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NEWS September 9, 2019

Sting launches new program for Deeptech innovations

Sting has previously supported several deeptech companies, for example, iCellate, Ingrid Cloud and Volumental. 

Companies based on complex, advanced technologies, so-called deeptech companies, often face special challenges during the early stages. To better support this type of companies, Sting is now launching a new track within its Incubate program – Sting Incubate Deeptech.

The new program is aimed at deeptech companies based on complex, advanced technologies. It includes, among other things, research-heavy technologies in areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics, security, radar, sensors, the Internet of things, new materials, and energy, water and biotechnology.

Because of their long development cycles, these companies differ from purely digital companies in the kind of support they need to optimally grow and develop. Often, they are also much more capital intensive and therefore attract fewer of the traditional investors.

– These companies often have great potential to solve major, important global problems and can make significant impact, for example in relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Deeptech companies deal with great risk in terms of teams, technology, financing and the market, and we have seen a need for specially designed business development support to allow them to grow in the best possible way, says Pär Hedberg, founder and CEO of Sting.

The startups apply for and are accepted on an ongoing basis and are offered Sting’s support for a considerably longer period than otherwise; up to 30 months. To be admitted, there must be great opportunity to protect the business idea and create entry barriers with the help of patents or similar methods. In addition to Sting’s regular offer, the entrepreneurs also benefit from special advice on financing, including assistance in identifying sources of funding with large amounts. The companies also gain knowledge about EU funding and access to Sting’s network of experts in the deeptech area.

The program has been developed in dialogue with KTH Innovation, which has long experience of supporting people with ideas in complex technologies that have great potential to change their industry.

– We are convinced that the offer is very attractive to companies that are based on complex technologies and are ready to take the next step after the universities’ innovation support. We have seen the need at KTH and are very happy that the program is now becoming a reality,” says Lisa Ericsson, Head of KTH Innovation.

The program is also backed by knowledgeable people in deeptech who will act as specialist advisors. To date, the list includes Jane Walerud, investor and co-founder of software company Bluetail and co-founder and CEO of Teclo Networks; Mårten Skogö, co-founder of eye-tracking company Tobii and chief technologist at Industrifonden; Ulrika Nordén, co-founder and CEO of IRnova, who develops and manufactures high-performance infrared detectors using cutting-edge technology; Patrik Möller, co-founder of Replisaurus Technologies and CEO of CorPower Ocean, which produces electricity from wave energy, and Björn Westerholm, founder and former CEO of fuel cell-based power bank MyFC.

In addition to these indivisuals, Sting has also established a partnership with RISE, Sweden’s Research Institute and Innovation Partner. The partnership gives admitted companies access to technical due diligence and access to RISE’s networks and resources. The program also has a collaboration with IVA, The Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences, which opens up its network of technically competent people.

Sting has previously supported several deeptech companies such as Diamorph, Midsummer, Bioservo Technologies, Yubico, IRnova, Mantex and Volumental.

– We are very much looking forward to helping develop more solutions that in many cases can really contribute to a better world, says Pär Hedberg.

In addition to the Incubate Deeptech program itself, several different initiatives will be implemented to gather Stockholm’s deeptech startups, build new networks and engage investors. So far, the following activities are planned:

  • A new Sting Test Drive program where entrepreneurs with early ideas and companies in deeptech during four evening workshops will learn how to evaluate and test their business ideas and models. Test Drive Deeptech will be launched in October and will be arranged in collaboration with KTH Innovation.
  • Deeptech Open Coaching sessions, short 20-minute meetings for entrepreneurs with exciting business ideas within deeptech who want to get input on a specific problem or challenge.
  • Sting Night, a matchmaking event for startups and investors focusing on Deeptech solutions.
Finansiering March 14, 2014

In the mind of a business angel


How do you attract a private investor? What should you research and what questions should you consider before choosing who to bring into your company? On Monday this week, we had lunch with the serial entrepreneurs and business angels Jane Walerud and Martin Wattin who talked about private investing with our entrepreneurs.

So, simply put: A business angel is someone who privately invests in early-stage companies, with money straight from their own pocket. Jane and Martin are members of the STING Business Angels (SBA) network, and the two have invested in close to 20 startups combined.

Jane is currently CEO at her latest startup, Teclo Networks. She is an experienced tech entrepreneur and her journey goes back to 1998. Since then, she has built a portfolio of investments and companies that is rather impressive. Some of the more known cases are Bluetail, Klarna and LensWay.

Martin hails from a background as an IT-entrepreneur and investor, and has since 2006 invested in a number of IT/media companies in Sweden, the US and India. Some of the Swedish investments include Mostphotos, Rabble and Scrive, where Martin also serves as a board member.

Here is a summary from the lunch meetup.

Enjoy building companies
To invest in early-stage startups equals a large risk, and the investor can potentially end up empty-handed. According to both Martin and Jane, it’s worth taking that risk. They believe it is important, and a real pleasure, to share their expertise as serial entrepreneurs, and help companies to scale early. Angel investors usually have a deep passion for building companies, and have a lot to offer younger entrepreneurs – especially in the initial stages of a business.

