Which Region is Leading the Cleantech Revolution? Look to Scandinavia (the Nordics)
By admin August 27, 2020

Nordic and european union flags fly in Copenhagen Denmark : News Photo

Photo: Francis Dean / Contributor / Getty Images

Which region is leading the global Cleantech Revolution? You may think it’s North America but that’s not actually true. When it comes to Cleantech innovation, no other region even comes close to Scandinavia/the Nordics — Denmark, Finland and Sweden, to be exact. The top three positions in the Global Cleantech Innovation Index, which explores which countries have the greatest potential to produce entrepreneurial Cleantech startups that will commercialize Cleantech innovations over the next 10 years.

The study covers 40 countries, including all of the G20. The index “demonstrates that countries get ahead if they”:

  • are able to adapt to the growing demand for renewable energy (at home and abroad);
  • are connecting start-ups with multiple channels (e.g. multinational corporates, public procurement) to increase their success rates; and
  • are increasing international engagement to spur widespread adoption of clean technologies.

The GCII “identifies three country archetypes in the cleantech innovation landscape: the Top Innovation Ecosystem Creators, Start-Up Generators and the Strong Commercialisers”:

  • “The top innovation ecosystem creators are countries that scored very well across the board, but particularly well in both general and cleantech-specific drivers in the 2013-2016 period by providing the underlying parameters, incentives, and necessary support for a thriving cleantech innovation ecosystem. We see Denmark, Sweden and USA having these characteristics in the period researched.”
  • “The cleantech start-up generators are countries that score well in all indicators, but score exceptionally well when it comes to producing patents for new cleantech innovations and venture capital to finance new business. Israel, Finland and Canada are economies that show these characteristics.”
  • “The cleantech commercialisers are countries that are scoring well in all indicators and drivers whilst well above average on market sophistication, size and finance to scale emerging cleantech innovations and create jobs. They have very high cleantech innovation conversion rates, i.e. are efficient in turning inputs to innovation into outputs in the economy. Countries like Germany, Singapore and South Korea display these characteristics.”

The GCII also shows there is strong emerging convergence between clean transportation, energy efficiency and renewable energy, last year accounting for two thirds of early-stage venture capital investments, and a similar proportion of green bonds.  This emerging trend is crucial to accelerate towards achieving universal energy access by 2030, and facilitate a just transition to a sustainable and fossil fuel-free energy system by 2050.

Spotlight Company: Spotscale

Based in Linkoping, Spotscale specializes in 3D PropTech solutions.

“Coming from complementing backgrounds in drones, 3D reconstruction, and large scale visualization we had a feeling from the beginning that drones would have a great impact on capturing buildings from a close distance high up in the sky. So we created a demo and gained huge traction.

Since then, Ludvig Emgård, with a background as the product manager at C3 technologies (acquired by Apple, 2012) has gathered a group of highly skilled engineers that have been working hard to bring the latest research into a novel, modern code-base of 3D reconstruction processing and visualization tools, tailored to execute on built environments from close range sensor data.

Spotscale formally came to life and was incubated in January 2013 in a top-ranked Swedish incubator. After two years of bootstrapping, the team was funded by MOOR (VC), Erik Byrenius and Magnus Malm (angels). Moving forward, the team continues to evolve around the 3D cloud solution and keeps on stretching the possibilities of AR/VR, Computer vision and AI.”

Spotlight Article: 10 promising Sweden-based startups to watch in 2020 and beyond


From the invention of the thermometer to the birthplace of startup unicorns like Skype, Sweden is undoubtedly one of the leading innovative countries in the world, taking second place in the 2019 edition of the Global Innovation Index. Success stories are flowing out of this Nordic country, including Spotify, iZettle and King, and with support from a strong venture capital community and bodies like Business Sweden and Invest Stockholm, it is no surprise. With regards to sectors, in 2017 Sweden ranked third in UNIDO’s Global Cleantech Innovation Index, and is also big on life sciences, retail, infrastructure, ICT and more. Its capital, Stockholm, is also becoming well-known across traditional tech circles as a hub of entrepreneurial activity, with almost one-fifth of the entire workforce working in tech, the highest compared to any other city in Europe.

With all this in mind, it’s hardly a surprise that Sweden’s startup ecosystem is year-on-year one to keep an eye on. So without further ado, here are 10 Swedish startups that we predict will be making the headlines in 2020.

