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Best Startups to Work for in Stockholm (seedtable.com)
79 points by gonsanchezs 63 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 82 comments

This is a fantastic list. Thank you for sharing.

I moved from the SF Bay Area to Stockholm around 6 months ago to do my MS in computer science at KTH and I am still surprised by the amount of tech startups here. At the KTH career fairs I have met with developers from some very interesting startups that are eager to hire EU-based developers.

Did you learn Swedish to do your MS? I am moving to there and thinking on do an MS too.

No. Almost every MS program and course at KTH is in English, even for Swedish students. Swedish students who are doing their MS are typically in a 5 year degree program where you do your BS and MS combined. The first 3 years (BS portion) is in Swedish and the last 2 years is in English.


Almost every single M.sc course at KTH is in English.

Is it free for citizens to study in KTH?

There is no tuition fee if you are an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen.

yes it is (Swedish citizens)

I am lucky enough to have lived and worked in tech in Stockholm for a little more than six years now. I originally moved here specifically for the game development industry and it is so nice to see it (along with tech companies in general) continue to grow and evolve here. As an employee there is a vast array of employer options and coupled with the work-life balance for me it's pretty much the perfect place to live and work (if one can handle the winter, of course).

Nice. Have you worked anywhere else in Europe? How does it compare to Berlin? Are the salaries comparable with other major European cities? You say work life balance is great but I hear it can be expensive to live there. What's your experience? Is English widely spoken in offices or do people have to learn Swedish in order to work effectively?

It is expensive to live there. If you're a programmer, you will live a far more comfortable life living and working in Poland than you would in Sweden, despite how much Swedes tend to look down their nose at the Polish.

I speak from experience.

If you're working a low/zero skill job, you would be far better off in Sweden, although the market is extremely competitive.

Sweden has a major problem with housing, so you can forget renting an apartment in a major city — you will spend roughly 18 years on a waiting list to be able to rent anything in the centre of Gothenburg. This isn't hyperbole.

Just about everyone speaks English. Some younger people actually speak English more correctly than a significant proportion of the English population in England. Unsurprisingly, learning Swedish language and culture helps you blend in. It's not a particularly difficult language anyway.

> Sweden has a major problem with housing, so you can forget renting an apartment in a major city — you will spend roughly 18 years on a waiting list to be able to rent anything in the centre of Gothenburg. This isn't hyperbole.

You can forget a first hand contract from the municipal housing agencies. Second hand contracts and/or private landlords still work - but watch out for scams.

> you will spend roughly 18 years on a waiting list

last I have read it's 10 years in Stockholm, in Åkersberga (less than an hour north of Stockholm) it would be a few years https://www.armadafast.se/boende/bostadsk%C3%B6/k%C3%B6tider

or you can buy for 2M SEK (200,000 Euro) a nice small house in a suburb and pay the mortgage back over 50 years.

Yeah, it's different wait times for different areas. The 18 year figure I gave was for central Gothenburg, like I said.

Where I was living — in Majorna/Kungsladugård — on average 2,400 people applied to rent each apartment. This was back in 2012. This would be worse now, given the refugee/migrant influx.

> Second hand contracts and/or private landlords still work

Barely. There is a black market for rental contracts in Sweden, which is as far as I'm aware unheard of everywhere else in the world.

Renting "i andra hand" (subletting) is extremely difficult. Want to see how bad the market is? Put a fake apartment up for rent on Blocket to test the response rate. The last time I did this, I had over 300 responses in the first half hour.

Subletting is also time-limited to a year, if I remember correctly (though perhaps some housing associations have different rules on this, and perhaps not).

The people downvoting my original comment which is somewhat critical of Sweden is good reflection of the typical Swedish mentality — borta bra men hemma bäst. There's a reason Sweden is called "China of the North".

No, Sweden is my fourth country to live in but I haven't worked in another European country. It can be expensive to live here yes; despite my salary being decent-but-not-lavish I still feel comfortable affording whatever I need to live and "play". In addition to what I consider a decent salary, six paid weeks off (with extra pay for vacation days + public holidays), various company subsidized benefits, nice public infrastructure, healthcare, etc all go to help with that. I guess the other responder's standards may be different, but personally as a programmer my living here feels very comfortable.

Most developers will be making more than €3000 a month after taxes. The problem is usually housing and living costs. Both ranging from €500 to €1500 each, that is €1000 to €3000 total. If you are at the lower end you of course end up fairly cash wealth, at the other not so much. At the same time these days you would still, despite being in one of the more lucrative professions, struggle to acquire a central apartment, or a holiday home, which is largely only accessible to those who are already asset wealthy. Especially not without significant debt.

