Västerbotten Investment Agency

Christmas Greetings from Västerbotten Investment Agency

YlvaWritten december 23rd, 2014 by Ylva

Merry Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We want to thank all of you for 2014!

No one will be present in our offices in Umeå and Skellefteå over the holiday season but you can find us there again in the beginning of January. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

The video games market is now a truly global playground!

SantoshWritten december 12th, 2014 by Santosh

rodrigo_rivas_ruiz-dreamhack-2182

The video games market is now a truly global playground. And, this was more than evident at the recent Game Connection 2014 that concluded in Paris. It was a veritable A to Z when it came to participating countries at the show.

Online connectivity and the amazing growth of hand-held devices such as smart phones and tablets mean that companies can now localize and launch games anywhere in the world. What is also interesting to note is that emerging markets will primarily drive future global growth – 14.9% of the population from China, India, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East account for 73.6% of all gaming revenues, according to a Trend Report 2013.

Video games industry – bigger than Hollywood!

For me, the most exciting and encouraging aspect of this growth is that it will impact the entire value chain of the games industry. It also means that the industry will generate new jobs in sectors that were hitherto not growing or were stagnant. Gartner estimates the video games industry to be US$ 93 billion industry – bigger than Hollywood!

Games, like film, TV, and literature before them, are commercialized art and products of our culture. They can be great or terrible, memorable or forgettable, and everything in between. Sweden however has for long had major success in developing and launching some of the most popular and best selling games in the world.

What is the take out for policy makers and gaming companies in the north of Sweden from all of this?

Leverage Sweden’s premier status in the world of gaming, the fact that Luleå Technical University in Skellefteå has specific programs for students wishing to get a qualification in this industry; and that companies in Västerbotten such as North Kingdom, Hello Future, Paradox, and Dohi all have proven successes in the games industry.

They should continue to:

A) Support companies in Västerbotten to grow further, and
B) Market Västerbotten as an attractive destination for games companies from around the world to establish a business presence and benefit from the infrastructure and talent available.

Initial activities have already commenced this process, and it is hoped that this will only grow and be hugely successful in a decade’s time.

Read about the game industry in Västerbotten

World tourism prosper

SantoshWritten december 10th, 2014 by Santosh

fredrik_broman-dog_sledding-3789

Even though the World Travel Market (WTM) concluded just over one month ago in London, I can still feel the buzz of the event and the interest it generates among players from around the world in the travel and tourism industry every year!

This is because businesses in the value chain of the tourism industry and destination marketing companies in various countries see the huge impact of tourism on their bottom lines and GDPs. Not to mention enhanced job opportunities, and image building of their countries.

Eye-popping cultural programs

Every participating company/country was going the extra mile to make an impact on visitors and buyers alike. From magnificent exhibitor stands and eye-popping cultural programs to attractive travel and stay offers and gourmet displays of the food and beverages from their countries.

The seminars and technical discussions alongside the expo also showed how the industry is rapidly becoming more and more professional and competitive by the day, and embracing technology to provide quality and speedy service to their customers.

Step up the quality of products and services

For me, the message (from such a world-class event) to companies, destination marketing and management companies and the policy makers in northern Sweden was very clear: step up the quality of products and services to international levels and aggressively attract larger numbers from the growing band of mobile global tourists.

A great way to kick off this journey will be to have an external body to perform an unbiased audit of their products and services followed by customer surveys to understand customer expectations and satisfaction levels.

The next step should then be to experience what competitors and similar companies offer and how they market themselves by visiting international shows like the WTM and the ITB if they have not already done so.

lola_akinmade_akerstrom-northern_lights-2605

Natural beauty

Northern Sweden, without a doubt has some of the most amazing natural beauty and customer experiences available anywhere in the world – something that only a few have experienced. Hence, growth opportunities are there for the asking.

These companies just need to step up to the plate and dare to be different from what they are currently doing.

