A Startup Summer in Stockholm

By Chloe Krawczyk
As a Palo Alto native, I’ve been spoiled by consistently good weather. Before moving from California to Washington, D.C. in 2011, I had little appreciation for how much of my energy and mood could be influenced by the presence of sunshine and blue skies. While D.C. has its good days, there are more days I miss the mild, temperate climate back home.
Stockholm is another story. It’s the beginning of my third week in the capital of Sweden (or, as it’s marketed here, “the capital of Scandinavia”), and I have never felt more at home. If it weren’t for the 10 p.m. sunsets and 3 a.m. sunrises, I would genuinely find the climate indistinguishable from northern California’s.
Post 1 Photo 2
Sunset overlooking the southern part of Stockholm’s city center. Photo taken at 9:25 p.m. | Munchenbryggeriet, Sodermalm
Any positive comment about the weather, however, and many Swedes are quick to stress that it isn’t like this all the time. Swedes say winters are terrible and summers are unpredictable: it could be sunny and beautiful, or it could be gray, windy, cold, and rainy — and last year it was constantly the latter. We’ll have to see by the end of the summer whether these warnings were prescient or overly pessimistic. Let the record show I’ve experienced 14 gorgeous days and 2 gray days thus far.
I’m fortunate enough to be in Stockholm as a Wallenberg International Fellow, a position funded by a generous grant from the Wallenberg Foundation for Education in International Industrial Entrepreneurship. As a fellow, I’m working as a venture analyst on the EQT Ventures team, part of the renowned global private equity group EQT Partners. Half a week before my first day in the office, EQT announced the successful closing of the EQT Ventures Fund with €566 million euro in commitments, making it one of the largest funds in Europe.
Apart from screening startups that are looking for funding, meeting founding teams, and analyzing potential deals, I’m fully immersed in the Stockholm startup scene. EQT Ventures sponsored the inauguralTechCrunch Stockholm event, which was also the first-ever TechCrunch event organized outside of the U.S. Next week, we’ll be hosting the STHLM Tech Meetup, a monthly gathering for tech and entrepreneurship enthusiasts in Stockholm.**
Post 1 Photo 3
At TechCrunch Stockholm. | Munchenbryggeriet, Sodermalm
So far, I’m impressed with what I’ve seen of the Stockholm tech world. There are quite a few co-working spaces, startup hubs, incubators, accelerators,meet-ups, and other opportunities for people to gather, collaborate, and exchange ideas. In these communities, people are engaged in a wide range of activities — everything from creating webapps and freelancing coding projects to bootstrapping their own companies and consulting on digital platforms. I’ve loved meeting people here. Everyone I’ve talked to is passionate about what they create and excited to discuss their projects.
With all the innovation and creativity going on here, I’m surprised I hadn’t heard more about Swedish startups in the U.S., or that there’s not yet a “Silicon ______” metonym for an area of Stockholm. And I suspect I’m not the only American who feels this way.
I’ll be sharing more of my reflections and experiences throughout the summer, so stay tuned.

**Gotta say, I love the Swedish commitment to creating shorthands by striking out vowels. It took me a few days before I realized that STHLM stood for Stockholm, and I admit I couldn’t figure out what BRDS was without looking it up. (It’s “best regards.”)
All views expressed are entirely the author’s, and do not reflect the views of EQT, The Wallenberg Foundation, Georgetown University, or any other institutions affiliated with the author or mentioned in this post.