If you can find your way it isn't bad, but I wouldn't put Sweden above places Switzerland or The Netherlands these day in terms of a good deal. Which I would have five to ten years ago.

Thank you for the insight, but I think you may be intending to reply to someone else :) My experience has fit none of the things you describe (in fact most of the factors you list are quite far off of my own experience in terms of debt, apartment location, and salary), but that's not to say that they're not true for someone else. There definitely is a rental problem in Stockholm right now.

Not sure how I can be far off when I am presenting a range. One that isn't hard to justify for that matter.

I didn't say you were far off in general, I said everything you said happens to not be applicable to my experience (or that of most of my team members), and your comment seemed to be providing information about living in Sweden to someone who already lives in Sweden, which is why I figured you intended to reply to someone else.

You said that the other respondents standard might be different. I am saying that this is the range. What would be the approximate numbers (salary and central apartment), at your company for someone getting hired today, say with a couple of years out of school?

Can you throw some light on how's their reception towards an expat (non-eu) wanting to live there and work ?

I can speak specifically to the game development industry here which is very welcoming to expats. I get the same sense from the wider tech industry but have no direct experience outside of game development and attending more general tech meetups and conferences in Stockholm. The vast majority of people speak English and are happy to do so. Many people say that at least in this kind of industry there's almost no point learning Swedish as everyone speaks English around the studios, but I disagree with this and am starting to take Swedish lessons next week (took me long enough after >6 years...)

In general I find the majority of Swedes have been very welcoming (as a caveat I say this as a very white-European looking Ukrainian, so it is easy for me to blend in aside from my language and I can't speak for people of color). The things that tend to really hit people the most here are the feeling that Swedes are _cold_ and the actual cold winters. People here may not be as outgoing with strangers as they were in Alabama or Australia (both places I've lived before Sweden), but I find they are polite and there are plenty of opportunities to meet people with similar interests. I think not speaking the language also places an additional barrier that a Swedish speaker may not have when it comes to meeting Swedes - they say it doesn't matter, but in the end if you have to say "Sorry I only speak English" when a local _does_ approach you with a comment in Swedish you can see how it would immediately potentially put a break on the interaction. Another reason I'm finally going to start taking my Swedish learning seriously!

That's really elaborate. Thx for taking time to write this out!

I've often read that Stockholm, and Sweden in general, has great work-life balance. This list seems super cool for folks who may be interested in (what I've heard is) a more relaxed lifestyle while keeping some work excitement in their lives from a startup environment. It's really interesting to see how successful Sweden has been in pushing itself as a good home for startups.

Also, is the logo on this site messed up? It just says SEEDTAB for me without the LE, like this: https://i.imgur.com/oEN7R2Q.png. Kind of an odd bug; even the actual .svg file it links to appears like that for me (https://www.seedtable.com/img/logo.svg). I would've thought it was intentional if not for the sliver of what appears to be an L at the right end.

It looks like the SVG has just been exported at a width much narrower than the text. If you inspect the SVG on the second link you posted, you can edit the `width` attribute to something like 200 and see the full text.

Normally, when exporting SVGs for the web, you would convert the text to shapes. That way, people don't need a version of the font you've used and you can guarantee it looking the same across browsers.

will fix

The work-life balance might be lagom. ;)

There was a recent NPR segment highlighting also a program of Sweden for entrepreneurship of a six-month-leave where your job would be saved for you while you pursued a startup or business venture as well but I forget the name of the program in Sweden.

Yes, usually there is a thing called tjänsteledigt. Which basically means that you can ask your employer for a ”pause” in your employment. I believe they are required by law to let you keep your employment.

It is significantly harder to attain a high quality of life at decent cost in Stockholm these days. Especially since the housing market is high, but stalling, and there is a recession looming. Sweden pushing itself as a good home for startups seem to largely correlate with becoming a worse place to live in, and therefor to a large extent be posturing. There have also been more obviously successful startups in the past then there are now. Moving to Stockholm could still be the right move for some people, but I would advice looking at the situation carefully beforehand.

>Sweden pushing itself as a good home for startups seem to largely correlate with becoming a worse place to live in, and therefor to a large extent be posturing.

This isn't, implicitly, true. For Stockholm, sure. What about a city like Växjö? Or Motala? There are very decent areas to live in Sweden, close to booming tech start-ups, and aren't suffering the same plights that the capital is seeing.

Admittedly, the points-system is a bit of a pain-in-the-ass and they seemed to have a plan for it, when it first started, for newcomers to the country; however, that plan doesn't work-out so well in the terms of today.