Medica in Düsseldorf – where Medtech meet

BjörnWritten november 17th, 2014 by Björn

 

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As always, Medica delivers. We had several great meetings with companies in relevance both to Umeå Institute of Design and the center for rural medicine in Storuman.

I see an increasing interest in both the area of what design can do in medtech and systems for electronic devices using internet could be tested in an live setting. Being able to deliver in both these area Västerbotten holds a good position.

Read more about Life Science in Västerbotten in these presentations:

Anti-infective research in Umeå
Forest Biotechnology in Umeå
Wild berries in North Sweden

Greenbuild New Orleans 2014

OlleWritten oktober 29th, 2014 by Olle

Natural-Resources-in-Sweden-(Tina-Stafr)

Greenbuild proves that the green building movement is global. The good we are working for is universal; our actions is local and regional; and our impact is worldwide. It is here that we unite behind shared sense of what truly matters and a common hope for the future because we believe in better buildings – places that give people better, brighter, healthier spaces to live, work and play.

This Greenbuild tradeshow was more positive, expecting and promising as ever before.

VIA at the India Day

SantoshWritten september 18th, 2014 by Santosh

Umeå University organised an India Day on September 4, 2014. This excellent initiative was part of its internationalization strategy where India was singled out as priority geographic market.

The events of the day included interesting presentations from the Indian Ambassador to Sweden, the Vice Chancellor of Umeå University, the head of the Regional Council of Västerbotten, Chairperson of the Nordic Centre in India (NCI), the Academia, Business Sweden and the Västerbotten Investment Agency (VIA).

The common factor that came through in all of the presentations was the opportunity that exists between the Västerbotten Region and India whether it was in education, research, tourism or business.

Björn Ursing, Anders Wangby and I from VIA specifically highlighted the investment opportunities in the region for companies engaged in the mining, wood, life science, tourism and creative industries. It recommended that NCI could play a major role in establishing talent acquisition initiatives with businesses, business alliances, and exchange and mentorship programs through universities among others.

VIA clearly sees the Indian market as a potential source for companies and talent in sectors including tourism, gaming and animation. The growing number of tourists, incoming students and professionals and new companies from India only strengthen this belief.

Extended contact network among wood industry in Styria, Austria

OlleWritten september 15th, 2014 by Olle

As a part of the Austrian advantage focus program Sweden/Denmark, a mainly Swedish delegation of architects, public housing associations, entrepreneurs and VIA was invited to Styria. During the stay in Styria, the so-called “Green Heart” of Austria, company visits, on-site inspections and technical lectures was organized for all participants. These offered an insight into the production and diversity of wood in Styria. Additional several networking events gave Austrian companies the opportunity to talk to experts and establish new business connections. Austria and especially Styria and Sweden is quite similar in many ways and we hope that this delegation could be one way to improve the cooperation between the two countries.

Nordic Life Science Days – a full blown investor meeting

BjörnWritten september 11th, 2014 by Björn

Nordic Life Science Days has increased to a full blown investor meeting with almost 900 delegates from 28 countries. Great talks by, among others, AstraZenecas Swedish CEO Jan-Olof Jacke and Ylva Berg CEO of Business Sweden, and spontaneous meetings everywhere. This is clearly the place to meet Swedish Life Science and discover new investment opportunities.

Summer is here – once again

ingerWritten juni 16th, 2014 by inger

With the risk of sounding like a track stuck on repeat I have to say that time has once again flown by and we’ve almost reached half ways into 2014. This year is special in many ways, not only because this is the year that Umeå reigns as the European Capital of Culture, but this year is also a super election year with public elections to the EU and to the Swedish Parliament. No one can tell what the results from the national elections will be in September, we will just have to be patient and see how the outcome will effect our job with inward investment promotion. From our perspective there are a number of topics that are of particular interest; infrastructure, labor laws, talent matching, company and energy taxes and the coming government’s view on export and investment promotion.

