Tech Nordic Advocates is the Nordic and Baltic 'sister' organisation of Tech London Advocates - London's largest independent network of some 3,000 senior tech leaders, which has played an instrumental role in growing London and the UK tech sector. Tech London Advocates was founded by Russ Shaw in 2013, to stimulate collaboration and further growth of the rapidly growing tech sector AND address obstacles to further growth, including fragmentation of the tech ecosystem and provide much needed support and access to funding for tech start-ups.
On the 2 November, Tech Nordic Advocates are organising a summit in Stockholm, "The Many Faces of Nordic and Baltic Tech", of which The Swedish Chamber of Commerce is proud to be a partner. FOCUS caught up with Jeanette Carlsson, Founder and Chair of Tech Nordic Advocates, to find our more about the organisation, the summit and what makes the Nordics so exceptional when it comes to tech.
Why is Tech Nordic Advocates needed?
With rapid tech sector growth in the Nordics and Baltics, the region facing many of the same challenges as London/the UK tech sector when Russ Shaw founded Tech London Advocates in 2013, each Nordic/Baltic country being too small to offer real scale to start-ups, and with the success Tech London Advocates has delivered for London/the UK tech sector, it made sense to replicate the same model in the Nordics and Baltics. So, Russ Shaw persuaded me to launch Tech Nordic Advocates in November last year (2015).
In just six months, Tech Nordic Advocates has grown to become Northern Europe's largest independent network of senior tech leaders, investors, entrepreneurs and influencers, working together to grow the Nordic and Baltic tech sector, covering all five Nordic and three Baltic countries, and acting as the common bridge between the Nordic/Baltic and UK/international tech sector. The rapid growth of Tech Nordic Advocates has confirmed the need for an organisation like ours, to act as a pan-Nordic and Baltic platform to stimulate further tech growth in the region.
What is special about the Nordic and Baltic tech scene?
The Nordic and Baltic tech sector is growing rapidly. The region has produced many tech super stars (e.g. Spotify, Klarna, Transferwise, Zendesk, Just Eat, Milestone, Unity Technologies and more), venture capital funding to start-ups is growing at a rate of some 120%, helped along by the likes of Spotify, compared to some 75% in London, and there's growing international investment in the region. Overall, the start-up scene appears to be at a pivotal point but obstacles remain. With each Nordic and Baltic country too small to offer real scale, there is a need to collaborate across Nordic and Baltic country borders and create a pan-Nordic/Baltic market, in which start-ups, investors and tech leaders naturally look beyond own country borders for opportunities, access to funding, talent and partners. To attract investment from London and the international tech sector, there is a need for a common entry point/gateway between the Nordics/Baltics and London/the international tech community. This is what Tech Nordic Advocates is all about.
What can guests expect from the summit? Highlights?
Guests can expect to meet leading tech leaders, start-ups, investors, entrepreneurs and officials from the UK, Nordics and Baltics. For example, the summit will be opened by the British Prime Minister's Official Envoy to the Nordics and Baltics, addressed by Russ Shaw, Founder of Tech London Advocates, the Greater London Authority (GLA) and sponsored by London & Partners, delivering a strong message of the critical importance of collaboration between London/the UK and the Nordic/Baltic tech sectors and the role Tech Nordic Advocates play as the gateway between our two regions. The UK speakers will be followed by other keynote speakers, influencers, Tech Nordic Advocates working group chairs and partners from the UK, Nordics and Baltics, who will lead discussions on how we can work together to stimulate Nordic and Baltic tech sector growth and spark a live interactive tech-enabled audience debate at the Summit as to how we can work together to grow the Nordic and Baltic tech sector together. The Summit will also kick off the 2017 Nordic Startup Awards, highlighting the critical role Tech Nordic Advocates play in supporting start-ups. Finally, there will be a unique opportunity to network with the UK and the Nordic and Baltic region's tech leaders, start-ups, investors and entrepreneurs in the networking reception which concludes the Summit.
What are you hoping to achieve with the event?
Key goals are to celebrate Tech Nordic Advocates' first anniversary and achievements: gather the UK and the Nordic ad Baltic regions' tech leaders, investors and entrepreneurs, to discuss what more can be done to stimulate the growth of and remove obstacles to further tech sector growth. Tech Nordic Advocates' strong support for start-ups will be highlighted with the launch of the 2017 Nordic Start-up Awards. Finally, a key element is to enable the UK and the Nordic/Baltic regions' tech leaders, investors and entrepreneurs to meet and network in an informal setting to stimulate new opportunities for growth and collaboration.
Why did you choose to place it in Stockholm?
Tech Nordic Advocates is a pan-Nordic and Baltic network for senior tech leaders. As such, we rotate events and working group meetings across the region. Stockholm is an important tech hub and source of real tech innovation, entrepreneurship and growth in the Nordic/Baltic region, and so it makes sense to celebrate Tech Nordic Advocates first anniversary and Summit in Stockholm.
Who should come to the summit? Who is it mainly aimed at?
The Summit is aimed at Tech Nordic Advocates and other senior tech leaders, investors, entrepreneurs, influencers, press and media with an interest in the Nordic and Baltic tech scene and collaboration between the UK and Nordic/Baltic tech sector - "senior" defined as decision making capability, not age (a CEO of a start-up aged 25 is "senior")
What’s next for TNA? Future plans?
Tech Nordic Advocates is growing rapidly across the region and becoming an increasingly important forum for tech collaboration and growth across all 5 Nordic and three Baltic countries, with over 500 senior tech leaders having joined the network in only six months. Our clear aim is to continue that growth, and cement Tech Nordic Advocates' role as the go-to platform for tech collaboration and growth in the Nordics and Baltics and gateway to London and the international tech community. At the policy level, our working groups will play an increasingly important role in identifying key opportunities and obstacles, which need to be addressed to further tech growth in the region. To that end, we are forming an Advisory Board for Tech Nordic Advocates, which will draw out the key themes that need addressing by Tech Nordic Advocates and policy makers in the region. Our sold-out events will continue to stimulate discussions, networking and collaboration to further Nordic and Baltic tech growth, and promote the Nordic and Baltic tech sector as a growing and increasingly important global tech hub, though continued strong media coverage of our events and activities.
The event will take place in Stockholm on the 2 November. SCC Members who are interested in attending the event will receive a special price of €20 whereas Non-members will pay €30. To book tickets, click here and enter promotional code SCC-TNASummit2016