Swedish Tech Weekly #255

This newsletter was sent on April 29, 2024, to subscribers of Swedish Tech Weekly. To receive future editions, you can sign up for free on swedishtechweekly.com.

Welcome to the latest from Sweden's startup & tech sector.

I'm Martin Weigert. Swedish Tech Weekly brings you a selection of some of the news I covered in my PRO newsletters last week. Today's email is being sent to 2369 subscribers (+23).

Mergers & acquisitions

Klarna is offloading Hero, the UK-based virtual shopping platform it acquired in 2021 for reportedly SEK1.4B, to publicly traded Swedish video commerce outfit Bambuser, for a maximum amount of SEK15M (€1.3M, $1.4M) (English).

Funding news

COMIS (Stockholm; next-generation, tech-driven beauty brand initially focusing on delivering a disruptive self tanning device): SEK16M (€1.4M, $1.5M) from angel investors. COMIS was co-founded by Daniel Wellington founder Filip Tysander, who also is a major shareholder (Swedish / Breakit paywall).

Kontigo Care (Uppsala, digital tools for addiction care and psychiatry, publicly traded): SEK10.5M (€900K, $970K) before issue costs, through a directed share issue to the company's largest shareholder, the German investment firm ShapeQ (Swedish, machine translation).

Ngager (Gothenburg, employee engagement platform,): SEK10M (€860K, $920K) from undisclosed investors (Swedish, machine translation).

VISS.AI (Jönköping, upcoming "AI office worker, capable of automating everyday business tasks with high accuracy"): SEK7M (€600K, $650K) in pre-seed funding from Spintop Ventures and Starbright Invest. With this announcement, VISS.AI emerges from stealth mode (English, Swedish / Breakit paywall). ➡️ Company first covered on January 12 in my PRO subscription.

Goalplan (Stockholm, digital collaboration tool for teams and partners): SEK6M (€520K, $550K) from unspecified existing investors. This funding comes after a period of downsizing and cost-cutting (Swedish / Breakit paywall).

eRayzer (Falun, patented technology for improved use of light in the automotive industry): SEK3.5M (€300K, $320K) from First Gate Invest and angel investors. This funding will be used for the market introduction of the company's new take on auxiliary lights, planned for Q1 2025. ➡️ Funding first covered in my PRO subscription on April 26.

HyEnGen (Uppsala, developing new electrode technologies for the cost-efficient production of green hydrogen): SEK1M (€86K, $92K) in first equity funding from Uppsala University's UU Invest. ➡️ Funding first covered in my PRO subscription on April 22, company first covered there in December 2023.

By Mates (Stockholm, operator of the gaming platform Mates.gg and provider of a gaming-driven SaaS social impact solution): SEK500K (€43K, $46K) from THiS Group. By Mates just signed a major contract worth SEK1M with the City of Stockholm, for deploying its "digital youth recreation center" solution in the district Hässelby-Vällingby (Swedish, machine translation).

• EQT Ventures led a €2.7M pre-seed funding round raised by UK-based electric vehicle charging intelligence and analytics platform Camion (English).

I covered many more rounds, as well as more details, in my PRO newsletters last week.

News from Swedish startups & the tech sector

Speechless, a voice actor database and asset management tool for games operated by Stockholm-based startup Voicemachine, announced a new hybrid AI license, which combines real voice talent and generative AI: "Voice actors will benefit from this license by having their AI-generated voice earn a commission when it is licensed by developers" (English).

Cinter, a Lund-based startup spun off from AI & big data studio Backtick Technologies, launched its data lakehouse platform, after 12 months of development. ➡️ Company first covered in my PRO subscription in April 2023.

Future Ordering, Stockholm-based self-ordering platform for restaurants, is now enabling restaurants to offer delivery of food via Wolt from within their own sales channels, e.g. an app or website. The Swedish hamburger chain Max is the first to make use of this option (Swedish, machine translation).

• Profile of Stockholm-based instant payments fintech Brite and its Germany-born founder and CEO Lena Hackelöer. Brite raised the largest Series A round for a European fintech in 2023 (English).

• Truecaller, the publicly traded Swedish caller ID app company, made its in-house smart customer support assistant ZipZip AI available for third parties. According to Truecaller co-founder and CEO Alan Mamedi, the tool reduced the number of support tickets by 25% within one month, "with a high satisfaction score" (English).

Qred, Stockholm-based small business lending platform, is expanding its product offering to include savings accounts for individuals in Sweden. The company claims to offer "Sweden's highest interest on saving accounts with bank guarantee" (English).

• "We have surpassed 10,000 companies on Sana AI", writes founder and CEO Joel Hellermark in a LinkedIn post (English).

Weezly, a solution for creating personalized AI sales videos at scale and for booking meetings, launched an API, to allow users to create said videos "from anywhere or any tool" (English).

Bowter, Arvika-based electric boat brand and rental platform, is for the first time expanding outside of Sweden: The company will open a rental facility in Norway's capital Oslo, starting with four boats available to the public (Swedish).

