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Stockholm: Where successful startups are born

Referred to fondly as a ‘unicorn factory,’ Stockholm has gained worldwide recognition for breeding some of the most popular tech companies, such as Skype and Spotify, to name just a few. While it is considered Europe’s Silicon Valley, the Swedish capital possesses unique characteristics that have continued nurturing award-winning tech startups: flat organizational structures, a very open mentality, cultural diversity and support from the city.

The Stockholm Business Region has helped bring together many companies in different sectors and connects them with international investors. The group also works closely with the local business community to improve the city’s global competitiveness and strengthen cooperation among them.

With Stockholm Business Region CEO Olle Zetterberg

"We're called the tech city. The economy and growth has been very good especially when it comes to companies dealing with tech things. You can add tech to different parts of business here" said Stockholm Business Region CEO Olle Zetterberg.

Contributing to this environment of innovation is Epicenter, a collective working space and forum for the city’s tech entrepreneurs and established players to discuss the latest trends and possible points of collaboration.

With Epicenter CEO Patrick Mesterton (center) and Press Manager Julia Anjou (right)

Epicenter, which gained popularity for its cool office design and diversity of its members, was founded a few entrepreneurs who believed in the influence of the digital economy to accelerate change and transform society for the better.

"It is a meeting ground – a place for them to exchange ideas, learn from each other, and collaborate; all with the intention to grow digital business,” said Epicenter CEO Patrick Mesterton.

Meanwhile, with its crazy start-up story of sweat and daring, Tictail created an online shopping platform that empowers independent designers and small entrepreneurs reach a global market.

With Tictail CEO Carl Waldekranz

"We like to be part of this movement: to be at the forefront on this generation of entrepreneurship, to teach people and to give them the tools to be successful in their online business,” explained Tictail Co-founder and CEO Carl Waldekranz.

Like very many startups, TrueCaller was founded by college buddies, inspired by the life-changing potential of technology and the success of Skype. TrueCaller came about from a desire to improve the mobile phone experience by providing more information about callers.

"If we can build an identity platform where people can say ‘This is who I am. I want to connect this to my phone number’ and have that identity verified by the community, then hopefully, we have something people will need," said TrueCaller Co-founder and CEO Alan Mamedi.

With Truecaller CEO Alan Mamedi (center) and Director of Communications Kim Fai Kok (left)

With the customer information stored in the company's system, TrueCaller can become a perfect go-to platform to reach a business’s target audience.

One company that aims to add value to existing products is Shortcut Labs, which creates physical shortcuts to digital functions in mobile devices. Its maiden product is a wireless button that performs a pre-set task on a user’s phone, whether on the go, at home or at work.

Co-founder and COO Pranav Kosuri said: “It is really fun because you get all the smart people giving you ideas. Then you redevelop and incorporate all these new ideas into new functions."

Unlike all the abovementioned tech companies, Eytys is a sneaker company. But like them, the brand was started by childhood friends bent on producing innovative and creatively designed footwear.

Aside from perfect sneakers, the company also hopes to become an outlet for creative individuals to connect, interact and share ideas.

"A strong part of our DNA is to invite creative people from different fields and part of the entire process," said Eytys Co-founder and CEO Jonathan Hirschfeld.

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Sweden 2016 was prepared for and originally printed in Forbes Asia magazine.

PDF of the printed report

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