But for now let’s focus on the summer that lies ahead of us with light summer nights and days. If you have not visited northern Sweden during summer you are missing out. Our region offers a spectacular experience like no other. Regardless if you want to fill you days with adventure and new challenges, want to party at one of the festivals or if you wish to relish in serene seclusion with naught but the quietness keeping you company.

carolina+romare-midsummer-1769

We at VIA will enjoy the summer outdoors, but our office will be manned during the entire summer in case you want to get a hold of us.

Company of the month: Nyans Design

ingerWritten maj 16th, 2014 by inger

 

Nyans is an interior design firm founded by interior designer Linda Rönnlund. Nyans is working with both commercial and residential projects. Linda lives and works in Skellefteå since 2013, when she and her family choose to move back to Skellefteå, prior to that she ran her company in Västerås in central Sweden where she lived for 15 years.

The latest project was Hotel Clarion Collection in Arvidsjaur, where Nyans was responsible for conceptualization, furniture selection and managed the full project. The hotel has 42 rooms, two of these are suites, reception, restaurant, bar and lounge area. The target market for the hotel is corporate event groups from the car industry, mainly premium brands such as Aston Martin and Porsche. See more photos from the Clarion projcet here http://www.nyansrumevent.se/referenser/hotel-clarion-collection-arvidsjaur/#

What makes Västerbotten and North Sweden a good place to run your company? Northern Sweden and Västerbotten is interesting from the aspect that many of the major cities here are growing and expanding in many kinds of ways. With this there are more companies, restaurants and hotels in need of branding their business and create attractive environments and workspaces. Norrland feels ”hot” right now, this is where it happens! The consciousness of design and interior design has also increased. Within Nyans’ branch the competition in Norrland isn’t as though as it is in southern Sweden.

What makes your services unique?
What makes our service unique is the fact that Nyans produces an interior concept tailor made for each individual customer that will be applied into their environments. This is made in close cooperation to ensure each customer’s specific needs and requests are met.

What is the vision of your company? Where are you in five years’

Nyans vision is to grow and recruit employees in the next years. Another vision is to establish a near collaboration with a number of architects.

Visit Nyans’ webpage www.nyansrumevent.se

Interior photos are taken by Linda Rönnlund & Johan Hisved

Looking for a life style change? Want to own your own fishing center in Lapland?

ingerWritten januari 23rd, 2014 by inger

Västerbotten offers a large number of investment opportunities, not just large scale investments but also smaller scale investments for those searching for small-medium sized companies.

If you wish to change your life, maybe leave the big city bustle and embrace another way of life closer to nature and have time to spend with your family you should consider re-locating to Västerbotten. There are numerous expats, primarily from Germany, The Netherlands and the UK, living in Västerbotten and many of them have bought companies in the tourism/hospitality industry.

One current example looking for a new owner is the FishingCenter in Saxnäs

Fishing in North Sweden

Description of the company

“The area of Saxnäs / Kultsjödalen offers the visiting angler a multitude of chances to catch brown trout, arctic char and grayling in rivers and lakes. The vast fishing area covers both woodland and high alpine waters. The FishingCenter in Saxnäs offers self-catering accommodation, hotel & hostel accommodation, restaurant, tackle shop, fishing guides, fishing permits & tourist information.”

Västerbotten Investment Agency is not responsible for the selling process. We recommend you to contact the business owner directly. If you are looking for another type of company you can contact the business negotiators in Västerbotten

 

Company of the Month: Cartesia

ingerWritten januari 22nd, 2014 by inger

In the interior parts of northern Sweden in the region of Västerbotten there is a town called Lycksele. A rare business cluster has developed in the town and it all started in 1995 with the founding of one company, Cartesia. Today Cartesia is market leaders in Sweden on geographic IT and still operating from it’s original base in Lycksele with offices in Gävle, Stockholm and Gothenburg.