Tibber, Swedish-Norwegian digital energy company, launches a rewards program for customers, who can get paid if they allow Tibber to temporarily pause the charging of their EV battery for grid balancing purposes (Swedish, machine translation).

Imsys, a publicly traded Swedish chipmaker with roots that trace back to the year 1981, is bankrupt (Swedish, machine translation).

Plexian, publicly traded Malmö-based creator of customer loyalty technology founded in 2017, is also bankrupt (Swedish, machine translation).

• Profile of RE:OCEAN, Swedish developer of a sustainable land-based fish farm to produce Sweden’s favorite fish — salmon. So far the company has raised SEK200M in equity funding, but it will need SEK3B in total (Swedish, machine translation).

Polarium, Stockholm-based developer of smart modular energy storage solutions, launched its first production site in Sweden, named X2 (English).

Infrabase.ai is a directory for discovering AI infrastructure tools, launched by Swedish product engineer Arvid Andersson.

• Natali Suo, co-founder of Gothenburg-based therapist-patient matchmaking platform for women Meela, has stepped down from her operational role at the company (English).

• Two years ago, the Stockholm-based open banking provider Tink officially became part of Visa, following a €1.8B acquisition. Now Tink's services have been launched in the US as Visa Open Banking Solutions (English).

• Spacetech startups lament lacking support from Sweden's national space agency (English).

• In a major partnership, Klarna will be added as a payment option on the Uber and Uber Eats apps in the US, Germany and Sweden (English).

Spotify reported Q1’24 results last week and stated that it will now be consistently profitable going forward (English). The report send shares higher, and co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek took the opportunity to sell more stock. Since last summer, he has cashed out approximately $340.5M in Spotify shares (English).

Embracer, the publicly-traded Karlstad-based video game holding company, plans to split itself into three distinct games and entertainment companies, which will be separate, publicly listed companies (English).

The Drop, the annual European climate tech conference in Malmö, has started releasing tickets to some who applied. Here's the waitlist. The event will take place on September 17, and be limited to 1000 tickets.

• Muhib Lafta, formerly co-founder and CEO of the Stockholm-based startup HappyLife, joined Swedish VC firm Backing Minds as investor (English).

• Profile of Salla Franzén, who has a PhD in mathematics and joined the Wallenberg ecosystem's Navigare Ventures as Investment Manager last summer (Swedish, no machine translation available).

Exclusives for PRO subscribers last week

PRO subscribers last week also read about these things (among many others), which have not been covered or curated elsewhere:

• Yet-to-be-announced eight-digit-funding round (SEK) raised by a Swedish fintech with over ten million users; round may be extended due to rapidly growing ARR.

• An under-the-radar startup from Stockholm in the AI drug discovery space raised first outside funding.

• Following Saveggy's recent funding, another Swedish startup in the same space raised first funding.

• Yet-to-be-announced Antler investment in a new Stockholm-based startup.

• Two Swedes have launched a search engine that uses AI to answer questions.

• Pitchdeck of a Swedish startup in the AI music space, which currently is raising a small round.

• Fresh annual revenue numbers and financial results from various startups.

• Access to exclusive Google Sheets with data on funding, new startups, and bankruptcies.

Join PRO, if you are an early-stage investor, analyst, or a sales exec.

Other interesting things from the startup/VC world & beyon

• European VC investment rose 5% year-on-year for the first quarter of 2024 (English).

• Power-hungry AI is putting the hurt on global electricity supply (English).

• AI companies are leading a transition from Software-as-a-Service to Service-as-Software (English).

• Contrarian takes on building a billion-dollar company, from the founder of largely bootstrapped Zapier (English).

• Telling the difference between the initial tortuous chaos at a startup that leads to unimaginable success, and initial chaos which leads nowhere at all, is hard (English).

• Lessons from repeat founders on starting over again (English).

• SaaS startups risk falling out of product-market-fit (English).

• Stockholm ranks #11 in the Smart City Index 2024, down one position from 2023. Gothenburg ranks #39, down three positions.

• Apple and RISE have in a joint research project developed a unique bio-based foam (English).

• Sales of heat pumps in Sweden in Q1 2024 were 43% lower than in the record Q1 of 2023 (Swedish, machine translation).

• A three-year research project at Mid Sweden University has made several advancements toward the autonomous airport of the future (English).

• Wool can help to replace fossil-based materials, yet more than half of all wool from Swedish farms is currently discarded. A new initiative wants to change that (English).

• Swedish Crown Princess Victoria will start an education as officer in the Armed Forces (Swedish, machine translation).

• Swedish gang criminals are reportedly systematically using the fintech apps Revolut and Wise for money laundering and transfers (Swedish, machine translation).

• The Swedish Transport Agency has given the green light to municipalities to operate drones, for example to capture visual material of the area (Swedish, machine translation).

• 🎧 Around 700,000 people in Sweden don't have a single close friend they can talk to, according to official figures. That number is twice as high for foreign born people. Radio Sweden captured some voices in central Uppsala (English).

This newsletter was sent on April 29, 2024, to subscribers of Swedish Tech Weekly. To receive future editions, you can sign up for free on swedishtechweekly.com.