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NEWS November 1, 2022

Greentech Investor Emanuel Andersson is the new CEO of Propel Capital

Propel Capital, Sweden’s most active private seed investor within tech, connected to the accelerator Sting, has appointed Emanuel Andersson as our new CEO.

Propel Capital, Sweden’s most active private seed investor within tech, connected to the accelerator Sting, has appointed Emanuel Andersson as our new CEO.  

Emanuel has several years of experience as an investor, most recently from Almi Invest Greentech where he worked with a portfolio of over 30 climate-impact companies. 

Since 2014, when Propel Capital was initiated, Propel Capital has invested in over 175 companies primarily in sustaintech, healthtech, deeptech, and digital innovation. The investors tied to Propel are 100 of Sweden’s most experienced business angels, carefully selected to be a good fit with the startups and with the potential to support them long term. The latest version, Propel VI, closed this summer on 30MSEK with 25 old and new angels. 

“I am really looking forward to getting this unique opportunity to work with such well-renowned investors. The Propel angels is a diverse group of young and old, men and women, with different backgrounds but with one thing in common: they are active investors, passionate about our portfolio and the big, societal challenges of today,” said Emanuel Andersson, CEO of Propel Capital.   

Emanuel takes over the CEO role at a time when major societal challenges characterize the investor climate. 

”We must provide the companies that invent tomorrow, with the proper tools in order to make a difference. Sting stands with one leg in the research field and the other in business, which is a rather unique position. The benefit of Sting and Propel Capital is more obvious than ever. In addition, the geek side of me looks forward to diving into all the data we have collected over the years. The size of Propel means that we sit on a huge amount of exciting information that we can use to draw conclusions and become even sharper,” said Emanuel Andersson, CEO of Propel Capital. 

In the new role, Emanuel will use his investor and operational expertise to manage Propel Capital, find companies with promising potential, and help equip those companies with the tools needed to succeed in the market and further contribute to societal transformation. 

”Propel Capital works like an engine, bringing together business angels and startups in Stockholm. We have already financed 175 companies thus far and will finance many more in the years to come. The wheels continue to turn in the Swedish tech world. We are thrilled to have Emanuel Andersson as the new CEO. He has the drive and the right background to lift Propel Capital to the next level,” said Niclas Lilja, chairman of Propel Capital. 

About Propel Capital 

Propel Capital is an investment company linked to Sting. Propel Capital is Sweden’s most active private seed investor. Propel Capital benefits from Sting’s selection process and the portfolio companies benefit from Sting’s support in areas such as business development, coaching, and recruitment. 

Propel Capital exclusively invests in Sting companies. Startups in the Sting Accelerate program are offered investments and a selection of the Sting Incubate companies receive an investment in time upon evaluation. The investment amount is SEK 500,000. 

The current Propel Capital, Propel Capital VI, is managing SEK 30 million from about 40 of Sweden’s top business angels and from Saminvest. State-owned Saminvest has invested in Propel Capital IV, V and VI. 

NEWS July 1, 2022

Growloop, the completely digital leadership coach of the future – has raised €1 million to further democratize leadership development.

The edtech company V3VO with its leadership service Growloop has fully subscribed its €1 million seed round to fuel its mission of helping every human live a balanced, fulfilling and viable life. With Growloop, organizations now can develop the leadership within all their co-workers and teams so that both managers and co-workers can grow together and reach meaningful results faster, on a bigger scale and at a smaller cost. Steering businesses only from the top is getting more difficult every day.

As uncertainty, ambiguity, and complexity increase in the world, everyone needs to be part of the leadership function to create meaningful results. But developing everyone in an organization through traditional leadership programs is normally an expensive and demanding process, in general not personalized for each individual or context as such.

V3VO has therefore developed Growloop, a digital leadership coach and trainer, a clever app so that everyone in a team or an organization can develop their self-leadership and leadership. This is in collaboration with others regardless of existing knowledge or leadership maturity. All to a fraction of traditional leadership programs or consultancies costs. Growloop is today being used to support leadership development in fast-paced organizations to further increase the speed of their growth journey in creating more meaningful results, faster. In several international organizations with high ambitions such as Resultify, Peltarion, and Drama Queen, Growloop has in a short time become appreciated leadership support for many of their co-workers. Recently it has been rated 4 out of 5 by co-workers in Forex, the market leader in the Nordics for travel currency exchange.

Given the challenges and opportunities we have as individuals, organizations, and the world, we need the keys to how we can thrive and grow sustainably and even regenerative. To create and reach more meaningful results together. With the new resources, we can now further equip Growloop with more growth power, new learning experiences, and AI features. At the same time we can invest in supporting growth journeys in many more European organizations. A big win for everyone, says Johan Landgren, CEO, and co-founder.

Growloop arises from the collaboration between leadership consultants, entrepreneurs, and investors with ambition and willingness to democratize leadership development! The driving force is the realization that with the support of digitalization and AI, what has been reserved for a few can become available to everyone. During a couple of years, several prototypes and collaborations were tested before Growloop was developed in 2021. Growloop is a product from the company V3VO – Vertical Evolution AB.V3VO is backed by 9 shareholders. The majority of owners are Co-founders and global leadership consultants Mattias Seger (CPTO) and Monica Edgren. The entrepreneur Johan Landgren is the CEO and also Co-founder. Hans Isoz, Ideabits, Jenny Rosenkrantz, Karl Wassgren, Mimmi Brandberg, Rebecka Eriksson and Sting, are all shareholders and mission friends.

