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Space wanted: Sweden’s National Board of Housing estimates that Stockholm needs at least 25,000 new homes every year for the next decade


Ventures, which has invested in Einride, a start-up trying to automate and electrify freight transportation. Elsewhere, Swedish homegrown


giants—such as Northvolt, the lith- ium-ion battery start-up valued at almost $12bn, and global alternative dairy producer Oatly—add weight to the country’s green credentials. “The ‘Greta effect’ has acceler-


the largest share of a record €1.6bn invested in impact start-ups in the Nordic region, according to a Danske Bank report citingDealroom data.


ated this sustainability focus and had a huge impact on the start-up scene,” explains Ms Larsson, refer- ring to the prominent Swedish teen- age climate activist. In 2020, Sweden accounted for


Talent attraction MrJörnow,whoformerly led a team at King Digital, the Stockholm gam- ing start-up behind globally successful Candy Crush Saga, believes the open and non-hierarchicalSwedish culture has helped build effective teamsand attract international talent. “There is a very sound culture


that enables high-skilled tech com- panies to thrive,” he claims, noting the ubiquity of English in the office and the importance placed on work-


life balance and paternity leave. Other draws include good health- care, education and a strong social safety net that enables founders to takemore risks. Several large exits in Sweden’s


gaming industry are another marker of success, with publicly-listed Stillfront andEmbracer growing fromStockholm into a global suite of studios. King andMojang, the devel- oper behind Minecraft, were also acquired for multi-billion dollar price tags by Activision Blizzard and Microsoft, respectively. Even with success stories and a


more international talent pool in Stockholm, Ms Schultz thinks it is easier to hire in other hubs such as Berlin, London or NewYork. “You have to really convince people to move to Stockholm,” she says. A common complaint is that


employee share ownership struc- tures in Sweden could be stream- lined, with many start-ups unable to offer attractive stock option pack- ages to attract and retain top talent.


Housing shortage As a fairly small city, Stockholm is knownfor its ease of navigationand dense start-up community.MsBendz says that founders and newinvestors


August/September 2021 www.fDiIntelligence.com


“canget to knowthe key players fairly easily, and people are generous with taking time tomeet and grab coffee”. But with compactnesscomes chal-


lenges. Stockholm’s long-termshort- age of affordable housing is dissuad- ing entrepreneurs frommoving to the city.MsLarssonsays this presents a problemfor fast-growing start-ups too,whofind it difficult to find accommodation for theirnewhires. Sweden’s National Board of


Housing estimates that for Stockholm to meet the shortfall, the city needs to build 25,000– 30,000 new homes every year over the next decade. “The housing problemis sys-


temic and probably not something that a politician could solve today,” says Mr Jörnow, adding that making the visa application process even more efficient and assigning more public funds towards venture invest- ing, as seen in France and Germany, are other ways to improve. But as Stockholmracks up more


global start-up success stories, its ability to compete in the war for globally mobile talent will be defin- ing. “It’s crucial for Stockholmto be able to hire top talent across the globe in order to stay ahead of the game,” Ms Bendz notes.■


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