To identify the most promising start-ups in the Nordics and Baltics, Informilo asked investors focused on the region to nominate start-ups outside their own portfolios. Some of the companies are well-known, others are below the radar but unlikely to stay there for long. Some are now headquartered in the U.S. or UK, but their roots are in the region.
What it does: Enterprise social media management.
Why it’s hot: Falcon Social helps brands drive business results through social media. Customers include Condé Nast, Warner Music, Jaguar and Coca-Cola. Falcon increased monthly recurring revenue more than 640% in its first year of sales. In 2013 it raised €6 million of equity finance from Target Partners and NorthCap Partners (which previously invested $1.33 million).
What it does: Payment processing via iPhone or Android.
Why it’s hot: iZettle’s service is used by hundreds of thousands of businesses in nine countries. In May is received €40 million in a round that valued the company at around €200 million. The rounded included new investors Intel Capital and Zouk Capital. Earlier investors Greylock Partners, Index Ventures and Northzone also participated.
What it does: Simple online payment for websites.
Why it’s hot: Klarna Checkout integrates payment methods in a simple solution that lets customers shop using only their email address and zip code. Supports 200,000 transactions a day for 45,000 merchants in 16 countries. Raised €90 million from existing investors in March for a total of €280 million; now valued at close to $1 billion. Expanding to the U.S. in 2015.
San Mateo, CA, U.S.
What it does: Provider of Neo4J graph database.
Why it’s hot: Thousands of companies, including Cisco, Accenture, eBay and Walmart, use Sweden-born Neo4j to build applications that leverage connections in data such as recommendations, content management and fraud detection. The company has a 98% renewal rate. In Q3 2014 revenue grew 220% year-on-year. Investors include Fidelity Growth Partners Europe and Sunstone Capital.
What it does: Music streaming service.
Why it’s hot: Allows users to stream music using either a free, ad-supported service or a premium ad-free service. Spotify has 10 million paying users and 40 million total users. A $250 million round in 2013 valued the company above $4 billion. Now working on tie-ups with mobile operators and hardware providers around the world.
What it does: Social gaming developer.
Why it’s hot: Best known for its Hay Day and Clash of Clans games, which generate $5.2 million a day, in 2013 Supercell had revenue of $892 million (and is rumored to be on track to double that in 2014). In mid-October 2013 Japan’s SoftBank Corp. agreed to buy 51% of Supercell for $1.5 billion. The company launched its third game, Boom Beach, in April.
What it does: Products for eye control and eye tracking.
Why it’s hot: Tobii creates an interface that uses natural eye movements; it is the provider of eye tracking solutions to thousands of researchers worldwide. In May it acquired DynaVox Systems, a provider of speech-generating devices and symbol-adapted special education software. Intel Capital led a $21 million round in 2012. The company is rumored to be planning an IPO this year.
What it does: Review-driven community.
Why it’s hot: Trustpilot helps companies collect reviews and get insight from customers. Clients include Telenor, boohoo.com and Travelocity. In January it raise $25 million from DFJ Esprit and existing investors SEED Capital, Index Ventures, and Northzone. Total funding is now $38.4 million.
What it does: Reverse auction site for car owners.
Why it’s hot: Autobutler collaborates with thousands of auto mechanics across the Nordics, Germany, and the UK to offer car owners deals on car repairs. Car owners can easily create a car repair job and receive bids from car mechanics. In July it raised €5.8 million in funding from Index Ventures, and existing investors Dawn Capital and Creandum. Creandum previously invested $5 million.
What it does: Sensor-based waste management.
Why it’s hot: Enevo provides smart sensor and analytics-based logistics optimization for waste management and recycling. The company has thousands of sensors deployed in 25 countries. In August it raised $8 million from Earlybird, Lifeline Ventures, Finnish Industry Investment, Draper Associates and Risto Siilasmaa. The funding will support international expansion.
New York, New York, U.S.
What it does: Point of sale/inventory management
Why it’s hot: Born in Tallinn, Erply has 100,000 stores on its platform, with customers ranging from small retailers to names such as Elizabeth Arden Retail, The Athletes Foot, and UNICEF. The company works in 15 countries; 70% of its customer base is in the U.S. Erply has raised over $4 million in financing from Redpoint Ventures, Index Ventures, 500 Startups and angels.
What it does: E-commerce platform for bargain hunters.
Why it’s hot: Fyndiq is a one-stop bargain shop, providing a sales channel for a range of e-tailers looking to sell slow-moving or end-of-run products. Sales in 2013 were $17 million and forecast to double in 2014. The company also expects to be profitable this year. In November it raised $20 million from Northzone and Industrifonden, Swedish government-based VC, bring total funding to $26 million.