NEWS June 28, 2022

Sting announces two new Sustaintech-coaches: Boel Swartling and Thomas Öström

Sting has a 20 year track record of helping entrepreneurs develop their ideas into successful impact-businesses. Reducing CO2 emission is by far one of our times most complex challenges which has resulted in a great interest in Stings Sustaintech offer. Equipping and preparing businesses with tools for such challenges has created an immense interest from entrepreneurs, investors, and partners.

Sting is now welcoming two new coaches with several years in the green transport – clean energy segment: Boel Swartling and Thomas Öström.

Boel Swartling is the founder of Charge Amps AB, initiator of Sweden Sustaintech Venture Day, and board member of four green-tech businesses:

Green Mobility, Charge Amps, MineStorage, and CCC (carbon capture company).

Additionally, Boel has been on the board of Propel 4 and 5, naturally giving her a great understanding of both founders and investors.

“I’m thrilled to be part of Sting and the coach-team, getting to mentor the next generation of successful entrepreneurs within the sustain-tech field.  I am very much looking forward to sharing my experience and network I have gained while working with Charge Amps, SSVD, and as an investor.

Other than sustainable transport solutions, I am passionate about building companies and teams, and hope that my expertise and experience as a CEO and business consultant will be beneficial to the startups at Sting,” said Boel Swartling.

Thomas Öström is a serial investor, entrepreneur, and board member who amongst many other accomplishments, founded Nasdaq-listed Climeon. 2018 Thomas was named ‘Swede of the year, Innovation’ and 2019 received an honorary doctorate in technology at Luleå Technical University. Thomas primary interest is in challenges around climate change and clean energy solutions.

“There are plenty of startups out there who can contribute to finding the solution to our challenges around climate change. However, to actually make a difference you need tools in order to excel and scale.

I am looking forward to helping these startups utilize their potential and maximize the opportunities to make a difference, through Sting,” said Thomas Öström.

With businesses like Midsummer, Cortus Energy, Cacharge, Enerpoly, Cling Systems, Evolar, Sellpy, Worldfavor, Klimato, Beleco, Surfcleaner , Skrym och Airmee in the portfolio, Sting has over the years had an immense interest in the development within the sustain-tech community. With this new addition to the coach-squad, Sting can offer a support team of talent and expertise to startups focused on solving challenges within this segment.

“At Sting, we are convinced that innovative startups play a crucial role in fighting climate change.  Adding more resources to our team is an attempt to help continue, encourage, and support more Climate Action businesses in the making. 

Clean energy and mobility are two crucial areas for us to focus on, in order to achieve our goal to limit the CO2e-emission in half by 2030.

By welcoming Boel and Thomas onboard the coach-team at Sting, we are now even better equipped than before, to accelerate startups within this specific segment,” said Karin Ruiz, Sustaintech Lead, business coach, and Deputy CEO at Sting.

NEWS June 15, 2022

12 up-and-coming startups pitched on Sting Demo Day

12 Startups pitched their business ideas during the spring edition of Sting Demo Day to 150 investors and other invited guests.

At Sting Demo Day, startups having gone through Sting Accelerate and Sting Incubate, get the opportunity to present their companies, ideas, and future plans to a highly qualified audience of investors.

The graduating companies offer solutions in a wide range of areas, such as Femtech, Edtech, Healthech, AI, Web3, Foodtech, and SaaS solutions for several different industries. How about, for example, a computer-driven learning platform, an app for menopausal women, NFT tickets or a staffing platform for healthcare?

“It’s always special to see our graduating companies on stage, even 20 years after we started. In total, 382 startups have gone through Sting’s programs, and Demo Day is an important event for founders to build on their network of investors and partners for the future,” said Pär Hedberg, CEO, and founder of Sting.

Hypertype was the winner, a platform that with the help of AI helps sellers write smarter emails, was voted the best pitch by the Demo Day audience.

“It was incredibly fun to be on stage last night and what an honor to be voted as the winning pitch! The support we have received from Sting in everything from solving complex problems, leadership issues and to scaling up the company, has been fantastic. Our product is not the classic AI solution and Sting understands and shares our view on how we want to build our product in a completely new area. The investor network that Sting has is invaluable and has given us a flying start from the beginning. It was great to meet so many here tonight!, ”said Teenie Fung, co-founder and CEO of Hypertype.

The companies that participated during STING Demo Day were:


2HEAL enables long-term health through holistic, people-centered healthcare. 2HEAL tackles ill health by treating the root cause – not just alleviating symptoms. They work with the entire patient’s lifestyle, including diet, exercise, rest and mental health.   


A data-driven learning app driving careers and organizations with efficiency & curiosity, creating more equitable opportunities for learning by making education more dynamic and accessible. The intelligent platform includes a social network and a marketplace with integrations with training providers and vocational-technical services.


