Living and studying at the Lund University in Sweden for more than two months now, I observed some particularly interesting insights I would like to share from an entrepreneurial and curious point of view. These aspects include differences if you compare Sweden with other countries in Europe like Germany or Italy. However, bear in mind that these are my own thoughts and views.
First, as some of you already know, Sweden is ranked as the most innovative country in Europe according to the European Commission. Swedish people are really open minded towards innovation. How did Sweden become an innovation frontrunner? Here are 10 Innovation you (probably) didn't know were Swedish. Additionally, you should also have a look at Kickstarter. Upon launching in Scandinavia, the amount of projects in Sweden is already twice as much as compared to Norway, Denmark or Iceland.
There is a lot going on here, however some entrepreneurs are moving away from Sweden, as the market here is pretty small with less than 10 million people. Soundcloud moved its headquarter from Stockholm to Berlin in 2010 for example.
Second, it seems to me that Swedish people are adapting new technologies pretty fast. The share of smartphones is among the highest in the world and even most of the kids already have one - 88% of the children already had a personal handset by the age of 11 in 2013. Here in Lund it is common for students to pay in the caféteria using their palm what can bee seen in this video. Is this possible in e.g. Germany? At this point I can highly recommend Matt Phillip's article 'Why Germans pay cash for almost everything'.
And then, there is Financial Technology. FinTech is receiving increased interest from entrepreneurs and VCs. Due to the fact that only one out of five purchases is paid with cash some people even argue that Sweden will become the first cashless society within the next decades.
It is interesting to see for me how many Swedish people are making use of a lot of different technologies for their purchases. Above all young people use Swish for paying a small amount of money to friends via their smartphone. At the supermarket or at McDonald's they use Seqr to pay with their smartphone. The food in the cafeteria is paid using vein screening as stated above. And to analyze their spending, Tink is the right App that keeps track of it. Furthermore, you should also take into account that there are a lot of other successful FinTech startups such as the payment service provider Klarna and iZettle which facilitates POS payments with your smartphone. Regarding Bitcoin Safello is the right tool to use in Sweden. And Apple, when will you launch ApplePay here in Sweden? With the high iOS share this should be an attractive market.
I would argue that if you are interested in FinTech, you should have a look at the ongoing developments in Sweden at the moment. It is also amazing how fast people adapt new technologies here. For the future I think that many of the companies that started in Sweden will soon aim to expand into new markets where people also tend to use mobile payment methods rather than cash. For a more general view see Simon Schmincke's overview over different FinTech types.
For a more general overview I created a Product Hunt Collection with FinTech Startups I like.