• Sweden's news in English
Women zoom into Swedish startup accelerator spots
Lisa Kjellqvist is CEO of Sniph, one of the winning firms. Photo: Sting/private

Women zoom into Swedish startup accelerator spots

Maddy Savage · 18 Feb 2016, 18:52

Published: 18 Feb 2016 11:05 GMT+01:00
Updated: 18 Feb 2016 18:52 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Sweden may have a fast-growing reputation as one of the best places on earth to launch a startup, but most businesses still need capital to get off the ground.

That's why some 170 startups battled it out in the first investment round of 2016 by leading Stockholm incubator Sting last month.

The results are in and eight new entrepreneurial ventures have been selected to receive funding and for the first time, these include four firms led or co-founded by women.

Their companies include a digital platform to book and manage professional models, a subscription service for perfume lovers and an interactive events calendar for long-distance runners.

Peo Nilsson, programme manager and business coach at Sting Accelerate said he was "very excited about the diversified teams this spring", adding that there was also a "good spread of age and origin" that would help promote a strong group dynamic.

Each winning startup is set to receive an investment of 300,000 kronor (around $35,500) from Sting's angel-backed investment company Propel Capital. They'll also get 20 weeks of intensive coaching and the chance to move into one of Stockholm's leading co-working hubs for digital startups, SUP46.

"We are really looking forward to working closely with Sting during the spring, to increase the speed of growth in Sweden and globally," said Laura Lilja, CEO and co-founder of YouModels.

Laura Lilja, CEO and co-founder of YouModels. Photo: Sting/private

Sting's investment in female entrepreneurs comes amid a government push to encourage companies to boost the number of women on boards in Sweden and efforts to persuade more girls to pursue careers in tech.

Despite the country's image as a leading nation when it comes to gender equality, three quarters of all board members in the Nordic nation are men.

But Nilsson told The Local that Sting had not actively sought out more women for its latest funding round.

"We don't have any quotas or so, we simply try to select the best companies (...) it is usually about two out of eight that have women co-founders," he said.

"But I think that you could argue that we are pretty conscious when it comes to finding startups where at least one of the co-founders is a woman. We do that in a range of ways from sponsoring different events to word-of-mouth (...) getting into the right communities and events to tell women we are here to help."

The latest coaching programme from Sting is its sixth similar bi-annual initiative. Half of the startups selected in an earlier round in spring 2014 also had female founders, but were not offered any capital.

According to Startup Hubs Europe, Stockholm is home to roughly 8,000 startups, employing around 52,000 people.

The European Digital City Index for 2015 rated the Swedish capital third best in Europe for startups and second best for scaleups – the next step after the first phase, where a company has figured out a good business model and wants to expand.

Stockholm also boasts the largest number of billion dollar companies per capita outside of Silicon Valley, according to investment firm Atomico.

Here is how Sting describes its winners

Gaddr makes it up to 25 times faster to add and follow a friend, business, influencer or other person’s social media profiles. 
CEO: Francisco Andreasson

Marqts.com makes it easier for investors to understand financial information so they can make better investment decisions.
CEO: Joakim Höglund (co-founded by Linda Kvarnström)

Story continues below…

Match2One makes it easier for advertisers to make automated and hyper-targeted purchases of ad inventory – also called programmatic marketing. 
CEO: Mikael Kreuger.

Mi.tv is the fastest growing online/mobile TV guide in Latin America. 
CEO: Fredrik Hellström.

Sniph is a smart subscription service for perfume, which makes it easy to discover new scents. 
CEO: Lisa Kjellqvist.

Teleguru is a fast-growing telecommunications website that is targeting the Polish market (58 million active SIM-cards). 
CEO: Filip Wisnander.

Worldsmarathons.com is the starting place for all long-distance runners from beginners to elite. In the comprehensive event calendar, runners can discover new challenging marathons and exciting destinations.
CEO: Charlotte Melchert.

YouModels.com is an online platform for booking and managing models with agency contracts. YouModels’ unique search engine allows advertisers to easily find and “book the look” without multiple contact points at different agencies. 
CEO: Laura Lilja.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Maddy Savage (maddy.savage@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Swedish football diehard who went viral doesn't get the fuss
Possibly the most dedicated fan in the world. Photo: Patric Söderström/TT

A picture of Gefle IF celebrating with the only fan to make a 1164km round trip to see them has gone viral. The Local spoke to the diehard in question.

Julian Assange
Sweden won't suspend Assange warrant for funeral
Assange has been in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012. Photo: Alastair Grant/AP

The WikiLeaks founder has requested a temporary suspension of an arrest warrant so he could leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London for a funeral.

'I want to see women priests in the Catholic Church'
Archbishop Antje Jackelén meeting Pope Francis earlier in 2016. Photo: L'Osservatore Romano/AP

'I told the pope last year during a speech it is time to no longer speak for women about women, but to speak with women,' Sweden's Archbishop says.

Sweden one of world's easiest places to do business: report
A meeting at a Stockholm office. Photo: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

It is easier to do business in Sweden now than it was last year, according to a World Bank report.

This Swede has built a procrastinator's dream
Anders Åberg has built a website that allows you to hear what’s going on above the Earth. Photo: Personal & NASA

Ever wondered what's going on in the sky above the earth and in space? Now you can hear for yourself.

Presented by Malmö Tourism
Seven reasons why Malmö is the football capital of Sweden
Players from FC Rosengård, Sweden's most successful women's football team. Photo: Hangsna

It’s official, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.

Fake police car driver seized after confronting real police
File photo of a police car. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Three men in a fake police car were left red-faced after they tried to stop a man in southern Sweden who turned out to be an off-duty officer.

This tiny bird can fly for ten months straight: scientists
The common swift while not in flight. Photo: Madis Veskimeister/Wikimedia

Swedish scientists have found that this bird stays in the air for almost a year without landing.

Why the Pope is visiting Sweden next week
Pope Francis in the Vatican. Photo: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

Pope to nail reconciliation agenda to Lutherans' door in southern Sweden.

The Local Recipes
How to make no-knead sourdough bread like a Swede
No-knead sourdough bread. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Swedes love their sourdough bread. Food writer John Duxbury shares his favourite Swedish recipe for a no-knead loaf.

Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
People-watching: October 26th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available