Martin Von Haller

Tech Start-ups in the Periphery of Europe

This article is written by Clinton James, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

Martin Van Haller is a Partner of Bird & Bird Company based in Silicon Valley. He brings out the agenda of Nordic as a great place to do business and for growth of start ups, having built a tech ecosystem and lowered transaction cost in angel investments. He is a lawyer, an angel investor and enjoys building and improving communities among many other things.

Underneath the cohesive relationship that exists within the Nordic countries, as they share the same language and culture, there is fierce competition among them even though they consider themselves a region rather than individual countries, especially from a business perspective.

In this Startup Turkey event, Martin affirms that Nordic is a rich region. Each country’s per capita nominal GDP was at top 16 in 2014 and with a combined GNP of 1.7 trillion dollars in the same year. It is the 7-8th largest economy in the world with about 3.4 million square kilometers inclusive of Greenland which is the biggest Island in the world, making it the 7th largest ‘country’ in the world with only a population of around 26 million.

Even though Nordic is part of the EU internal market, they have had a much more efficient internal market within themselves for a long time because they share history, language, culture and the legal infrastructure is also similar. Minimal corruption, internal trade and exportation are other factors that contribute to their efficient internal market. 

As a result, Nordic ranks highly in the world on business matters such as innovation, ease of doing business, network readiness and economic freedom. This further makes it a great place to do business for start-ups. The only issue at that is the availability of local market which they are looking into solving.

As it stands, it is a hotbed for world-class innovative tech start-ups with potential in a broad range of sectors such as eCommerce, web, apps, games, ERP, e-Government, hardware, health, fintech, big data among others.  

Having opened hubs in Helsinki, Stockholm, and Copenhagen, there are many success stories of start-ups that were born in the region and are going global. Some of the advantages of start-ups in the region include branding leverage, financial diversification, geopolitical stability, and sustainable growth. 

The Nordic investor scene has plenty of funding with a short supply of good startups, a few local VCs with plenty of international VCs, less dependency on the government money but no local market for exits. 

On handling just 3% of Europe’s population, Nordics have taken on 11 % of Europe’s VC investment and turned that into 3.9 billion dollars yearly in Exit-value in the past 10 years based on Creandum’s research.

Nordics pride themselves in their community-based platform termed CPHFTW which is an open-source transparent organization as start-ups for start-ups by start-ups that aims to improve the ecosystem through technology. They only raise funds and transact specifically with start-ups and so far at Euros 100,000 since formation.

─ February 25, 2020