A look at Sweden’s startup scene as Techstars drops the Stockholm program

    If the global venture capital market contracts after a historic investment boom, the downturn has a different impact on each start-up market. While we’ve been focusing most of our attention lately on the United States startup ecosystem, it’s time to broaden our perspective.

    And narrow our focus. In the wake of Techstars decision to discontinue its Swedish accelerator program, decided to delve into the country’s startup scene to understand how a smaller enterprise market is adapting to a changing investment climate.

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    Sweden, with a population roughly that of Michigan in the United States, punches above its weight both culturally and in business. Any fan of harder music will praise towering Swedish heavy metal giants like At The Gates, In Flames, Amon Amarth and Meshuggah. Business-wise, Zettle, Ikea, Klarna and Spotify all call Sweden home.

    It is therefore clear that while the Swedish people do not make it an instant superpower, it is a country with a history of creating and building things that the world welcomes. That certainly creates a good foundation for future startup activities; After all, Spotify is worth $25 billion on its own. Why can’t the country’s founders repeat this feat?

    Techstars CEO MaĆ«lle Gavet declined to comment on the choice to leave Sweden on the record. So today we look at Sweden with a focus on the Techstars exit and how local venture and startup actors see it. We want to know if there are improving conditions for the decision that will help us better track Techstars’ call, as well as the European startup market in general and Sweden’s in particular.

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