it reaches a global revenue of €5’212 Mil by 2027. Doors organizes the online event and takes care of the VAT and license fees in the audience country. What are you waiting for? The beat is on.

Hardware Startups

However, your next startup doesn’t need to be an app. We also dreamt of space together with Aurora Propulsion Technology, who powers satellites from the steering, to engines to the brakes. On the other side, Jasmine Lundqvist from Base of Sweden is revolutionizing the make up world with a foundation that is water and sun proofed. Additionally, it has no silicons, no parabens and is not tested on animals. What is there not to love about that? And finally we went on a ride through Stockholm with Shanin Ghazinouri from Voi, the scooters you can rent in many major cities in Europe. Currently, they have 70’000 active scooters and need 2-3 rides per scooter per day to break even. Thanks to the close collaboration with the local authorities, they were able to rapidly grow.

What we can learn from Sweden?

All of the visited companies incorporated ‘Lagom’: launch your startup while testing. Don’t perfect your product without showing it to anyone. As without feedback, you will be the only person it will perfectly fit to. Switzerland could learn from the openness towards digitalization in Sweden, as the openness for innovation creates a culture of first movers. In conclusion, be open, stay curious and celebrate each other’s success.

hej då.


This blog post was written as part of the CAS Digital Masterclass and has been edited by the Institute for Digital Business.

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