To point: Sweden, in general, doesn't suffer from all of the plights seen in Stockholm. If Stockholm is your goto, then by all means, you should be aware of them; but a larger portion of Sweden doesn't see the same problems (yet).

The best of both worlds is living within travel distance of Stockholm but working from home. I've spent a couple years executing this plan, and from a quality-of-life perspective it's been an amazing improvement from living in Stockholm.

Sweden is small enough where even Malmö isn't too far away - but the economical and social differences are huge. You can have your cake and eat it too.

> For Stockholm, sure. What about a city like Växjö? Or Motala? There are very decent areas to live in Sweden, close to booming tech start-ups, and aren't suffering the same plights that the capital is seeing.

Yeah... Motala is really relevant in the context of conversation about "Best Startups to Work for in Stockholm" (~3 hours by car).

>...is really relevant in the context of conversation about "Best Startups to Work for in Stockholm" (~3 hours by car).

The OP that I replied to mentioned Sweden, as a whole, which is not limited to just Stockholm, yeah?

If we take Sweden as a whole, there are very few opportunities outside the three big cities, Stockholm, Malmö, and Göteborg (Gothenburg).

Just saying that it’s nice in the small places like Motala can’t make businesses and people move there, unfortunately.

Motala is really nice though :)

Most of these places would also just have a hard time "scaling" if they did managed to get people or business there. One successful or a couple of smaller startups might need at least a hundred people a year. So there really needs to be something special going on for that to work out.

Those places are far more average with for example small city centers and limited transportation. As such there are far more competition, and therefor places to consider, before selecting one of those options. Especially since you might end up living outside one of those cities. Smaller isn't necessarily easier either. Most of Sweden has a rental shortage and a pricey housing market. It is a systematic issue of abandoning the rental market in favor of 100+ year mortgages.

But if anyone know of a city in Sweden with accessible good living conditions and decent opportunities I would of course be happy to hear about it.

You heard wrong. Sweden has one if the longest working weeks in the EU. Normal work day starts at 8am.

Most stuff that you read about Sweden (ie stuff that gets shared on socisl media) is false.

On the contrary, Swedes work some of the fewest hour per person in the OECD. The only people that work fewer hours than the Swedes are Germans, Danes, Norwegians, and the Dutch: https://data.oecd.org/emp/hours-worked.htm

> Sweden has one if the longest working weeks in the EU. Normal work day starts at 8am.

We're talking about startups on a website mostly for programmers, right?

Programmers enjoy nearly free work schedule. I've seen people come at work at 7 in the morning and leave at three in the evening. Or come to work at 10 and leave at 7.

Second, work-life balance is paramount in Sweden. No one will bat an eye if you have to pick your kids early from kindergarten/school, go to a doctor's appointment, take a day off because you're sick etc.

The government even tries to combat exploitative employers by making it mandatory that employees take at least 20 days of vacation a year.

“No one will bat an eyelid if you take a day off work.”

You forgot to mention that you WON’T get paid if you take a single day off work, something that makes Sweden unique in the modern world?

Sweden is a great place to work in many ways, but there are severe problems for people moving here to work if they are accustomed to other EU countries.

That's only if you are taking sick-leave (and for the first day, then you get some part of your salary), also Sweden got 25 days of mandatory paid vacation days.

Would not that lead to people taking the minimum required to get sick pay even for minor ailments.

off for sick leave, and this is somewhat changing now with the new karensavdrag system

Speaking from Germany, what you have described is true for here as well.

What is wrong with starting at 8? I start closer to 7 so I can go home a bit after 15. Some of us use flexible work schedule to get longer afternoons. You need to look at more than when it is normal to start working in the morning, like total hours/year and how flexible the schedule is

> Normal work day starts at 8am.

No, not necessarily.

Most of my career has been spent working in Sweden and/or for Swedish companies.

At only one company of the several I have worked for — my first programming job — were employees expected to arrive at 08:00.

All the others have started at 09:00, with a fair degree of flexibility.

This isn't to say Sweden is some paradise — it categorically isn't — but let's at least be accurate with our numbers.

Nice list but the information and presentation seems a bit lacking.

First: it says funded not founded in 2018. I was surprised by the amounts of money and employee numbers until I noticed that I had misread that.

It would be nice to know in how many rounds the amount of money was collected, assuming that it is the total amount of funding and not valuation or revenue.

Ah, I also read it as founded. Lots of the companies have been around for some time now. Kry, iZettle, MatHem, Natural Cycles and Lifesum are examples many people have known or used for years now.

