Investment Insights: Why the Nordics are so important to Kinnevik

Our vision for continued success in the Nordics

Since Kinnevik was founded almost 90 years ago in Stockholm, the scale at which we operate has vastly expanded, and we now have investments servicing six continents across the globe. However, it’s no coincidence that we have continued to stay close to the Nordics over this lifespan.

Senior Investment Director Andreas Bernström wrote a Medium post about why the Nordics are so important to Kinnevik.

 

If you don’t live in the Nordics, it might be hard to understand how a small region can produce global giants such as Volvo, Spotify, Ericsson, Evolution and Klarna; or why Stockholm has more technology Unicorns per capita than anywhere in the world other than Silicon Valley. But when you understand how the region works, it all starts to make a little more sense.

Firstly, strong government policies support the digital ecosystem; Sweden and other Nordic countries have world-class education systems giving fair and equal access to higher education for all, and the government strategically invested in internet infrastructure ahead of the curve, meaning adoption of internet services has been strong and we’ve built an intelligent, outward looking, and digitally-savvy workforce.

Secondly, businesses that have been successful in the region have shown the next generation of entrepreneurs what is possible and have supported and motivated them: fostering and developing talent, pouring investment back into the region and providing inspirational examples of success that make setting-up a business less of a ‘pipe-dream’, and more of a tangible reality for budding entrepreneurs.

Thirdly, the small size of home markets within the Nordics encourages a competitive mindset focused on relentless international growth early-on in a company’s life cycle, with a single-minded focus on the global consumer.

And finally, the Nordics have been early to embrace the values of equality and sustainability when compared to other regions. There are policies determined at a national level to ensure equal treatment for all in the workplace, and as such we tend to gravitate towards more flat, informal hierarchies where all employees have a voice. All this creates fertile ground for new ideas to thrive.