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Sweden vies as hi-tech hub

Friday, September 05, 2014 - 02:28

As companies - and countries - rush to cash in on the tech start-up boom, Sweden is among those leading the way, according to a report by the World Economic Forum. Joel Flynn asks what's at the heart of the tech scene in Stockholm.

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Sweden: lakes and leisure and a calm, laid back lifestyle, but beneath the surface also helping lead the technology revolution. The World Economic Forum says the country is now the sixth most competitive in Europe - but when it comes to technological readiness, it's the third globally. It's also now a hub for tech companies. Klarna's one of those leading the next generation of tech firms. Erik Engellau-Nilsson is its Chief Consumer Business Officer. SOUNDBITE: Klarna Chief Consumer Business Officer, Erik Engellau-Nilsson, saying (English): "We have a great talent pool here, there are other companies that can really inspire us like Skype, like Truecaller, like Volumental, Spotify, King - they're just a whole bunch of really cool companies in Sweden and we help each other to create something exciting." Klarna is among those being most talked about - it's an online payment system designed to streamline internet transactions. It's also one of the main sponsors of the Stockholm Tech Fest convention. Volumental is another company catching the eye - an online 3D scanning service that's exciting investors and consumers alike. Caroline Walerud is CEO. SOUNDBITE: Volumental CEO and Co-Founder, Caroline Walerud, saying (English): "Our long term vision is to be the platform where people create their body models, their body avatars and then use those to create custom products and services, and that's really everything from shoes and clothes, which I've discussed now, but also for example avatars in computer games." Almost half a billion US dollars were invested in Swedish start-ups last year. There are more than 20,000 Tech companies in Stockholm. And almost one in five people work in high-tech related jobs. King is one of the big success stories as well - the company behind the immeasurably popular Candy Crush Saga games. Thomas Hartwig is King Chief Technology Officer. SOUNDBITE: King Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, Thomas Hartwig, saying (English): "The whole talent pool in Stockholm and the whole of Sweden is very big, and I think the whole sort of climate with the way that we organise, sort of flat organisations, we embrace creativity and that sort of thing allows us to flourish the innovation in the city." The Stockholm Tech Fest gives some idea of what's next for Sweden's technology sector. But for some of the companies here, their names and products could be set for a much bigger stage.

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Sweden vies as hi-tech hub

Friday, September 05, 2014 - 02:28