That's certainly what LA-native, Stockholm-based Tyler Crowley thinks anyway. At a meetup on Tuesday that the startup founder and consultant organised to show off Stockholm's startup scene to visiting journalist Jemima Kiss of the Guardian, he bemoaned why Stockholm doesn't have the profile it deserves. The city has world-class universities and third-level institutions, accelerator programmes, co-working spaces, major international startup success stories, and a bristling event scene, he said. The problem? Perhaps that the Swedes aren't shouting about it enough.
He described how the community in LA organically (read "slowly") settled on a common hashtag – #siliconbeach – to be applied to every tweet, Foursquare checkin and Instagram post from a community event. So after a casual show-of-hands vote on suggestions from the floor, #sthlmtech emerged as Stockholm's effort for a common hashtag. It's got brevity going for it, though I'm not sure how well "STHLM" is understood outside of Stockholm.
Tyler went on to call out a number of tech initiatives in Stockholm, the organisers of which were in many cases in attendance and who spoke briefly about their events. I thought this was a great approach to bringing together the various different efforts. We heard from, among others:
- Pejman Dashtinejad of 46 Elks, organiser of the Stockholm Lean Startup Circle
- Hanna Kulin of Open Tech School (along with another collaborator whose name I didn't catch)
- Per Bergström of Startup Grind Stockholm, who recently organised a very slick event with Wrapp co-founder Hjalmar Winbladh (video here)
- Jonny Strömberg, representing Stockholm Startup Hack and Startup Location, a nice map of startups in the city. Jonny also revealed that soon the people behind the startups would be listed as well as their companies.
- James Pember of the blog Swedish Startup Space
- Henrik Hoffman of A Startup Store, a pop-up shop in Kulturhuset selling consumer products like jeans and coffee beans
(I only caught first names on the night so I've come up with these individuals with a bit of Googling – if I've misidentified anyone, let me know!)
I've put the people I've mentioned in this post in a Twitter list that you can follow.
Next, Jemima and the audience were treated to pitches from three very impressive Stockholm-based startups.
First, Instabridge co-founder Niklas Agevik presented their smart app for easily making your WiFi network available for sharing with your friends. The service, which is available now for Android, was just approved by Apple, Agevik announced on the night. I'd encourage you to check out their great video on their service above, with a distinctly Lonely Sandwich feel to it.
Next, Volumental co-founder Caroline Walerud demonstrated her company's easy 3D scanning service. It all runs in the browser using a depth camera like the Xbox Kinect. She executed a ballsy demo, scanning Tyler live on stage, that went off without a hitch. The product, which is the result of four years' research, has just secured 2 M SEK funding, Walerud announced to applause.
Finally, Mahesh Kumar presented Magine. Magine lets you watch live TV, but also pause, rewind, and watch programmes from the beginning, as well as programmes that have already finished. They're going after the traditional, linear live TV market – the people who watch programmes like Sweden's equivalent of X Factor, Melodifestivalen, for example. I think their idea and app is really impressive. It's how live TV is supposed to be, and is a great complement to Netflix and iTunes. Currently free-to-air Swedish channels are available to users in Sweden, though the app is still in invitation-only mode.