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Why Sweden has successfully bred so many unicorns

Escrito por Redacción TNI el 29/11/2016 a las 10:13:48

In a four episode ‘mockumentary’ series, entitled ‘Unicorn Syndrome’ (, Telia Carrier investigates a number of possible theories about why Sweden, and Stockholm in particular, has become a unicorn superpower.


Based on the number of unicorns per capita that it has produced, Stockholm is ranked as the number two startup region in the world after Silicon Valley. This is a remarkable achievement in itself but the big question is: Why? With an element of humor, the films highlight the important roles solid internet infrastructure and good connectivity play in a flourishing Internet startup community. In addition, they aim to encourage other cities, countries and companies to provide people and business with access to the fiber and services that will allow them to build our connected future.


‘Disruption used to be a dirty word, but today it’s a badge of honor. Connectivity changed everything and continues to do so on a daily basis. On our journey towards becoming a top-two global IP backbone, we have provided many startups with connectivity - indeed some of our first start-up customers are household names today. We therefore wanted to investigate some of the reasons why Swedish start-ups have been so successful. Additionally, we wanted to discover what happens when the limits of connectivity are removed. Could we unlock even greater ideas and innovation? So together with Cisco, we put the SUP46 start-up hub directly on our global Internet backbone and connected them with 100Gb/s, for innovation without boundaries.’ says Mattias Fridström, Chief Evangelist at Telia Carrier.


In the first part of a recent study published by The Stockholm School of Economics and the Internet Foundation In Sweden (IIS), it is suggested that Sweden’s exceptionally fertile breeding ground for startups has developed through a combination of different factors over time. These include a particularly favorable business climate, fueled by a highly developed formal and informal network of entrepreneurs, experienced business people, politicians and university researchers - all within the Stockholm area.


‘Stockholm tends to command 15% of the total foreign direct investment in the European technology sector. Stockholm is also a high technology city. The study in 2014 noted above   reported that in Stockholm alone there are more than 22,000 technology companies and that 18% of the city's workforce is employed in technology-related roles with the most popular job being a programmer’ says Michael Gromek, FinTech researcher at the Stockholm School of Economics.


The second part of this study is scheduled for publication at the end of 2016.


In anticipation of that, we would like to further the discussion and encourage others to join in. In doing so, we hope to discover the reasons why Stockholm has grown into a world leading unicorn factory.