Cartesia started as a spin-off company from the National Land Survey digital maps by some of the most renowned names in GIS Sweden John-Erik Haraldsson, Krister Edskär, Lennart Nilsson, Ulf Karlsson and Marianne Haraldsson. Since 2003 Cartesia is part of the AddNode group with a total turnover over 1 billion SEK.

The business concept is to offer information for strategic and tactical decisions to their clients; the motto is “better decisions by knowing where.” The map itself adds value as it visualizes and provides better tools for analysis and decision.

 

 

Their clients are primarily found in the following sectors

  • Municipalities and public organizations
  • Wood industry
  • Transport and road maintenance
  • Manufacturing industry and ware housing
  • Telecommunications
  • Aviation and space technology
  • Retail, estate and market

 

What makes Västerbotten and North Sweden a good place to run your company?

Operating from Västerbotten means that we are close to our customers, to the forest industry, to the mining industry and close to the economic growth. Another thing is that the culture in the region is a big asset and influences the culture in the company.

What makes your company’s product or services unique?

The company’s main foundation is innovation and the innovativeness in the company is enormous. All Cartesia’s products are customer developed and are always based on real operations and needs. The products are unique thanks to Cartesia’s ability to know the business of the customers and thereby create products that help customers to easier make decisions and to be more efficient with resources; both time, money, environment etc. Cartesia is nown to have a more ”familial” touch in the business compared to other suppliers. The down to earth feel pervades everything in the company.

What is the vision of your company? Where are you in five years’ time?

Cartesia plans to be twice as big in five years’ time. The company will continue to work hard on the industrial side to get more players to use GIS systems to optimize processes and sustainability. The goal is that Cartesia will be established in all the Nordic countries, but that the products have reached many countries on the international market. Except for numbers, markets and niches, Cartesia has the vision of being and continuing to be, builders of the new society.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.cartesia.se/

Or contact:

Anders Haraldsson, Marketing Manager
Phone: +46 950-120 30
E-mail: anders.haraldsson@cartesia.se

 

2014 – Umeå in the limelight

ingerWritten januari 15th, 2014 by inger

A new year has started, and 2014 won’t be any average year – not that ever is an “average” year – no this year Umeå will have the attention of the world. This is the year when all the hard work, blood, sweat and tears from so many people will pay off. This year Umeå, and the whole region, will reside with the crown on its’ head as European Capital of Culture.  The program for the year is packed with events, projects, ways to experience music, theater, visual arts, spoken word, design, historic, futuristic and contemporary… The list goes on and on and both residents and guests will see things they haven’t seen before.

The investments in culture and preparations have served as a boost into the cultural community as well as given the region a healthy growth injection in all areas. Culture driven growth is not a new phenomenon, the term has been around for quite some time, but it is interesting to see it in real life. European Capital of Culture has brought inspired people together and speeded up infrastructural investments, new roads and new hotels are changing the layout of Umeå. We have seen the preparations going on for a long time, now it’s time to see what will happen during this year. I’m sure it will be an amazing year. Still the most interesting aspect from a regional development point of view will be the summing up and reflections we’ll be able to make a few years down the road. In the long run, what kind of mark will one year as European Capital of Culture leave behind?

Christmas Greetings from Västerbotten Investment Agency

karolinaWritten december 20th, 2013 by karolina

We want to thank all of you for 2013 and at the same time say that we look forward to a new year of exciting projects in 2014. No one will be present in our offices in Umeå and Skellefteå over the holiday season but you can find us there again January the 7th. Merry Christmas to you all!

Regional Tourism: Small is the new Big

SantoshWritten december 16th, 2013 by Santosh

In Tourism, experience is everything! Fishing under the midnight sun. Ammarnäs Fishing centre is approved by Nature’s Best as an ecotourism operator. (Staffan Widstrand/imagebank.sweden.se)

Destination Västerbotten:

The tourism business in Vasterbotten province comprises a number of small enterprises that can be classified as SMEs – micro, small and medium-sized. They own and run a range of businesses including B &Bs, hunting and fishing trips, dog sledding excursions, and adventure tourism among many, many other unique and attractive tourism-related activities.