Attini is an IT company that provides a serverless deployment framework for infrastructure as code (IaC). With this solution, organizations can improve the way they administrate large IT environments in the Cloud. Attini is flexible, secure and designed to automate your infrastructure. 


An office-sharing service for the modern and digital office. Through Awaio’s app, companies can share free spaces, workplaces, and meeting rooms. Users can easily find a workplace that suits his or her needs for the day.  


The simplest mood board tool for interior design. BONI is a cloud-based interior design tool for creating mood boards, visualizing interior design ideas, and finding products – all in one place. BONI makes it possible to combine different furniture from favorite stores and test different options. All products can easily be purchased via links to retailers.  


Simplifies and makes sales and marketing communication more personalized with the help of AI. Hypertype is a plug-and-play solution that analyzes the content of an email and provides the user with relevant sales data and previous email content and then composes personal superfast responses.


A world leading service for recovery after pregnancy and childbirth. With new mothers’ health as our primary focus, Momentus offers an evidence-based, digital support service. Created by medical professionals, Momentus supports and offer guidance to new mothers during the first year of recovery after childbirth.


Ensures the origin of art with the help of chemistry, blockchain and NFT technology. NfinityMark enables artists to create an undeniable link between their physical artwork, blockchain and NFT. NfinityMark contains a unique, chemically engineered serial number which when applied to a work of art, gives the piece a digital identity that protects its origins. It creates security both for creators and collectors and opens new opportunities in metaverse applications.  


Olivia is a digital tool to help women track, understand and minimize menopausal symptoms. Using technology, Olivia creates evidence-based therapeutic interventions that support a healthy lifestyle and decrease menopausal symptoms. 


A global food market that connects independent chefs and customers. Sizzle supports, promotes, and develops independent entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industries and connects them to customers who want a global kitchen. The shared infrastructure makes it easy for contractors to sell their authentic dishes without advance costs and long lead times. Global culinary creativity available to everyone.    


Event tickets for Web3. Tixy.nft is a ticket platform and marketplace built on blockchain technology. The platform gives creators and fans access to a more modern, fairer, and safer ticket experience for both physical and virtual events. Tixy.nft started at the Royal Institute of Technology with support from KTH Innovation


A platform for sustainable staffing in healthcare. Vivium is a cloud-based platform that contributes to safer and more cost-effective internal and external staffing in healthcare.  

NEWS June 8, 2022

Climate Fintech, and Sting alumni, Datia raises $3.4M to simplify investors’ transition to sustainable finance

– The global ESG reporting market is growing rapidly and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17% to Reach $16 Billion by 2027.

– Datia streamlines the ESG workflows allowing for easy understanding of the impact of portfolios, regulatory reporting and pre-trade screening

– The company has a customer based of asset managers representing in excess of $100 billion AUM

Datia founders: Juan Manuel Serruya and Manne Larsson

Sting alumni Datia, a fintech company on a mission to simplify investors’ transition to sustainable finance, has announced that it has raised $3.4M in a Seed funding round led by pan-European venture capital firm Nauta Capital, with participation from Accel Starter Ramzi Rizk, Zenloop’s founder Paul Schwarzenholz, Söderberg & Partners and Sting.

Datia’s platform performs sustainability calculations for hundreds of data points like carbon footprint, gender pay gap and energy usage on companies and funds. The company works with asset managers, wealth advisors, and platforms, allowing for measuring the impact of portfolios, regulatory reporting, and screening. Datia’s platform features hundreds of data points for over 600,000 financial instruments and 200,000 funds.

Since the launch of its platform in 2020, Datia has onboarded an impressive roster of clients including Spiltan Fonder, Alcur Fonder and Atlant Fonder, bringing their assets under management to over $100 billion.

Listed as one of SiftedEU’s Swedish companies to watch in the green fintech space, the funding will support its plans of scaling across Europe, hiring key talent, expanding its efforts to include wealth advisors and neo-bankers. It will also help to accelerate research and development of its ESG tools and sustainability data.

Juan Manuel Serruya, Founder and CEO of Datia, claims, “Our purpose is to support investors in their sustainability work, old-school ESG ratings aren’t enough anymore. Increasingly the challenge is integrating real, hard data into the investment process, complying with rapidly changing regulations and client demands for sustainability. Investors face challenges collecting hundreds of ESG data points, incorporating them into their investment process and complying with complex regulatory client demands. Datia is an investor-first solution for that.”

The global ESG reporting market is growing rapidly and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17% to reach $16 billion by 2027. At the same time, the number of sustainable finance regulations and policy interventions is also accelerating, putting pressure on investors to meet market and regulatory demands.

Guillem Sague, Berlin-based Nauta Capital Partner and recently appointed Datia board member, adds: “ESG can have a positive effect on the financial performance and reduce overall risk. Datia’s ability to help the investor with ESG data, means less of a headache and more transparent analysis. Ultimately, it brings the investor forward into the future of sustainable finance.” 

About Datia

Datia is a climate fintech company on a mission to empower investor’s transition to sustainable finance. Founded in 2019 by Juan Manuel Serruya and Manne Larsson and headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Datia has a customer network with over $100B assets under management (AUM).