What it does: Infographic creator.
Why it’s hot: Infogr.am claims to be the world’s most popular infographic creator. It provides a simple web app that enables anyone to create interactive infographics and data visualizations. Nearly three million infographics have been created so far by its 1.2 million users. In February Infogr.am raised €1.34 million from Point Nine Capital, Connect Ventures and previously HackFwd.
What it does: User experience analysis platform.
Why it’s hot: Lookback gives developers a 360-degree understanding of how users communicate with their apps by analyzing on-screen interactions and user expressions recorded with the front-facing camera. Currently in open beta. In March the company raised a $2.2 million seed round led by Lakestar, with participation from Index Ventures and angels.
What it does: Visual sales pipeline tool.
Why it’s hot: Founded in 2010, the company now has close to 10,000 paying customers in more than 100 countries, spending millions each month. Pipedrive has raised nearly $3.5 million; investors include former Skype employees Ott Kaukver and Taavet Hinrikus as well as basketball great Shaquille O’Neal and his business partner Vivek Ranadivé.
What it does: Measures emotions from any webcam.
Why it’s hot: The Realeyes platform measures how people feel as they view video content. Started while Estonian CEO Mihkel Jäätma was at Oxford, the company has secured multi-million partnerships with leading publishers, agencies and brands, including Havas Media, IPSOS and AOL. In March 2013 it raised $3.2 million; total capital raised is $4.6 million.
What it does: Free online store creation platform.
Why it’s hot: Tictail enables users to set up an online store in minutes. Launched in May 2012, it currently supports more than 55,000 stores in 110 countries and is aiming for 100,000 stores by the end of 2014. Tictail has raised more than $10 million in funding, from investors including Balderton Capital, Thrive Capital, Klaus Hommels, and Summly’s Nick D’Aloisio.
San Francisco, CA, U.S.
What it does: Free platform for e-billing and payments.
Why it’s hot: Danish-born Tradeshift offers cloud-based services to improve invoicing, workflow and supplier financing. It processes about $10 billion in annual transactions for 500,000+ businesses in 190 countries. Customers include the UK’s National Health Service. In February it raised $75 million from Singapore’s Scentan Ventures at $300 million valuation.
What it does: Foreign currency transfer services.
Why it’s hot: Tallinn-born TransferWise keeps currency transfer costs down by using the real exchange rate and charging a low service fee. In April the company announced customers had made foreign exchange transfers totaling £1 billion so far. In May 2013 Peter Thiel’s VC fund led a $6 million funding round, bringing the total raised to $7.35 million.
What it does: Wine recognition app.
Why it’s hot: Vivino is the leading wine app in the Apple App store; it supports more than six million wine aficionados in five languages and recognizes more than four million wines using a smartphone’s camera. In 2013 it raised $10.3 million from Creandum, Seed Capital, Balderton Capital and Janus Friis, bringing total funds to just over $12 million.
What it does: Last-minute going-out app.
Why it’s hot: YPlan enables users in London, New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Edinburgh to browse through a curated shortlist of events and book in two taps. Launched in November 2012 by Lithuanian founders, the service had 150,000 downloads in its first three months and more than 500,000 users in year one. In June 2013 it raised $12 million, bringing total funding to $13.7 million.
Below The Radar
What it does: App and social network for sport fishing.
Why it’s hot: FishBrain aims to help the world’s 200 million anglers catch more and bigger fish by using the wisdom of the crowd to find the best spots to fish and choose the best bait. Now has more than 630,000 registered users (450,000 in the U.S.). In July it raised a $2.4 million funding round led Northzone and Active Venture Partners; total funding is $3.9 million.
What it does: Freemium responsive web design tool.
Why it’s hot: FROONT is a web-based design tool that runs in the browser and makes responsive web design accessible to all visual designers, even those without coding skills. It hopes to build a an open-source community. In April FROONT raised €500,000 in seed funding from investors, including Imprimatur Capital and Inventure Oy.
What it does: Health advice based on microflora analysis.
Why it’s hot: Wellbiome offers personalized dietary recommendations based on DNA analysis of the microflora in an individual’s gut. The company’s mission is to give people insight into their bodies and increase wellbeing. The company participated in a start-up summer program at the local Startup Garage and was incubated at Tehnopol Startup Incubator.
What it does: Crowd-sourced price comparison site for the container shipping industry.
Why it’s hot: Xeneta enables buyers and sellers of containerized ocean freight to operate efficiently. It has grown from a few hundred rates to several hundred thousand on its system monthy. In 2013 Xeneta raised €1.2 million from Creandum and Alden AS; in February 2014 Point Nine Capital invested an undisclosed amount.