Antler sinks horns further into Nordic tech sector with $35.6m fund

By Eric Johansson

The Nordics’ thriving tech ecosystem just got another power boost thanks to startup investor Antler closing a $35.6m fund to back entrepreneurs in the region.

Launched in Singapore in 2017 by the Norwegian Rocket Internet veteran Magnus Grimeland, the venture capital firm today runs programmes in several locations around the world, including in Stockholm, Sweden. Antler will use its presence in the hub as a launching point to roll out startup support for budding enterprises across the Nordics on the back of the fund.

VC firm Draper Esprit, investor Kistefos, the Danish state’s investment fund Vækstfonden and the Norwegian state’s investment vehicle Investinor backed Antler’s new fund, according to Dagens Industri.

“We’re growing at a tremendous rate,” said Oscar Westergård, partner at Antler. “We’ve made over 60 investments in the Nordics so far and it feels absolutely fantastic to have a well-filled pre-seed fund based in Sweden so that we can keep investing in the next wave of successful entrepreneurs.”

As an early-stage startup investor, Antler has previously invested in app devs platform Nhost, virtual office startup Teemyco, fruit online shopping platform TradeBay and drone AI startup Skyqraft.

The Nordics is home to some of Europe’s biggest startup success stories in recent years, with Sweden its  biggest innovation hotbed. In the past, the country has nurtured the growth of companies like music streaming giant Spotify, communications company Skype and buy-now-pay-later tridecacorn Klarna, which became Europe’s most valuable fintech company in March after closing a $1bn funding round that pushed its valuation to $31bn.

Of course, Sweden is not alone in innovating in the tech industry. Denmark for instance is home to neobank Lunar, which raised a $47.2m Series C round in October last year. Norway has also birthed music streaming unicorn TIDAL, which was bought by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s fintech company Square in a $297m deal in March.

According to GlobalData’s tech deal-tracking dashboard, Swedish businesses completed 225 VC deals in 2020. In Norway and in Finland, those figures were 149 and 94 respectively. Over the same period, Danish businesses closed 81 VC deals and Iceland closed 12.