Startup Sauna’s spring ‘16 tour in numbers – see what’s hot in your region and what we should improve

May 30, 2016

Startup Sauna’s Demo Day being just around the corner, it’s time to reflect on the past five months and see what’s happening in the Nordics, Eastern Europe, and Russia’s startup scene. To gain some perspective we also traveled to Korea, Africa, and Lebanon.

The startup scene has never been as vibrant as now – the amount of accelerators, incubators and coworking spaces in our region is overwhelming. With all the additional help offered to startups, it’s great to notice the level of companies rise each year. Explaining factor? When founders both from Russia and Ethiopia are citing a certain lean startup book, it’s not hard to conclude that all the information available offline and online is absorbed evenly around the world.

The results are gratifying: the number of poor pitches have fallen significantly and the sophisticated solutions are on a constant upswing. This is not a scientific observation, but rather a remark backed by 31 coaches who tagged along with us during our local event tour.

We analyzed over 700 applications to share some insights on what’s happening in our region.

Interestingly enough, not everyone is working on an app. The percentage of hardware startups doubled compared to the previous year. This can be partially explained by improved services, such as faster and cheaper means of building a prototype (3D printers, Raspberry Pi’s, yay!) and increasing amount of BaaS’ (back-end as a service) that help companies run their business as smoothly as possible.

A hardware startup from our current batch, Noiseless Acoustics, noticed this when building their own prototype:

“With all the open source information available, it was much easier to start working on the product,” tells Kai Saksela, CEO of the company.

When you look at the industry structure of applying teams this spring, we can see a definite trend when it comes to marketplaces. They doubled up to 20% having the highest percentile increase of all categories. Marketplace startups are different from others in the sense that they don’t just serve one customer base. They connect buyers and sellers, service providers and consumers. With successful marketplace startups, users are not only interacting and having a great experience with fellow users, but also with the startup itself. So no wonder we witnessed the amount double. And no wonder investors love online marketplaces.

The amount of enterprise startups experienced a tad fall, which might be explained by a new, prosperous category, analytics. The current spring batch has not one but two analytical tools, Dripit and Revealytics.

“Markets are changing rapidly and the competition is fierce. Product analysts and marketers are starting to realize the importance of data – it helps improve and develop their product further,” reflects Iskander Musaev, co-founder of Revealytics.

Another notion on the statistics is that the number of female founders declined from last year’s impressive 22.7%. We at Startup Sauna perceive this dip unfortunate since diversity in its all forms is a key component to success. Luckily, we are seeing more and more female founders in Finland.

Secure your ticket to see the best startups from the region in our Demo Day on June 2nd at Arctic15starting at 4 pm!