For more information, visit

About Datia’s Founders

Juan Manuel Serruya is the founder and CEO of Datia. Previously he was an early employee at Spotify as Head of Engineering for Creator Studio, an R&D group consisting of 5 product development teams with a wide portfolio of industry facing platforms including Spotify for Artists, Spotify for Podcasters, new artistic expression and storytelling formats for artists and their teams.

Manne Larsson is the founder and COO of Datia. Previously worked at venture capital firm EQT Ventures as an investor, and was employee #2 and VP of Business Development at InsiderLog, a Market Abuse Regulation SaaS solution that was acquired by Euronext in 2016.

About Nauta Capital

Nauta Capital is a Pan-European Venture Capital firm investing in early-stage technology companies, with offices in London, Barcelona and Berlin. With over half a billion assets under management and a team of 24 people, Nauta Capital is one of Europe’s largest B2B focused VCs. As a sector-agnostic investor, Nauta’s main areas of interest include B2B SaaS solutions with strong network effects, vertically focused enterprise tech transforming large industries as well as those leveraging deep-tech applications to solve challenges faced by large enterprises. Nauta has led investments in more than 60 companies including Brandwatch, Kubermatic, appfollow, Onna, insureQ, zenloop, Mishipay, and Holded.

Find out more at

For media enquiries contact: Claudia Urquiola (

Financing May 16, 2022

How to set and track finance KPIs that actually matters

As an early venture, how good are you at transforming investments in marketing and tech into revenue?

How can you truly understand your customers to be able to build better products for them?

And how do you explain your business to investors — both the journey this far and where it’s heading?

Key Performance Indicators or KPIs can answer all these questions by measuring how your company is doing overall. But first, you must know the metrics important to your business, how to keep track of them, and how they influence your profit margin. This will allow you to make informed, data-driven decisions every time and of course appeal to your stakeholders with confidence.  

Using my insights from working hand-in-hand with multiple companies to drive their growth potential — I’ve gathered the finance metrics below. They are a good starting point to start the journey for your startup’s key metrics.  

Basic metrics that can assess your company’s financial health

Remember it’s never too early to start tracking and projecting KPIs – which will help you to understand how financially healthy your company is from the start. In short: track your cash; know your runway; plan for your fundraising. The metrics below will help you get started. 

  • Runway – how many months do you have before you run out of cash 
  • Burn rate – how much money you’re spending per month 
  • Revenue – income from sales, do not confuse this with contract values or bookings 
  • MRR/ARR – recurring revenue & the key here is the word recurring, monthly or yearly 
  • GMV – gross merchandise value, total sales going through a marketplace (not the same as revenue) 
  • Monthly churn – how many customers you lost 
  • CLTV or LTV – long term value of a customer, how much a customer makes you net profit while they are your customer 
  • CAC – the cost of acquiring new users 
  • CAC payback – how quickly can you get back the money you used to get a new customer 
  • Gross margin – revenue minus cost of goods sold 
  • Month-on-month growth – your monthly growth rate 

Here’s a great resource to dive deeper into different metrics: 

Identifying the right KPIs for your business

What do you need to know about your business? You want to look for your growth drivers and track metrics as those help you identify your company’s opportunities and pain points – and of course track your month-on-month growth. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you can’t change or influence what you don’t know, no matter which area of the business we’re talking about  – be it finance, marketing, or DEI. So decide which key metrics you want to track and be open to modifying them to fit your need, which is likely to evolve. 

Keep your eyes on the progress

Key metrics are only as good as if and how you track them – without which yet again it’s impossible to know how the business is progressing and what needs changing. So set clear goals and don’t forget to also think long-term, like when you’d need to raise your next funding round. Then use the KPIs to keep tabs on how your business progresses – all while trusting the data and adapting the way you work to better reach your goals next time around. 

About the author:  

Josefiina Kotilainen is CFO at, a seed-stage VC firm partnering with brand-driven & deep tech companies obsessed with challenging category norms. Prior to joining Maki, she was CFO at Europe’s largest startup event Slush. 

Josefiina Kotilainen, Maki VC

Insights April 26, 2022

BIORESTORE is out to revolutionize the way we consume fashion

Fashion production makes up 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions[1] and the production has doubled in the last 15 years. Simultaneously, the time clothing is worn before it is thrown away has fallen by around 40% [2].

The founders of Sting company BIORESTORE, one of five winners of the 2022 Global Change Awards by H&M Foundation, took on the challenge to address this critical world problem.

We spoke to co-founder Wajahat Hussain to hear more about the innovation that could revolutionize the way we consume fashion.

Congratulations on being one of five winners of the Global Change Awards Wajahat, that’s an amazing achievement! Now we’re curious to hear about BIORESTORE. What is it that you are doing?

BIORESTORE Is a product that restores old and worn-out clothes back to new in a single wash. The product is a powder that you put in the washing machine together with your worn garments, wash them at 40 degrees, and voilá, you have a practically new piece of clothing. The colors are refreshed, pilling is removed, the fabric feels tighter and softer, and prints look like new. Each treatment lasts for months!

That sounds amazing. Can you tell us a little bit about the sustainability challenges this is solving?

