Innovation and outside of the box thinking can be found anywhere in the world, but some places may have earned a reputation as a mecca for advancement in technology. California’s Silicon Valley is one of the most noteworthy locations that has traditionally seen a huge push in technology invention and creativity. Outside of the United States, one location stands out as being a center of original thought and technology advances the whole world benefits from, Sweden. Here are the top Swedish tech company innovators that are changing the globe.
One of the first popular video conferencing apps that found success in the online world was Skype. Skype was founded in 2003 by two Scandinavian innovators, Janus Friis, from Denmark, and Niklas Zennström, from Sweden. Before the days of Facetime and Zoom, Skype brought video conferencing capabilities to companies and individuals around the world. It also allowed users to make international calls without having to pay long distance charges and hefty fees via a standard phone number. Skype, along with other video tech conference calling apps, has given businesses many benefits that help the bottom line.
Music streaming is another part of the tech entertainment industry that Sweden has also been part of. Music streaming service giant Spotify originated in Stockholm, Sweden in 2006. Founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon named their streaming service by combining the words spot and identify. In 2011, the streaming service launched in the United States and took off from there, allowing people to access millions of songs for free on their devices.
Paying for online purchases and services has been a challenge for some merchants. Companies want to be able to get payments easily without putting their customers’ data at risk. Swedish Fintech company Klarna was created in 2005 by a trio of financial technology entrepreneurs. This online banking service is the leading payment processing company in Sweden. In 2019, it aimed to start making more of an impact on the U.S. market, with a fundraising push that helped the company get an additional $460 million in venture capital.
Another Swedish tech force is an application that helps frustrated phone users screen and identify their calls. Founded in Stockholm in 2009, Truecaller has been helping phone users block spam callers and telemarketers since being offered to the public. Today, the small company is poised to grow even more with its logical approach to annoying messages and irritating phone calls that plague millions of smartphone users.
The consumer and business loan industry has also been transformed by the digital revolution. In today’s world, it’s easier than ever to quickly get funding for purchases like homes and vehicles or get investments into a small business. Digital loan brokers, like Axo Finans, give users the convenience of filling out one application for 20 different banks when loan shopping. This Swedish-based tech company helps put consumers in the driver’s seat when borrowing money and allows them to get the best loan terms possible.
Passing time by playing a mobile game app has quickly become popular with the advent of powerful smartphones. One of the most successful phone gaming app companies, King, got its start in Stockholm, Sweden. King paved the way to redefine gaming and started using social media apps to build up gaming. Through Facebook, King launched hugely successful gaming apps like Bejeweled, Candy Crush, and Bubble Witch Saga. Eventually, the games migrated to dedicated apps, keeping bored phone users occupied with their addictive gameplay and incentive system.
Traditional video games played on a gaming console or computer have also experienced the Swedish influence. Swedish video game designer, Marcus Persson, founded revolutionary game company Mojang Studios in 2009. Persson started working on a sandbox video game called Minecraft. He envisioned a game where players could have creative control over the video game universe and unlimited possibilities. Today, Minecraft is the most popular video game of all time, with more than 200 million copies purchased and an active user base of 126 million people.
Small companies looking for the capability to accept credit cards have typically faced an uphill battle when looking for processors. Credit card processing can be pricey and leave businesses that have lots of small transactions with problems turning a profit. Swedish payment technology company iZettle has helped solve this problem for companies. In 2010 they launched a credit card processing app and also produced a card chip reader to help make business payments affordable and simple. Founders Jacob de Geer and Magnus Nilsson played on the word settle when naming their app.
The last innovator on this list is responsible for one of the most influential web sites. This file sharing service, Pirate Bay, has been surrounded by controversy since its inception in 2003. The Pirate Bay was created by a group of people in a Swedish think tank and promoted the concept of unrestricted access to files and anything else on the internet, including copyrighted material like movies, television shows, and music. While the site’s founders have experienced a host of troubles due to the legal status of peer to peer sharing, the site still continues to attract millions of users.
Sweden has consistently been a hot spot for great tech innovation. The country’s history of welcoming free thought and supporting unique ideas may have a role in its success with new, powerful tech startups. In the future, expect to see even more revolutionary organizations and businesses get their start in Sweden.