Volta Trucks – Volta Trucks, founded in 2019, wants to electrify truck deliveries in cities. At the heart of the project are Volta’s fully electric trucks, producing 50% less noise and zero tailpipe emissions. The trucks are custom-made according to order requirements and feature a unique ‘Truck-as-a-Service’ rental model for fleet owners. One year after the establishment, Volta Trucks has secured €2 million in funding and has agreed to start pilot trials in London and Paris next year.

Rocker –  Rocker is a fintech startup from Stockholm that offers mobile-first banking services. Rocker users can effortlessly place a request for loans amounting up to €28,000, pause loans, merge several different loans into one, and change installment plans all through its app. Launched in 2017, the startup landed €48 million in equity funding just 18 months later. In January 2020 the startup re-branded itself from ‘Bynk’ to ‘Rocker’, launched a smart debit card and plans to launch a savings service later this year.

Tibber – Tibber, founded in 2016, is an energy startup from Stockholm that has replaced the original power company with an app to help you reduce your own electricity bill. The Tibber app is always looking for the lowest electricity prices as well as alerting customers to consume energy during the cheapest hours of the day. In addition, the startup offers a smart charging feature for Tesla and other electric cars and hybrids, promising a 20% reduction in charging price. With almost €15 million in funding, they are starting an energy revolution in Sweden.

Stravito – Stockholm-based startup Stravito develops a search engine for market intelligence. Its SaaS solution is targeted at global consumer goods companies, in order for them to adopt a more data-driven way of working and turn market insights into competitive advantages. It gathers market research and sales data and leverages machine learning and natural language processing  to provide accurate and quick answers. Founded in 2017, it has already raised €7.7 million in funding and has Danone, Pepsi Lipton and Carlsberg as admirers.

Noquo Foods – Noquo Foods aims to develop plant-based food alternatives that are tastier, more nutritious and more sustainable for our planet, starting with cheese. Founded in early 2019 by food scientist Anja Leissner and former adtech entrepreneur Sorosh Tavakoli, Noquo Foods is combining different plant-based proteins — such as pulses and other legumes, that will allow their cheese to slice, melt, and taste like the real thing. In January 2020, they attracted a €3.25 million investment from a list of renowned investors.

NorthVolt– Two former Tesla executives are currently building Europe’s biggest lithium-ion battery plant in Sweden. The cleantech idea is that the plant provides an initial 16 GWh of cell manufacturing capacity, but once fully operational, it will be one of Europe’s largest battery cell factories and produce 32 GWh worth of capacity annually. Founded in 2016, this startup landed a €886 million financing round from Volkswagen in 2019, announcing at the same time a future joint venture and an opening of a production facility in Salzgitter, Germany, in 2021.

Mavenoid – Mavenoid uses AI to help customers automate repetitive troubleshooting and customer support. Launched in 2017, Mavenoid serves as the primary point for customers, asking them a series of structured multiple-choice questions that narrow down the issue with their product. Some results: 73% lower mean time to resolution, 44% lower cost per customer contact and 20% higher customer satisfaction. Major companies like HP, Scania and Telia are already on their client list.

Heart Aerospace –  Heart Aerospace is a manufacturer of electric aeroplanes, founded in 2018 by Anders Forslund. Their first product is an electric regional aircraft, ES-19, able to carry nineteen passengers and an operating range of 400 km, allowing for viable replacement of conventional small aircraft on regional routes. The Y-Combinator alumni hopes to deliver the first ES-19 certified for commercial flight by 2025. In 2019 the startup received a €2.1 million investment to create a new type of sustainable travel.

Flowbox – Founded in 2016, Stockholm-based Flowbox offers a platform that enables online retailers and other companies to use the social media content of their customers in their own channels, so-called User-Generated Content (UGC). The idea is that customer content lends authenticity and credibility to the brand — and increases sales. G-Star, Scotch and Soda, and Hema have already signed up and in 2019, the startup raised a €7.5 million Series A round led by Viking Venture, to further expand.

Formulate – Formulate is a Stockholm-based SaaS retail-promotion startup, which offers artificial intelligence solutions that detect and analyse promotion campaigns within retail. Their product, ‘Retail DecisionCloud’, is an easy-to-use analytics platform, that helps users evaluate, forecast and improve retail promotions. In January 2020 the startup raised €3.7 million to provide a clear picture of what is best for your business and helps you make better decisions faster.


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