A lot of research within the sustainable textile field is focusing on recycling fabrics and garments. That is all good, but if you can prolong the life of clothes that are already produced, the impact will be much bigger. This can reduce carbon footprint by at least 50% [3].

Sounds like magic to me. How did you come up with the idea?

It may sound like magic, but it’s really just bioscience. As a textile engineer, I had worked in the fashion industry for 10 years before I started my master’s degree at the Swedish School of Textiles. Being the oldest student in my class, I came with experiences from having worked with a lot of different factories around the world, with fabrics, materials, and chemistry.

All research at that time was focused on questions like ‘how do we recycle textiles’, but I thought that they were missing a step. I was thinking ‘what if we could prolong the life of the garments instead of just throwing them away, or recycling them, as soon as it looks a bit worn?’

I started looking into different technologies, formulated a hypothesis, experimented a bit, and eventually had a technological breakthrough. I spent some more time converting the technology to something a consumer could use in their washing machine at home. The idea of BIORESTORE has always been to empower consumers to be able to prolong the lives of their garments and reduce waste.

How did you make the decision to start a company? How was that process?

As I mentioned, I had been working in the fashion industry for quite some time. For example, I spent three years setting up a sustainable innovation department at Gant. This is where I met Richard, my co-founder, and Creative Director. Our shared passion for sustainable fashion during lunch discussions clicked. One of the learnings was that the adoption of technology and solutions is extremely slow and most deep technologies never make it out to consumers. So, we understood that if we wanted to make this successful, we needed to make sure the product reaches the consumers. We wanted control of our direction which is not always possible if you depend on partnerships. From there it was easy to take the decision to form a company.  

How has the entrepreneurial journey been for you?

Entrepreneurship came very naturally to me. I enjoy it. There are some pros and cons, obviously, you can’t rely on a regular paycheck. On the other hand, you can do what you want, and you can make an impact much faster than you, in my experience, could if you work for someone else.

What has the biggest challenge been, putting your innovation on the market?

Initially, it was very hard to convince people that it really worked. In today’s world of photoshop, filters, and scams, a photo is not enough to build trust. Before the pandemic, we carried around fabric samples so that people could see the results with their own eyes. When we weren’t able to meet in person anymore, we started to distribute a huge number of product samples to people who could use them and then give us testimonials. We joined Sting in 2020 and by the time we graduated, we had over 100 testimonials from people who had used the product. That made it easier for new customers and partners to trust that this wasn’t a scam.

We also partnered up with a fellow Sting company, ‘Hack your closet’. They rent out garments and have a need for restoring some of the things that are starting to look a bit worn. This gave us some further recognition. And not it’s this Global Change Award, which is a real game-changer. People finally believe that this is real.

How was your time at Sting Incubate?  

Without Sting we wouldn’t have reached as far as we have today. We are not local entrepreneurs, I moved to Sweden in 2014 and my co-founder is from the UK, so it was hard for us to know where to start. Building a consumer brand requires quite a lot of skills, network, initial investments and Sting has opened many doors for us. With the help of our Sting coaches, we feel that we could make the right decisions. We ended up raising around 2.25 MSEK, which wouldn’t have been possible without Sting.  

What drives you to move forward?

Our ambition is to make BIORESTORE a global market leader when it comes to clothing restoration. We want this brand to be a household name so that people always think of restoring clothes before buying a new one. Looking at all the responses we get, we are convinced that we are on track with this mission.

Clothes are not only something we put on our bodies, but people also have many memories and emotions attached to their favorite piece of clothes. For example, I met a guy at the gym who was working out in an old Jack Daniels t-shirt. I asked him why and he told me that before he became a successful hotel owner, he worked as a bartender, and this shirt was a fond memory from that time in his life. I could see that it was totally worn so it felt good to be able to offer him to restore it.

This is just one of many stories. There is a big human element to it in addition to all the sustainability data that we can show off.  

What advice do you have to a founder in the Sustaintech area, looking to make an impact?

My strong advice to Sustaintech developers is to believe in what they’re doing. And also, to keep a healthy balance when it comes to sustainability activism and economy since finance and sustainability are closely linked together. Many times, when passionate people build their ventures, they forget that they also must generate revenues in order to get that amazing product or service out to the world.

Where can I buy the product?
We just launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter where you can pre-order your BIORESTORE products and have them delivered in August-September. After this, the product should be regularly available on our website and other marketplaces. Many thanks for your time Wajahat and good luck with the Kickstarter campaign!



[3] The mistra future fashion

Insights April 19, 2022

Startup trends 2022: what’s happening in Sustaintech?

The pace of innovation in the sustaintech space continues to accelerate as a dire need to reverse climate change escalates. We spoke to Sting sustaintech coaches Karin Ruiz and Magnus Rehn to discuss what’s happening in this crucial part of the startup ecosystem.

With the EU aiming to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and public pressure reaching unprecedented levels, it’s no surprise that startups in Sustaintech/Climatetech/Greentech – or whatever you prefer to call it – are thriving.  

Sting coaches Karin Ruiz and Magnus Rehn work closely with Sweden’s most promising Sustaintech startups on a daily basis. Here, they share the latest trends in this space.  