It is these small companies that drive the tourism activities in the region and are the lifeline for the tourism industry. Tourism statistics published by Tillvaxtverket – the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth – showed that Västerbotten was the fastest growing region in Sweden 2011. So, these SMEs must be doing something right for Vasterbotten!

The growth trend in tourism has continued for Sweden as a whole too. The latest statistics show increased numbers in overnight stays in the summer of 2013, and almost all regions of the country reflected and increase an income from accommodation in hotels, hostels and holiday villages.*

With a service-minded culture characterized by courtesy, amazing outdoors and growing numbers of international and domestic tourists, Vasterbotten offers local, regional and foreign investors several market opportunities. These could include high-quality accommodation hotels and lodges, ski resort development with après ski services, hunting and fishing lodges or a travel agencies/tour operators offer extreme adventure in the gorgeous outdoors bordering Swedish Lapland.

 SMEs role in the tourism industry:

SMEs and their role in the tourism industry are not unique to Vasterbotten or Sweden for that matter! From Australia to South America and several countries in between, it is proven and well documented that they play a key role in tourism development. SMEs offer customers value for money and a level of service that makes their experience memorable and unique. I daresay it is their steadfast belief in the destination and what it can offer tourists that make these family owned enterprises successful.

It is these very SMEs that will benefit from help and assistance from the national and regional tourism organizations/boards in terms of destination marketing and facilitation.  It should be the responsibility of the tourism bodies to brand and promote the region aggressively and create partnerships for joint events; platforms for investment, cooperative marketing, advertising/social media campaigns and PR efforts while allowing the SMEs to focus on delivering quality and unique experiences to both domestic and international tourists.

Having said that, do all SMEs need such support from tourism promotion agencies? Not necessarily, studies have shown that SMEs that have international customers seek more destination marketing and facilitation support. Also, the micro-SMEs who engage in tourism related activities more to sustain their own life-style rather than to actually promote the tourism industry, do not seek such support.

Another key factor for growth and success is the availability of funds. Tourism Investment Funds are available to such SMEs. However, this is a topic for a whole new Blog!

Now, when I think of ‘small’ enterprises, I cannot but help quote from Seth Godin’s Book ‘Small is the new Big.’ This is what he says in one his chapters:

QUOTE

  • Small is the new big because small gives you the flexibility to change your business model when competition changes theirs
  • Small means the founder is involved in a far greater percentage of customer interactions – s/he can greet you by name and answer your email!
  • Small means the founder is close to decisions that matter and can make them quickly
  • Small means they are more nimble and agile, and most importantly,
  • Small means they can focus on delivering better customer experience.

UNQUOTE

Tourism is all about experiences. So, the better the customer experiences the more new (through word of mouth) and repeats customers. Seth Godin also says that “Small is the new big, only when the owners and their staff think big!”

In conclusion, SMEs need to plan big, strategize big, embrace new media and new technologies big and they need to believe in themselves big!

Guess what? This could mean the re-invention of Tourism Promotion organizations at the regional and national level and what their real role should be!

Opportunities:

For more information on investment opportunities and/or information on this sector in Västerbotten, visit http://viavasterbotten.se

 

Santosh Hejmadi

*Source: Tillväxtverket Tourism Reports

Company of the Month: Rail Test Nordic

karolinaWritten november 29th, 2013 by karolina

Northern Sweden is strong in automotive winter testing and there is a great knowledge and experience from this area in the region. The testing operations within the region are now starting to comprise other vehicles, such as aircraft and railbound traffic, as the region holds perfect conditions for testing these vehicles too. Rail Test Nordic is this month’s Company of the month, building up a unique testing facility that catches the attention of several global train manufacturers.

