Swedish tech making a mark at London Bootcamp
15 October 2020
With Britain’s exit from the European Union, articulating the value and benefits offered by the UK market has become increasingly important. London, still very much the financial capital of Europe and home to most international corporate headquarters, the UK more broadly offers Swedish businesses a fantastic growth market and launchpad globally. In response to this, the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK last year launched ‘London Bootcamp’ in partnership with the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth. The programme helps Swedish start-ups on their journey to the UK and gives them the tools needed to succeed.The Link met with three of this year’s 22 participating start-ups on their UK journeys. “We joined London Bootcamp to get a good overview of the UK market, which is a key market for us. We are keen to understand the eco-system in terms of brands, media agencies, content creators and investors,” says Robin Åstrom, CEO and Founder of Wehype.
With bases in Sweden and international growth ambitions, 22 companies participated in this year’s ‘London Bootcamp’, hosted during London Tech Week in September. The programme offers a one-week programme with sessions on practically setting up, marketing in the UK, avoiding pitfalls and business culture differences (to name a few), and meetings with experienced entrepreneurs, advisers and investors, resulting in a unique launch pad.
Expectations for the programme
Online funeral director, Fenix Funeral, launched a pilot test in the UK at the end of February this year. “Fenix Funeral is one of the leading funeral directors in Sweden today. We are now looking to expand our business into other markets,” Charlotte Runius, Director at Fenix Funeral says. Fenix Funeral digitalises and transforms the very traditional, and often expensive, funeral industry by offering their service online at a reduced cost. By participating in London Bootcamp they were hoping to gain new investors in order to continue their journey in the UK. “One of the main reasons for our participation in the programme has been to gain British investors that can support us on our journey,” Charlotte explains.
Fredrik Uddenfeldt is Head of International Growth at ClimateView, a Swedish start-up which provides software helping cities to plan and collaborate towards reaching their climate goals. To Fredrik, meeting with the other participating companies during the programme is of equal importance, businesses with whom they share a journey. “The UK is our fastest- growing market at the moment and home to many investors. London Bootcamp is a really valuable opportunity for us to listen, learn and to get to know other companies that are in a similar situation.“
Entering the UK market
The size of the UK market (the world’s fifth largest) and being a centre for international businesses, makes it a natural step for Swedish businesses on their growth journeys. “The UK is one of the largest economies in the world. A large chunk of our current and potential clients are based here and it’s obvious that we need to have a good presence.”, says Robin, CEO and Founder of Wehype. Wehype launched 1,5 years ago and is today the world’s largest Gaming and Esports media platform. Now their goal is to expand internationally. “We are now in a scale-up phase in which we focus on international growth and continuous innovation on the technology side. We expect to get a good glimpse of how the UK market works and relevant insights we can turn into actions to grow our business,” Robin explains. ClimateView expanded to the UK earlier this spring: “We want to be fully prepared for the next phase of growth in the UK. We hope that the programme helps us with that,” Fredrik says. The 22 businesses in the bootcamp programme join at different stages of their expansion, some are already present legally but at the very beginning of their journey, whilst some are preparing for that very first step. “The bootcamp was a fantastic opportunity to learn about the UK market. Since Fenix Funerals already has a foothold in London, I particularly enjoyed the sales and marketing sessions. Also, the workshops with the other start-up team members was a good challenge,” Charlotte says.
One of the main goals with the London Bootcamp programme is to give the participants insights and practical tips when entering the UK market, but also to be a platform for like minded entrepreneurs and businesses. Fredrik highlights the widespread insights they obtained, from administrative advice to great connections. “We got lots of useful insights, from administrative and financial things to strategic- level advice. But the best part was talking to other companies who are in a similar situation as us, preparing to scale up.” Charlotte agrees and also points out the value of meeting people in the same position: “The knowledge and connections will be useful as we scale Fenix Funerals in the UK. I look forward to keeping in touch with other founders and managers going forward to discuss mutual opportunities. I would certainly recommend the bootcamp for companies in different stages that plan to sell or operate in the UK. It’s also useful for companies like Fenix Funeral, that already have a foothold in the market, for the Swedish managers to better develop the UK opportunities,” Charlotte adds.
As an end to the week, and to end the programme, ten bootcamp businesses were selected to perform a final pitch during the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK’s Tech Forum event. This year, Charlotte Runius at Fenix Funeral won the pitching session and was awarded with a one-year membership at the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK. “I’m proud of course. It shows that people in the UK see the same problems we do at Fenix Funerals and appreciate our solution. It is an indication that we will be successful in helping families here too,” Charlotte says.