As the industry grows, the capital flows

Today, sustainable business is the only way forward. Companies that do not take active steps to help the world reach net-zero will simply become redundant. Venture capital firms are increasingly impact-driven, and it’s not just for the good of humankind. It’s now widely accepted that sustainability and profitability go hand in hand. In Q2 2021, investment in European Sustaintech reached an all-time high of EUR 5.4 billion. 

“If you look at the amount of capital invested and the number of startups and scale-ups cropping up, the Sustaintech space is growing exponentially,” says Magnus. 

“People are becoming more and more aware of the importance of Sustaintech, and the positive correlation between sustainability and profitability. Investors know that in this space they can get a higher return on investment and future proof them while doing good at the same time,” he explains. 

Karin echoes this: “There are more and more voices arguing that if you have a measurable positive impact and put sustainability at the core of your business, it’s a clear indicator of future profitability. If the impact is a top priority the financial return will follow.” 

A matter of survival 

In the past, sustainability has been a nice to have, but today it’s a matter of survival for businesses, as well as our planet. 

“Today, there’s no other way forward. Policy and legislation play a part to some extent, but what we’re really talking about is survival. For example, if you want to raise a fund, more and more LPs will demand that you have a solid ESG strategy and are directly contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals. They need to be able to prove that the capital they invest is used in a wise way, not only from a return on investment perspective. It should also have a purpose,” explains Karin. 

Magnus also makes another crucial point: “If you want to attract the best talent, you need to be doing something positive. People want to join purpose-driven companies and to be proud of their work (or their investments). At least, I wouldn’t want to sit here and say ‘I’m personally invested in this company that makes plastic bottles and landmines.’”  

Sustaintech space is far from saturated 

Both Karin and Magnus believe there will be greater and greater demand for Sustaintech solutions that tackle the climate crisis – and the research backs this up. The International Energy Agency estimates that almost 50% of the technologies we need to get to net-zero by 2050 have not reached the market yet. Deploying mature technologies like solar and wind is crucial, but will not be enough. 

“We’re only scratching the surface of the Sustaintech market. If we look at the amount of capital invested into this industry over the last five years it has doubled every year. Is it a bubble? No, it’s not a bubble because the problem will not be solved – and the technologies are crucial. Of course, there will be companies and projects in this space that don’t make it, but as an industry, it will only grow. And we’re not just talking over the next 10 years, we’re talking 50 or more,” explains Karin. 

Risk mitigation is naturally occurring

When you invest, you inherently take on a certain amount of risk because you can’t predict the future. But in the Sustaintech space, this risk seems to be lower. 

“The risk is always there, but because there’s room for so many startups and solutions in this space, the risk is naturally less that a company or project won’t make it,” says Magnus. “More and more soft money is also being channeled to the Sustaintech space as a result of new policies such as the European Green Deal. These deals often require co-financing, so for example, the grant would provide financing of around 50% and the rest has to come from other sources in a hybrid agreement between public and private money. This basically means that as a private investor, you’re reducing the risk by half, and investors get more bang for their bucks, so to speak,” he adds.

Food, fashion, and circular solutions are in the spotlight

A high number of Agritech, Foodtech, and Circular Economy startups especially are cropping up. 

“We just reviewed the list of candidates for Swedish Sustaintech Venture Day, and what’s sticking out is the electrification of course because that’s our theme, but also Agritech,” says Magnus. 

At Sting, we’re also seeing an increasing number of highly promising startups join our programs too, for example, Flox, Ignitia, Karma, and Klimato – who recently put climate labels on all of the food at COP26. Other Sustaintech companies are Surfcleaner and Planboo.

“Over the last few years it’s been fun to follow these types of projects but now they’re getting serious and the Agritech sector is growing quickly, especially in southern Europe,” he adds. 

“There’s also a crossover between Bioeconomy and the fashion industry, where there’s a particularly high demand for innovative new solutions and circular business models. So many fantastic startups are cropping up in the space. For example, Sting company Reselo, which has developed a fully sustainable bio-rubber that can be used in shoes, and others like Sellpy, It’s Re:leased and Hack Your Closet are really trailblazing in the re-use space,” says Karin.

Working with an innovative Sustaintech solution?

Apply to Sting now for your chance to join a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and get access to a vast support ecosystem so you can make a bigger impact, faster.

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Electrification is creating a demand for smarter energy storage

Where the use of fossil fuels is declining, electrification is rising. As a result, Magnus and Karin say we need more innovations in the energy storage space. 

“Today, we must be able to transport energy from one point to the next safely and efficiently and store intermittent sources of energy (like solar and wind) so we can rely on these power sources at a later date. To do this, we need innovative, effective ways to store and distribute energy. One way to manage this, for example, if we’re talking about battery-powered vehicles, is to use them as a crowdsourced storage solution when they’re plugged in. But you also need to have a smart grid to enable this,” explains Magnus. 

With the rise in electrification, it’s no surprise that startups in the battery technology development space are also getting a lot of attention at the moment, such as Enerpoly, who has developed rechargeable zinc-ion batteries,  and Cling Systems, which is creating a circular economy for lithium-ion batteries. 