Problems with trains being delayed due to consequences of weather and a need from buyers and operators for verification and certification of trains, in combination with the existence of a closed down cross- country rail line, brought the idea of a full scale test facility in the northern parts of Sweden. Located between the towns Arvidsjaur and Jörn, in a region where most of the large car manufacturers do their winter testing, the facility is now starting to take shape.

Rail Test Nordic developes a facility that is to become a complete real world test facility for different forms of railway equipment, trains and technical development of track, infrastructure and high voltage equipment. The track can be sectioned- off from other traffic and will be used exclusively as a test track. A length of 75 km one way, with loops at both ends and a 32 km high- speed section makes testing efficient.

Rail Test Nordic is now persuing a pre- study together with Bombardier to set the conditions right for the facility. When the study is done, the company will move from the strategic phase to become a sharp executing operation, constructing and running the unique test activity facility.

What makes Västerbotten and North Sweden a good place to run your company?

The conditions of climate, knowledge and infrastructure that exists here. When you have a good product or service a location in the northern parts of Sweden does not matter for customers in for example south of Europe. The location is actually what makes Rail Test Nordic a great success.

What makes your company’s product or services unique?

The facility doesn’t exist elsewhere, it will be totally unique and fully adapted to meet the needs of the industry. Again, the conditions in the region, with climate, knowledge and a 75 km long track without other traffic makes the testing facility one of a kind.

What is the vision of your company? Where are you in five years time?

The goal is that the facility will be up and running by 2017. The prestudy, being done in cooperation with Bombardier, will be finished in February 2014. After that, additional steps of financing and construction completion will start. In five years time from now, Rail Test Nordic’s operations will comprise between 40 and 50 full time employees. The company will have an estimated turn- over of 50 to 100 million SEK annually. And probably- the facility will be hosting some of the world’s leading train manufacturers.

In addition, Rail Test Nordic have an intention of creating not only a fully equipped test facility for railbound traffic, but to accomplish a complete competence center in the area of rail bound vehicles climate testing.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.mcleadtest.se/

Or contact:

Lars-Åke Tjernström, CEO Rail Test Nordic
Phone: +46 70-651 94 06
E-mail: larsa@mclead.se

Company of the Month: Resize Design

karolinaWritten oktober 3rd, 2013 by karolina

This months company that we wish to highlight is a good example of a company here in the North that one could say represent two of the business sectors where the region is especially strong. That is both the creative industry and the wood sector. Resize Design will be one of the companies accomponing VIA to Oslo 16th- 20th October to exhibit in the Northern Sweden pavilion. Presenting Resize Design!

Resize Design is a young company,  founded in 2010 by Viktor Lindbäck. Later, Madeleine Stenslid joined the company as a partner and Communications Strategist. Three years later there are four people on board and the company is starting to aim for not only Europe as market, but also the States and the rest of the world. Resize Design works to deliver unique urban design that combines quality, durability and an environmental friendly thinking. The furniture is unique, flexible, and the first collection, named Stockhom Line, leaves no marks when being removed. Resize Design’s products are produced in Northern Sweden by local carpentry companies such as Snickericentralen.

What makes Västerbotten and North Sweden a good place to run your company?

”I would describe Northern Sweden as a place where people are dedicated their work. There is a large will of cooperation and finding good solutions for problems is a central part of the way to work. It’s straight forward to connect people and companies to each other, making it easier to make decisions and develop the business. Since the business society in the North is made up of many smaller companies I find that working here is more agile. It is easier to create customized solutions and thus create even better products for the customers.”

What makes your company’s product or services unique?

”The uniqueness of our products include the design and shaping. We produce airy shelves that are easy to adapt to different needs and wishes. Our products are also an exciting mix of different materials, thanks to our skilled subcontractors in Northern Sweden.”

What is the vision of your company? Where are you in five years time?

Resize Design hope to be working even more globally in five years time. The product line will have increased with more products with the same smart concept. The vision is also to maintain the production of Resize Design’s unique products in the Northern parts of Sweden.

