Stockholm-Based SUP46 Puts Its Mark On The Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

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For more than four years now, SUP46 has been gathering Stockholm's startup community, proving to be a key meeting point for all investors, advisers and enthusiastic entrepreneurs, willing to share their knowledge and receive valuable feedback for their business.

Stockholm-Based SUP46 Puts Its Mark On The Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

Elin Hammarberg, PR & Communications at SUP46

More and more innovative companies all around the country benefit from their membership at SUP46 in the process of boosting their business within the global dynamic environment. We interviewed Elin Hammarberg, PR and Communications Manager at SUP46, to reveal more about the main vision of the hub as well as the various opportunities it offers entrepreneurs from all over Sweden as well as people willing to join their team.

Elin, how has the whole experience of SUP46 developed since its opening in 2013?

The Startup Hub SUP46 was founded by Jessica Stark, Sebastian Fuchs and Nathalie Nylén in 2013, with the aim of gathering the startup community. At that point, Stockholm’s startup scene was quite fragmented and lacked a place where the community could meet and that could be a natural starting point for international media, investors, and visitors to go to. We are located in the heart of Stockholm and are home to more than 50 startups, including members outside the capital.

Additionally, we are a natural, open meeting place for the whole community and we run our own Startup Café in the venue. Being an open meeting place and also hosting approximately 20 startup events per month, meaning that we have roughly 30.000 visitors in a year.

What would be your main goal as an organization?

Our vision is that all SUP46 members will become global game-changers. In that spirit, our mission is to offer a world-class ecosystem for startups.

What makes your startup hub different than the others?

That depends on who you compare us to since we are a mix of an accelerator and a “coworking space on speed”. The difference from coworking spaces is that through the membership we provide our members with a competitive advantage through a world-class ecosystem of investors, advisors, and partners.

We also work very actively with knowledge sharing between the startups and we generally listen a lot to member’s requests on what they feel they would benefit from and act on this. We receive roughly 20 applications per month from startups and accept 10% of these. The membership is results-based and limited to 12-18 months. If you compare us to an accelerator, the difference is that we don’t take any equity in the companies, instead, we ask them to pay a membership fee. The fee depends on what type of membership they choose – we offer memberships with an office space but also a remote membership where you have your own office, either in Stockholm or somewhere else in the country. In the latter case, the startups get access to our digital channels and all assistance that resident members get – even though they might be based in Umeå, Linköping or Gothenburg.

How would you describe Stockholm’s startup environment?

Stockholm has a startup community that, during the past few years, has both grown substantially and really come together. People share experiences and learnings, help each other out and gather in a natural way, thanks to initiatives like Stockholm Tech Meetup and Startup Grind as well as hubs and meeting places such as ours. The ecosystem has evolved rapidly, for example, the base of Angel Investors is much bigger now than it was five or ten years ago. It changes the attitude if you see someone not too different from yourself succeed in building companies such as Spotify, Skype, Klarna, or King. This, of course, creates a feeling of “if they can, then so can I”. In addition to that, there is also the more general effect it has: When media, investors, and influencers turn their eye to Swedish startups, it enables the next generation of startup successes to go further in terms of funding, attention, and network. It also means that international top talent is more encouraged to choose Swedish startups as their place to work.

What can startups expect from SUP46 and what can you offer in return?

Our members can expect a smorgasbord of assistance and it’s up to them to choose what they need most at any given point in their development. Do they want to attend recruiting events? Need PR assistance? Looking to meet investors? We do everything we can to ensure our members get the most out of their membership while they are with us. Our “Community Pulse”, an internal anonymous measuring tool we conduct regularly, from 2016 showed that 9 out of 10 founders felt SUP46 actively contributed to a faster development for their startup. So there is still room for improvement 🙂

What we expect from our members is that they contribute to the community in the best way they can. For example, if they have expert knowledge in something like coding or sales we encourage them to host courses for other members within their area of expertise. Something that has been very appreciated.

What makes a startup a successful one in your opinion?

A brilliant idea, in an industry ready for change, is, of course, a great start. But the idea will only get you that far. What’s most important is execution. If you manage to build a team with great experience and manage to keep them motivated and ensure you are all working towards the same goal that will get you further.

Founders with previous knowledge of building scalable businesses, of course, present an advantage. Last year, amongst our member companies, a total of 66% of the founders had previously done so – an increase from 45% to the year before. Another thing definitely worth mentioning is the ability to adapt and iterate. Listen to your customers and don’t get stuck to the initial idea, don’t be afraid of change.

How would you describe the people and startups you host? Do they come from specific industries?

Unlike other, niched, hubs and coworking spaces, we take in the best startups from all industries. What we look for in a startup is post-launch, traction, and proof of concept. It needs to be a scalable business with large market potential and global ambitions. It should have a great team with winner attitude. Last but not least, financial “stability” with 6-12 months runway and an interest in contributing to SUP46’s community!

We always conduct personal interviews and then check relevant recommendations, references or endorsements before accepting a startup as a member. More information about our membership can be found on our website.

Judging by the dynamic current environment, in which ways do you measure your success and make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

We regularly conduct an anonymous “Community Pulse” where we ask questions about everything from the coffee and venue to whether they would recommend a membership to a peer – and why. We listen closely to our members and always make necessary changes, based on both this survey and requests or suggestions that we receive throughout the days. Making sure we stay relevant and on top of our member’s needs is crucial for us.

What can you reveal about your current events and workshops?

Our event space sees around 250 events per year, out of which we host 2-3 per month ourselves. A few of our recurring events are the After Hours that we host together with partners and sponsors once per month, the Swedish Startup Gala where we also induct one new person into Swedish Startup Hall of Fame – which is hosted at the end of each year and various recruitment events and hackathons. As we’re this busy we are currently looking for an Event Intern to join the team! 🙂



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