“Finding alternative battery solutions that do not use rare metals that are very hard and dangerous to mine should also be top of the agenda, as well as recycling of these materials. Although electrification can be a good thing, we must limit the number of natural resources we need to produce these batteries and increase their longevity or this will not be a sustainable long-term option,” says Karin.

Credibility is key (especially for early-stage startups)

It’s hard to talk about startups without talking about teams, and Sustaintech startups in particular need to make sure they have the right people on the bus.

“When building a startup in this space so much of it is about who you have on the team because the credibility aspect is so important. If you’re just a couple of enthusiastic students who want to change the world (which I’ve met a lot of), that really is great as you need drive and energy. However, you also need sustainability experts and industry on your team who bolster your credibility and really know their stuff when it comes to impact. If you can bring them into your core team, establish a group of advisors. If you have credible people involved in your business it’ll provide a crucial quality stamp that’s much more critical than in other sectors,” explains Karin. 

Impact entrepreneurs must prioritize scalability 

Impact and scaling go hand in hand – and early-stage startups need to think big. As awareness of climate change rises, people also increasingly want to see facts and figures that back up your level of impact. 

“From the get-go, Sustaintech startups should be asking themselves: how do we scale? How can we make a bigger impact? I always encourage our startups to really think big, as they often limit themselves at the beginning” says Karin. 

“Sustaintech entrepreneurs also need to work out if what they’re doing will really have a big impact in the first place – or is it just incremental? This is why it’s important to closely measure impact with accurate assessment tools and KPIs. It’s also super important to choose the right business model, meaning the one that allows you to make the biggest impact possible and be truly scalable. Investors will also look closely at scalability and potential negative implications of your solution, so startups need to get this right,” Karin adds.

Even if in the early stages it’s a bit of a guessing game, Karin stresses that showing you’ve thought it through from early on and have an impact assessment as part of your business model from the very beginning is key to success. Internationalization should also be considered early on.

“A lot of these markets are truly international, for example, when it comes to energy, you can’t limit yourself to the Swedish market. A lot of the big B2B customers are international companies. It’s also worth remembering that while the same problem might be everywhere, the solution might be different for different geographies,” says Karin.

“The fact you can demonstrate you’re able to understand frameworks, see the value in measuring impact shows, and looking beyond your immediate market shows you’ve done your homework and you’re serious. If you don’t build this into your plan, you’ll be taken by surprise,” Karin adds. 

Healthtech March 29, 2022

Startup trends: Healthtech continues to boom with Krim Talia

The last two years have changed Healthtech radically. Serial entrepreneur and investor Krim Talia shares his thoughts on what’s happening in the industry today, and why.

Accelerated digitalization in healthcare

The pandemic has accelerated the digitalization of the healthcare industry to new heights. Everything changed and people started to prioritize their health more than ever before. Experts say that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital health and virtual care forward by at least three years.

According to the HIMSS Future of Healthcare Report, 80% of healthcare providers plan to increase investment in technology and digital solutions over the next five years. (Forbes) Areas like telemedicine, personalized medicine, genomics and wearables, AI integration, and mental health are all expected to rise. 

Over the last couple of years, the healthcare sector has faced major challenges, and true to form, entrepreneurs have been quick to find new solutions. Investors are also digging deep to fund their endeavors. In 2021 WHO released its first global report ever on AI in health.

The value of Healthech over the years

The 2021 global digital health market size was $268 billion and is expected to be $334 billion in 2022, rising up to $657 billion in 2025 (Statista). In 2021 alone, $44 billion was raised globally in health innovation – twice as much as in 2020 – and the acquisition of health and health tech companies rose 50%. (We Forum)

In 2020 alone, Healthtech companies raised a record $14 billion in funding – marking the first time in history that Healthtech investments have outweighed those in traditional healthcare sectors, like pharmaceuticals. In total, Swedish Healthtech startups raised a combined €396m during 2020 according to Dealroom – a record number. And according to Sifted, the combined value of European Healthtechs has grown over 6x from 2016 to 2021 – from $8bn to $41bn. 

The pandemic also accelerated shifts in consumer behaviors and expectations, with people today being much more open to digital care and telehealth. But what else is driving these trends, and what does the future of healthcare look like? We sat down with Sting Coach, serial entrepreneur, and investor Krim Talia to get his thoughts. 

The big picture: efficiency is key to unlocking real value

Krim believes the healthcare sector faces a shared challenge on a macro level. 

“There’s one overarching thing setting the stage for the whole healthcare industry: a super-fast increase in healthcare costs, while taxable incomes are generally flatlining. Because of this, the whole sector cannot expect to see huge inflows of new resources into the healthcare space,” explains Krim.

Today, Europe spends on average around 8% of its GDP on healthcare, the US spends roughly 18%, and here in Sweden, around 9% of GDP is spent on healthcare. 

“If you look at where we spend that money, you can cut the loaf in different ways. For example, we’re spending around 5% on Medtech products, around 15% on pharmaceutical products, and the bulk of the money is spent on healthcare services.  So, almost 80% of total spending in the healthcare sector is on healthcare itself. This means the approach that has the largest potential to address increasing healthcare costs is to develop innovative solutions that increase efficiency on the ground, for example, in hospitals, nursing homes, and primary care.”