For more information, please visit Resize Design’s webpage:
www.resizedesign.com

Or contact:
Viktor Lindbäck, CEO & Design Manager
Phone: +4670 207 48 28
E-mail: viktor.lindback@resizedesign.se

Why are there so many successful Swedish gaming companies?

karolinaWritten september 26th, 2013 by karolina

I found this really interesting article about Swedish gaming companies on swedishstartupspace.com that I wanted to share. It says something about the creative culture that exists in Sweden. It’s written by Karsten Deppert. Here we go:

Some time ago the Swedish gaming news site FragZone had a interesting article (in Swedish) stating that Sweden might be the best country in the world at creating games. This was interesting, and we decided to delve deeper into this theory and find out why Swedish gaming startups are so successful.

What is remarkable about gaming in Sweden?

Actually, Sweden is so good at games that it’s almost ridiculous. Lets start with one thing: upcoming blockbusters in the video gaming sector:

Blockbusters in the making

As the FragZone article noted, if you look at the blockbusters from E3 you will notice that a lot of them will be produced in Sweden.

Hideo Kojima tweeted at E3, in a little shaky English: “Question: Battlefield , The Division and Mad Max. What these title have common?” to which Christofer Sundberg , studio manager at Avalance  replied: “Sweden rules E3 2013“.

Just look at the games that are made in Sweden:

  • EA owned Dice develops Battlefield 4. Battlefield 3 was a huge success and sold in 17 million copies.
  • It was also announced at E3  that Dice would get the honor of making Star Wars: Battlefront, and that Mirror’s Edge 2 is already in production,
  • Ghost, a EA studio based in Gothenburg, is developing the next Need For Speed: Rivals and all these games are made on Frostbite – a game engine that was created on Dice for the Bad Company games and now is the engine for virtually all EA games except sports games.

But it is not just EA studios:

  • Ubisoft’s next great game, the MMO shooter Tom Clancy ‘s The Division, will be made by their Malmö based studio Massive Entertainment. After five years of development in secret – and no rumors leaking – the studio stepped into the limelight with a completely new game and to purchase a new IP.
  • Sony’s next big bet, Mad Max, is developed by Avalanche, also a Swedish studio. This game is a more uncertain bet, but the Mad Max IP is very interesting and has a lot of dedicated fans.

Minecraft – an indie that is bigger than anything else

Besides those blockbusters hits that are produced in Sweden, we also have the, by now quite famous, Notch and his Minecraft. A company that did an impressive 1,5 billion SEK (230 million dollars)  in revenue last year, with an amazing 39,30% margin. It is now the  game company with the biggest profit margins in Sweden, and its turnover is 3 times that of the second biggest company in sweden.

Social gaming: the giant king.com

It is not just in games on consoles and the PC that Sweden make well. A game-giant that is still not so well known is King.com, behind the hit Candy Crush Saga as well as other social games. The company is now said to have surpassed Zynga in size, and is making its presence felt in the social gaming sector.

Up and Comers:

Arcadelia, Imagination Studios and Hansoft are just a number of smaller companies running profitablne studios by acting as subcontractors for larger companies.

And not to forget – events like Dreamhack

Everything written above is about creating games, but Sweden is also the home of Dreamhack, which besides being the biggest LAN party in the world is also one of the big players when it comes to e-sports. The Dreamhack tournaments have evolved from once a year to a series that is almost bi-monthly, with the prize money increasing each year.

WHY SWEDEN?

So there seems to be something in the water when it comes to Sweden and gaming – but why?  We have no proof, but these might be some of the factors contributing:

“A computer in every home”

In the 1990′s, the Swedish government subsidized the cost of computers for every family, allowing any Swedish family to buy a personal computer. This must’ve had a great impact – allowing a generation of Swedish kids to mess around with computers, coding and technology.

Broadband for everybody

The government was also good at bringing out internet access to a lot of the households. By the year 2000, more or less every home and school had access to a quality network.

