Until recently, the best way to tell a story about the city of Malmö would be to start with Zlatan Ibrahimović.
This way of introducing Malmö is today challenged by the fact that the region itself – together with Copenhagen, Lund, and Helsingborg – is home to a number of innovative tech startups that is making noise on the international scene. I’ve even had the honor of working with some of them.
When Ideon Science Park opened up in Lund in 1983, it was not only Sweden’s first science park – but also one of the first in the world. It’s purpose was to combine research at Lund university with the local industry in order to commercialize academic results and thus create new job opportunities in the region.
Since then, Ideon has been the birthplace of several multinational companies, such as Sony Ericsson, Qliktech, and Axis Communications. Bluetooth, the standardized protocol for wireless communication between devices, was invented here – and although small by international standards, Ideon is still visited each week by international delegations who want to catch a glimpse of its secrets.
Today, Ideon is far from alone in Southern Sweden as a birthplace for tech startups – and Lund university is not the sole source of higher education. Malmö has grown into something of an entrepreneurial hub of Northern Europe due to its closeness to mainland Europe, it’s university that was founded in 1998, and its progressive development during the last decade from industrial city to a design-, technology-, and gamingcenter. In 2013, Forbes listed Malmö as the fourth most innovative city in the world.
Several entrepreneurial communities, incubators, accelerators, and startup programs have emerged since 1983; and since, this region has been discovered by brands like Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, and Intel – who’ve all made acquisitions during the 2010s among the local startups from Malmö.
Today, the heroes and heroines of the Malmö region have names like Hampus Jakobsson (cofounder of The Astonishing Tribe), Janerik Solem (cofounder of Polar Rose), Mehrdad Mahdjoubi (founder of Orbital Systems), and Anna Haupt (cofounder of Hövding).
The Malmö region, together with Lund, is a small place compared to other tech regions throughout the world – but with a very bright outlook and promising future. In short, a great place to work in and tell stories about.
Photo above: Rickard Hansson, founder of Malmö-based Incentive (Niklas Lagström)