The dismal figures for prevention

If you cut ‘the loaf’ in another direction, Krim explains, you’ll see we’re only spending 1-2% on preventative healthcare. 

“Spending on preventative methods is almost non-existent, which is pretty shocking. Our system is extremely reactive, and the bulk of the money – I’m talking like 90% – is spent on people that are already sick, most of which have chronic diseases. And this is a very interesting group of people. These patients have been living with their disease, or diseases, for a long time, and they’re highly motivated to find ways to improve their situation and explore new alternatives. This is a group of people you can really work with to make big changes. I think it’s our duty as a society to help prevent other people from ending up in a similar situation where we can,” says Krim.

The importance of the four Ps

When Krim invests in Healthtech companies, he’s looking for companies that are aligned with four things that he believes are the foundations for the future of healthcare:

  1. Predictive
  2. Preventive
  3. Personalized
  4. Participatory

“I think the move towards predictive health is the most important trend right now, for example, using AI and health data to improve diagnostic tests so people can predict and monitor their health status. 

Then we also see a large interest in prevention, simply because it makes sense. However, the financial models for prevention aren’t fully developed yet. That’s why you see things like health impact bonds emerging, which has been pioneered by RISE Social and Health Impact center and Sting alumni company Health Integrator.

When it comes to participatory, we’re looking for solutions that empower patients to participate in their own treatment and take more responsibility for their health – which is the right way to go. We know the amount of new resources we can put into the system is limited, so we need to involve and empower the patients with the right tool that can free the last hidden resource in the system – the patient themself. 

I’m seeing a lot of Healthtech startups emerging that are trying to do this. Take current Sting company Andningmed, for example, which provides a medical device that empowers respiratory patients to improve their inhalation technique and increase compliance with their treatment regimen.  Another very strong trend is a number of new companies aiming at the epic opportunity offered by catering to underserved needs within women’s health. New Sting startups like Momentus and Olivia offer personalized health services that empower women in their fourth trimester or women in menopause,” says Krim.

Working with an innovative Healthtech solution?

Apply to Sting now for your chance to join a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and get access to a vast support ecosystem so you can make a bigger impact, faster.

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There are also big trends emerging around personalized medicine. For example, we have seen a surge in the Healthtech diagnostics market. The pandemic did, however, reveal that there are huge challenges to be addressed when it comes to robust digital lab infrastructures and solutions that can support home testing with high integrity, trust, and quality.

“These challenges are being addressed by companies such as Findout Diagnostics and Infrion (a current Sting company). We also see companies like current sting company 2Heal that use these new diagnostic opportunities in order to analyze the root causes behind health problems and deliver highly personalized health services,” shares Krim.

But he also believes there’s still a lot of uncharted territory in this space – which presents a huge opportunity for Healthtech startups and entrepreneurs eyeing up the healthcare sector.

“Considering these four Ps is also a way for young startups to structure their thinking about how they contribute to SDG 3 – good health and well-being,” he adds.

Krim Talia

Krim coaches companies within healthtech and deeptech.
070-973 26 65

Insights March 9, 2022

Celebrating Female Founders

This week we are celebrating our female founders at Sting. Gender equality has long been a focus for us. In 2017 we started to measure and set goals for what kind of companies we wanted to help build and the proportion of companies with female founders in our programs.  

The starting point 

This week we are celebrating our female founders at Sting. Gender equality has long been a focus for us. In 2017 we started to measure and set goals for what kind of companies we wanted to help build and the proportion of companies with female founders in our programs.  

Back then, 26% of the companies had at least one female founder. Today 2022 that figure stands at 75% which we are very proud of and shows that diversity and equality are going in the right direction.  

Today, the proportion of female founders is one of our most important KPIs and something that permeates the entire business.  

Putting numbers into perspective 

We went back and looked at our data from 2021 to see what the numbers could tell us. 61 Sting startups raised approximately 1 bn SEK last year of which 54% had at least one female founder. 

45% of the raised capital went to companies with at least one female founder. 

8% of the capital went to all female-founded companies and 37% of the capital was invested in companies with mixed founding teams with at least one female founder.  

How can we put these numbers into perspective? In comparison, according to a survey by Unconventional Venture, in 2020, all-women-founded startups raised just 0.7% of investment in the Nordics and 7.3% went to mixed-gender founding teams. That’s a massive gap and we believe women-founded startups deserve to have much higher numbers in the Nordics.  

How did female-founded Sting companies do in founding rounds?  

Major funding rounds in female-founded Sting companies include the 117 MSEK round in Volumental, 50MSEK in Evolar, and 48% MSEK raised in Surfcleaner. 

Propel Capital, the investment arm of Sting, made 59% of its investments into startups with at least one female founder.  

We are very proud of last year’s figures but remain dedicated to working for more female founders in Sting companies, helping to support our startups to build strong teams that take a long-term approach to funding, and view dialogues with investors as an ongoing process.  

To celebrate women and encourage more of them to become entrepreneurs, we are opening up our open coaching to make our expertise more accessible. From the 7th-11th of March, female founders or idea owners can book a free coaching session with one of our experienced coaches to get personal advice on how to move their ideas further on their journey.