In late September Bird & Bird in partnership with client Ntegra Greenside hosted the Tech European Research tour for the third time.
Building on the success of previous tours in Madrid and Munich the two day 2015 tour was held in Copenhagen, providing a fascinating insight into some of the most disruptive and innovative tech companies developing in the Nordic region.
Bird & Bird partner Martin von Haller introduced the event with an overview of the tech scene across the Nordics, highlighting the list of tech powerhouses coming from the Nordics which include the likes of Skype, Spotify, Supercell, Klarna, MySQL, TAT, Unity, Mojang, Zendesk, Just Eat, King and many more. Since 2005, 9% of global Billion dollar exits have come from Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway.
The event was then handed over to the presenting companies who showcased key products and answered questions relating to their companies' corporate strategy and development plans. Over the two days 15 companies presented, some select highlights are listed below.
The first day of the tour was hosted at the offices one of our clients, Configit. Henrik Reif Andersen, Configit CEO, gave an overview of the history of this Danish company which offers third generation software solutions to companies with product configuration needs. Henrik highlighted the move towards mass customisation with a particular focus on clients in the Automotive and Life Science sectors.
Falcon Social from Copenhagen promoted their unified SaaS platform for social media listening, engaging, publishing, measuring and management. They assist their enterprise clients to explore the full potential of social media marketing and instill a social-first thought process in their employees, helping organisations manage the customer lifecycle and minimise the gap between expectation and experience.
Danish Fintech company Coinify demonstrated how it enables businesses to accept Bitcoin payments, allowing individuals and organisations to buy and sell Bitcoins for investment purposes. Coinify recently bought out a key competitor and has approximately 10,000 active customers. Coinify effectively offers a bridge between the world of traditional payments and the virtual currency.
The next company to present was Stockholm based Klarna, one of Europe’s leading providers of payment solutions for digital business. Klarna allows buyers to pay for ordered goods after receiving them, providing a safe after-delivery payment solution, while assuming all credit and fraud risk for e-stores so that sellers can rest assured that they will always receive their money. Klarna’s vision is to enable trust and to offer a frictionless buying experience. In 2014, Klarna processed $9bn in transactions globally including 30% of all Swedish online purchases.
Danish start-up Queue-it is an online queue system for managing website overload during extreme user peaks. By adding Queue-it to a website, users exceeding the site capacity limits are offloaded to the queue system. The volume and pace of user inflow to the website is managed dynamically in the browser-based self-service console. As the site capacity opens up, the users who waited in line are redirected back to the site in the correct order and pace, helping to retain users who may otherwise have become frustrated at a slow site and taken their business elsewhere.
FlatFrog, based in Lund, Sweden, demonstrated touch functionality on monitor screens up to 110 inches. Its technology ensures that no clarity is lost through the inclusion of touch and can be used in a variety of industries from education to medicine to gaming.
The second day of the tour moved to the modern work space occupied by 23Video, where CEO Thomas Madsen-Mygdal introduced the suite of tools the company has developed to enable companies and organisations to share professional quality videos with their customers and employees.
Helsinki based Fintech start-up Holvi presented their product, a simple, regulated one-stop-shop for small businesses to collect income, manage expense and get an understandable real-time view of their company finances. Holvi describes itself as a "payment institution" rather than an old fashioned bank.
Copenhagen company The Eye Tribe demonstrated their software which enables eye control on mobile devices, allowing hands-free navigation of websites and apps, including eye activated login, enhanced gaming experiences and cloud based user engagement analytics. The Eye Tribe intends to become the leading provider of eye control technology for mass market consumer devices by licensing the technology to manufacturers and also producing its own affordable device to help drive adoption of eye-tracking.
Danish devices and components start-up AirTame gave a practical demonstration of their small device which plugs into the HDMI port on screens to connect to WiFi networks, allowing content to be streamed wirelessly from a variety of platforms and devices.
Copenhagen software company Sepior presented their solution for companies wanting to protect cloud data. Sepior offers a pure cloud-based solution that uses strong encryption and does not rely on trust in any third party; neither does it require any on-premises hardware or software as the encryption gateway. Sepior enables organisations to encrypt data going into cloud solutions in a very flexible manner, and takes care of the related key management. This allows employees to continue using popular cloud services like DropBox, Box, Google Drive while still protecting against data breaches.
Tradeshift is a global collaboration platform that connects buyers, suppliers, and all their processes. It helps businesses run more efficiently, using cloud technology to improve processes like AP automation, procurement, supplier management and working capital optimisation. For suppliers, Tradeshift delivers free electronic invoicing, faster payments and predictable cash flow. Enterprisesare empowered to work more easily and productively with their entire supply chain. Tradeshift, a client of our Copenhagen office is widely predicted to be the next "Nordic Unicorn" to emerge from Denmark.
"Hosting the tour in Copenhagen was a great opportunity for the Nordic offices to introduce clients and would-be clients as showcasing firms to a number of potential UK customers. It was great to see a lot of networking taking place and with Bird & Bird right in the middle of it." - Martin von Haller
"The tour is a fantastic way to see truly new technology, meet new companies and get close to IT professionals normally off limits to lawyers. By bringing together IT decision makers and innovative companies we are promoting the Bird & Bird name as the law firm at the heart innovation." - Howard Rubin
Bird & Bird attendees across the two days included Martin von Haller, Ulrik Laustsen, Sara Nielsen and Jonathan Ellacott (all Copenhagen); Henrik Bergström (Stockholm); Howard Rubin and Roger Bickerstaff (both London); Maciej Gawronski and Joanna Galajda (both Warsaw). We were joined by senior executives from the Ministry of Defence, Myhomemove plc, Baillie Gifford, SAB Miller and Kingfisher plc.
Planning has already begun for the 2016 tour.