“I know I’m most helpful in the early stages of a startup, before the team grows bigger than 50-60 people,” Jane said.

Martin is an active investor, and on a weekly basis he meets up with the companies as well as has regular follow-ups. “I want to steer them away from doing the same mistakes I once did, and be close to my companies,” Martin said.

Martin and Jane pinpointed business angels’ critical role in the eco system of startups, which is to support the companies with both funding and coaching when they might require expertise the most, and before they attract capital from larger VC firms.

Study before the official test
So how do you go about attracting a private investor? Well, there’s no straight answer to that.

“It’s vital to know who you’re approaching. What type of business has this person invested in earlier? Why is your company relevant to them?” Jane advised. She really emphasized the importance to identify the weaknesses within the team, and look for an investor who represents those skills.

“Make sure that you accept the right people into the company, who share your values and future ambition,” Martin urged.

For Martin, it is essential that the entrepreneur presents an idea of a vision of the business, and in what direction the business will head in the next few years. You need to have a vision to become a leader. Structure is key, and also to show a sense of urgency combined with a lot of optimism.

 “You need to find the perfect match”
At the end of the day, it’s all about how you connect. Martin and Jane could not stress enough how central the connection is between the two parties.

“You need to find the perfect match. A business angel is a key player, it has to be a brilliant fit,” said Jane.

It is worth to keep in mind that this person will be with you for a long time ahead. And, of course, by targeting the right kind of investor, identify exactly what you want to get out of it and what skill-gap the investor could fill, there’s a greater chance of finding that perfect match.


Thanks Jane and Martin for spending this Monday lunch hour with us!

Want to hear more from two experienced entrepreneurs? Read our blogposts about Niklas Adalberth, founder of Klarna, and Henrik Lenberg, former VP Soundcloud.

Internet/media December 23, 2013

“Find people who are better than yourself”


At the end of last week, STING’s FastForward team popped over to Klarna’s headquarters here in Stockholm. Since Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Niklas Adalberth and Victor Jacobsson founded the e-commerce business in 2005, it has been quite a ride. With the recent acquisition of rival Sofort (DE) earlier this week, Klarna is today one of the leading European online payment services with more than 1000 employees.

We sat down with Klarna’s deputy CEO Niklas Adalberth for lunch, and looped through as much of their journey as we could fit into one hour. Niklas is a modest man with – needless to say – ­­tons of advice for young entrepreneurs. Here are five of them:

Young and inexperienced is a great benefit
According to Niklas, being a rookie was definitely not a problem. “Looking back in hindsight, a big advantage was that we were young and inexperienced when first starting out. Partly because that gave us the courage to jump into this industry, and partly because our lack of expertise in certain areas made us find other talented people who represented the missing skills.”

“We hold an incredibly strong focus on sales. It should be every company’s top priority.” – Niklas Adalberth

Take your idea for a test-drive
Klarna is a product success as much as it is a sales success, Niklas revealed. “We hold an incredibly strong focus on sales. It should be every company’s top priority.” He suggests creating a prototype and test-drive your idea in the very early stage. Don’t spend months on just the product before testing the market and collecting inputs, ideas and other valuable insights from your customers.

“Try to find people who are better than yourself”
Since inception, the Klarna founders have been persistent with employing strong and high-performing people. “Try to find people who are better than yourself, who complement you,” said Niklas. At the same time, he does admit this is a difficult task – especially in the beginning. One reason why Klarna managed to attract talented people from start is related to the generosity of offering equity stakes. “If you give your employees a reason to be motivated, it’s much more likely you’ll find the right people,” Niklas clarified.

Consider a logical reasoning test
Business angel and investor Jane Walerud has been an eminent support for Niklas, Sebastian and Victor, not just financially. Early on, she encouraged them to, among other things, introduce a logical reasoning test in the hiring process. Simply put, the test is a good indication to how well a prospective employee would cope with a rapidly expanding business. Niklas said Klarna applies it in the recruiting process still. “It’s a frank and predictable test, and Sebastian and myself are very adamant about this.”

Right person in the right position
To constantly re-evaluate the team and who does what within the company has become a vital activity for Klarna, due to its speedy growth. “What’s most difficult, but also most necessary when building a business is to repeatedly challenge yourself to assess the team and employees’ roles,” Niklas said. He gave a clear example: “We spend a lot of time ensuring we have the right people on our board and there’s been some changes to it almost on an annual basis since the start.”

Thanks Niklas for having us, it was a great pleasure!

NEWS September 13, 2016

Here are the new Fintech ideas participating in STING Test Drive


For the second year in a row, 10 promising startups will get support from STING to develop their business ideas within “Financial Technology”. New this year is that Swedbank is not only a partner but also participating with three own projects. Industrifonden and FCG are also partners in the program STING Test Drive Fintech.