And wasn't Tibber Norwegian? Hmm

It says funded, because it refers to money raised :)

As a fellow Swede, I was surprised to find so many companies on this list that I've never heard of before. Great read!

Nice list. Though I'm pretty sure iZettle & Truecaller aren't founded in 2018, both were founded much earlier.

UPD: finally got it, the companies were funded in 2018, not founded



Is there a way to filter or find out which support remote work without manually going through them all?

Unfortunately not for now. But you can check this - https://medium.com/@rdutel/900-startups-hiring-remotely-in-2...

Alternatively, you can use =importxml to extract all URLs on my site, and run a VLOOKUP against the Remotive list.

I seriously did not know that Stockholm had so many well funded great startups. This is impressive.

> Natural Cycles: Enter your temperature into the app. Natural Cycles’ smart algorithm analyzes your data. The app will tell you if it's a red or a green day and whether or not you need to use protection to prevent pregnancy.

Recipe for disaster

Yes, there has been a lot of talk regarding NC actually!


"A Swedish contraception app has been reported to authorities after 37 users got pregnant and had abortions."


The entry for company called "Peltarion" has UTF8 rendering issues. The description reads "... AI applications – at scale and at speed – with the ..."

The dollar value seem to have been generated by random

No, Crunchbase public data. I also reach out to all companies suggesting they can fix/clarify any inaccuracies, and update it as soon as they come back to me.

I apologize for this self-serving comment, but I consider it at least potentially relevant for anyone who reads this thread:

I'm publishing a weekly curated newsletter about the Swedish tech scene: http://swedishtechweekly.com

Brief and straight to the point. Spend 3 minutes a week and you know everything that's going on in tech Sweden.

subscribing now, thanks.

A question for Sweden specialists: what does Sweden do to attract talent, once other European countries, apparently, pay better compensation, like Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands (the 30% rule), etc?

How hard would it be for a non-eu citizen to get a working visa in Sweden?

Demand for programmers is very high. Given that you speak English and have good programming skills getting job in Stockholm is pretty easy. In my current team there're 3 Russians, 3 Brasilians and one Iranian(among non-EU workers). All of them were relocated by the company. The relocation takes up to several months.

It depends a lot on how much the company that you apply to would need you. Of course there is also a factor of luck and dependency on the immigration authorities' processes (particularly now that Brexit is said to occupy a lot of resources). But if you have a skill set which is highly in need, your chances should not be tooo bad.

Be aware though that finding a good apartment in Stockholm is extremely hard right now. Although even the craziest rents are way below the SF Bay Area (but of course the pay is, too).

I live and work as a developer in Stockholm. I have registered as an employer and have been able to help people from abroad before by taking the fight with the governmental authority handling immigration.

The visa situation is a bit borked right now since the EU was unable to humanely handle the civil war in Syria so staying permanently isn't a given anymore. Right now we have to make do with "for the foreseeable future".

Feel free to reach out to me at plata@plomo.se.

> taking the fight with the governmental authority handling immigration.

What ? which fight ? unless you recruit "world class developers" with a year experience in JS paying them half of the average rate with no insurances then there are no fights.

Myself and colleagues, all have worked in normal places that payed decent salaries and all the needed insurances and all got their work permits and permanent residencies approved without problems.

Actually Software development is in the "needed professions" list meaning that you can apply for a permit while you are in Sweden.

Where do I start if I want to look for jobs there? Are most jobs mainly in Stockholm? Is it different in Gottenburg or Malmo?

Linkedin probably. Stockholm has a lot of jobs, I don't know about Gottenburg or Malmo but they are smaller places

Well that email was wierd.

I'm not sure of Sweden, but here in neighbouring Finland it's pretty quick and easy to get a visa if you have a job with a local technology company. Our applications have been processed in 2-4 weeks after completing the online application.

You can find startup jobs in Nordics from e.g. https://thehub.fi (Finland) or https://thehub.se (Sweden)

I'm mostly surprised at finding some very well established companies here. Should Paradox really be in the scope of "startup"? They have existed for 20 years by now...

I think sam altman said that a startup is defined by its rapid growth rate rather than its age. Dunno.

I guess Spotify aren't really a startup anymore!

I just had an onsite interview at their HQ in Stockholm this morning. The recruiter I spoke with in person mentioned their employee growth percentage in the last couple of years and it was staggering. They absolutely are not a startup anymore.

Yeah, Spotify is too big to fit the list.

How is Paradox Interactive a startup? Founded in 1999, with dozens of games in its portfolio?

Same goes for quite a few other companies.

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