Under the mayoral leadership of Karin Wanngård, Stockholm has been building its smart city credentials, and has the potential to be a powerful centre for GovTech.
Stockholm, the birthplace of Skype, Spotify, and Klarna, has long been lauded for its startup ecosystem. The city was the fourth biggest destination for tech investment in Europe in 2017, 18% of the city’s workforce are directly employed in tech, and the city has produced more unicorn startups per capita than any other city in Europe. But these superstars have not fully seized the opportunity in the GovTech space – yet.
A recent report by the McKinsey Global Institute put Sweden ahead of all other European nations for their smart city technology base. Most notably, Sweden has the highest levels of smart-device penetration of anywhere in Europe (a remarkable 150%, meaning that, on average, every person in Sweden owns 1.5 smart devices).
In the GovTech space, there have been encouraging signs at a local level. Stockholm’s mayor, Karin Wanngård, took office in 2014 with a vow to make Stockholm one of Europe’s smartest cities. Under her watch, Digital Demo Stockholm was set up, using a challenge-based format to find digital solutions to a range of urban issues. The city has also set up the Urban ICT Arena, a forum for advancing city innovation that has championed the development of the world’s first 5G-enabled bike, and even the trialling of autonomous public buses on Stockholm’s streets.
These efforts are supported by a strong national strategy, which is placing an increasing focus on digital government. In 2016, Sweden set a target to be the most developed nation for HealthTech by 2025 and recently published their national digital strategy for skills, infrastructure, security, leadership and – crucially – innovation. As Sweden’s digital minister puts it:
‘Everyone should have access to the potential and possibilities that digitalisation presents’.
This commitment to digitalisation seems to be rubbing off in the growth of GovTech companies in Stockholm. KRY, a telehealth service started in 2015 has achieved considerable market penetration and now accounts for more than 3% of all primary care doctor visits in Sweden. Indeed, KRY is joined by several other promising HealthTech companies (Coala Life, Doctrin), but other sectors such as Education (Sana Labs, Kognity) and AgriTech (Ignitia) have also shown strong signs of encouragement.
Stockholm’s excellent and improving connectivity, well-established venture community, and increasing commitment to smart living are helping a new crop of GovTech businesses to find their feet. With all this in place, Stockholm has strong potential to make its next unicorn a GovTech company.
Top 10 GovTech Startups
Coala Life provides remote monitoring and self-screening for cardiovascular conditions, including murmurs and ECGs.
Sana Labs uses deep learning to develop personalised, adaptive instruction and assessment pathways for students and teachers.
KRY is a telehealth healthcare service that allows patients to arrange on-demand video and photo consultations with clinicians.
DPOrganizer helps companies to manage and visualise the personal data they hold more easily, making GDPR compliance and reporting simple.
Ignitia applies advanced algorithms to satellite data to produce hyper-local weather forecasts for small-scale farmers in West Africa, helping to increase crop yields.
Noomi is a remote caregiving platform for the elderly and vulnerable that uses movement detection, behaviour analysis and AI to alert caregivers when something seems wrong.
Automile is a smart logistics monitoring app that tracks vehicle mileage and trips, and provides route tracking via a small box installed beneath a vehicle’s dashboard.
Kognity is an EdTech platform that provides interactive online textbooks as a SaaS platform, instead of traditional physical textbooks.
Doctrin provides an end-to-end digital healthcare journey for patients, helping healthcare providers to prioritise cases for face-to-face attention and limit time spent on paperwork.
GLOBHE collects, analyses and visualises aerial drone images, allowing emergency services to improve the delivery of aid in some of the world’s most inaccessible areas.