– STING Test Drive is an excellent initiative for testing early ideas. We look forward to sharing our experiences, in both B2B and B2C, from an investor perspective, says Sofia Ericsson Holm, Investment Manager at Industrifonden.

STING Test Drive is led by business angel Walerud Jane, who was an early investor in Klarna, and Fredrik Rosengren, business coach at STING. During seven evening workshops, they will help the entrepreneurs to evaluate and develop their business ideas.

– We see several interesting ideas in robo guidance and cost-efficient savings that challenges the financial sector. It will be incredibly exciting to help them forward, says Fredrik Rosengren, business coach at STING (Stockholm Innovation & Growth).

The goal of the STING Test Drive Fintech is to help create more companies in the financial technologies sector (eg banking, transaction, residential mortgages, insurance and payment services). People all over Sweden with their own innovative Fintech idea with a large international growth potential can participate. The program is completely free. Past participants include Sigma Stocks, Marqts and Klirr.

Here are the 13 selected startups/projects participating in STING Test Drive Fintech this fall:

Aidough offer the service “Private banking for the masses” based on advanced economic models and methods of financial management and risk analysis. The service manages not only traditional financial instruments – Aidough weighs in all aspects of an individual’s finances and life situation. Thus Aidough creates a risk-adjusted portfolio where for example certain types of risks are hedged with insurance. 

Cling connects private lenders and companies to provide small to medium-sized businesses sales financing that previously has been available only to the big chains. We have made the financing process easy and automated. Companies of all sizes can with private lenders’, or with their own capital, offer financing services that provide their customers greater purchasing power, and Cling’s lenders better returns.

EuroSavings – Sweden’s best interest in Europe. The deposit rate on fixed-rate accounts with the Swedish banks are low, usually 0.2%-0.6%. EuroSavings allows for private and corporate customers to take advantage of the best rates at selected banks in Europe with 2%-3% interest rate with 3 months’ to 5 years’ maturity. After an easy registration, the customer can choose the rate and term that best among Euro Savings partner banks.

F&A Forecasting has created Indicio, a platform that enables decision makers to beat experts in forecasting everything from commodity prices to airport queues. It is the first platform on the market to address the need for a guided prediction structure. Through this structure, anyone can apply advanced statistical models that were previously only available in academia. Digital or on paper, always in conjunction with the best forecasters in the market. 

KRAM stands for Customer Advisors Matchmaker. We offer a solution to match customers with advisors, administrators and services based on various parameters, such as cultural and national backgrounds, but not least on the basis of personality and motivations. It allows us to meet customers on their terms and give them a more personal experience.

PopBank is a banking service based on blockchain, where the customer controls and owns her own money without the need for having a bank. It is based on offering simplified and free services in a completely open system secured through distributed computing technologies.

Primepilot will be the first complete robo advisor in the Nordics, and also the first mobile one. The media, politicians and the people agree – expensive funds and advisors inhibit savings and pension growth. Soon, you can save smarter with Primepilot. Primepilot supports you in an easy way to find the funds that are right for you. You get access to information and advice anytime and anywhere, at the lowest cost.

SEEQEST Are you invested in nuclear weapons without knowing it? With SEEQEST you can “google” the holdings in all of Sweden’s pension funds. You can assess whether investments are consistent with your values and act accordingly. Thus, your pension also becomes a powerful steering instrument for the future you want to see. 

Småspararguiden wants to cure the Swedes’ widespread savings anxiety. Savers pay annually 13 billion Swedish crowns in unnecessary fees and do not know whom to turn to when advisors and personal bankers act like, and are, salesmen. We offer a digital consultancy that is simple, engaging, independent, transparent and sustainable. 

Split Lending offers individuals a “crowd-lending” product that enables positive returns with low risk in the current low-interest rate environment. Split Lending meets the need for services and products that provide positive returns and where customers can trust that someone has reviewed the risk and can ensure that it is low in relation to other products on the market.

Stratify is a digital service that collects and analyzes the user’s overall economy data. We want to give micro enterprises an opportunity to feel ownership of their finances and provide support in the process, overall control and proactive advice. The user is guided in when, what and why they should act on the data that is the basis for strategic and operational decision making.

The Fair Loan Project – the nice quick loan! The SMS and instant loan market is the part of the financial industry that has the worst reputation, with interest rates up to 500-600 percent. The Fair Loan Project provides instant loans at considerably lower interest rate, higher flexibility and without the hassle and fees. Loan applications and administration are fully automated via the web/smartphone to minimize costs. The proprietary three-point credit verification system minimizes risk in real time, allowing for payment within a few hours. Debt financing is made through professional investors via a P2P approach with guarantees returns of 6-10 percent.

UBY uses the “power of many” by providing a community for consumers to hand-pick the best deals for specific banking services – without tying themselves up to a single bank – and still get a comprehensive picture of their banking commitments. UBY offers banks a marketplace consisting of pre-approved clusters of customers with specific product needs, and also the ability to hand-pick individual customer engagement. This reduces customer acquisition costs and risk profiles can be optimized.