Cold winters

Not a proven fact, but the cold and dark winters are not exactly encouraging for being outside, something that makes playing games or making games an more attractive alternative.

Management culture

Martin Walfisz, founder of Massive Entertainment and now founder of Planeto, said during an interview I did with for Øresund Startup News:

”I think the Nordics are really good at games because of our consensus driven management style. Creating games is all about getting very creative artists to work with some of the best techies, something that I think requires a work-place culture where you have respect for one-another. Something we in the Nordics are very good at.”

I think all of these are definitely factors that have contributed to Swedens rise as a gaming country. What will be interesting to see now, is what will happen in the next 5-10 years…

Text by: Karsten Deppert

(Source: http://swedishstartupspace.com)

Summer wishes!

karolinaWritten juli 5th, 2013 by karolina

It’s summer time and many people in Sweden are enjoying their vacation. VIA is operating as usual, with an exception of July 22- 26th. No one will be present at our offices in Skellefteå and Umeå these days, but our services are always available. For questions and other matters during these days please contact Anders Wangby, anders.wangby@viavasterbotten.se, +46 70 595 19 30.

Clients, municipalitys, partners and other contacts; we would like to wish you a lovely summer! We look forward to a succesful fall of 2013 working together with you.

Company of the month: Nordic Biomarker

karolinaWritten juni 13th, 2013 by karolina

This month we have chosen to highlight a company operating in the Life Science sector in Umeå. The company has become successful on a global market in a short time after starting operations. Read more!


Nordic Biomarker is an OEM supplier of specialty hemostasis reagents, that are used to diagnose bleeding disorders. In a welfare society where the occurrence of blood clots gets more common and people’s access to health care continues to grow, Nordic Biomarker’s products meet a growing demand.

The company was founded in 2007. Already in 2010 did Nordic Biomarker recieve it’s first million order and the production was scaled up. The production continued to increase and Nordic Biomarker went from being two people employed with a turnover of 4 MSEK in 2008 to a workforce of 8 and a turnover of 17 MSEK in 2012.

Nordic Biomarker is an owner-managed company characterized by short decision times and high effectiveness. They are known for close and uncomplicated relations with their customers. Today the main customers of the company are small and middle sized actors that sell and provide instruments for coagulation diagnostics. Instruments are most often delivered with a set of reagents, either for routine tests or speciality tests that the instrument producers need to buy.  Nordic Biomarker delivers mainly speciality tests and this is where they see their large opportunity. The company has had a good timing with their products and thanks to the fact that they have solved complex matters in production they have been given an advantage over some larger producers who have not yet solved all required steps of production.

Nordic Biomarker’s mission is to become the leading independent supplier of specialty hemostasis reagents. The company just recieved financing from a research project by Vinnova, Sweden’s Innovation Agency. The financing will be used for technology improvements and to develop a new product that the market expressed a need for.


1. What makes Västerbotten and North Sweden a good place to run your company?

- We find the closeness to Umeå University very valuable and we benefit from that. Except for that, the city of Umeå is of good size, with easy access to people and good communications. It is easy to cooperate in northern Sweden since people help each other and are sincere.

2. What makes your company’s product or services unique?

- We offer quality and delivery on time. Since we are independent from the large actors we can deliver on time and our products are available to many customers. Our product in it self is not totally unique, but our independence which creates great benefits is unique. In addition, we customize our service based on each customer’s needs.

3. What is the vision of your company? Where are you in five years time?

- Our vision is to be the leading independent manufacturer of specialty hemostasis reagents globally. Nordic Biomarker will probably produce and sell all three of the existing products in five years time, but there might be some additional products in the assortment by then. We believe in a bright future for Nordic Biomarker, our market is constantly growing.

For more information, please visit Nordic Biomarker’s webpage:
www.nordicbiomarker.com

Or contact:
Gunnar Pohl, CEO / Director of Marketing
Phone: +46 – (0)90 71 86 01
E-mail: marketing@nordicbiomarker.com