Sting is Sweden’s largest tech startup ecosystem consisting of an incubator, accelerator, the largest angel fund and several co-working spaces and services.
Sting was started in 2002 and supports 25-30 new startups per year. Sting has had since its inception a very close cooperation with KTH and has, together with them, developed important elements of the ecosystem in Stockholm. Sting is Sweden’s largest tech startup ecosystem consisting of an incubator, accelerator, largest angel fund (Propel Capital), several co-working spaces (SUP46, THINGS, H2), and services including coaching support, team development, recruitment, and investor relations. Within the ecosystem and initiated by Sting, there’s an extensive corporate-startup matchmaking organization (Ignite Sweden) and a new 60-million-euro Venture Capital fund. STING's current objective is to renew Swedish industry. It provides comprehensive support for entrepreneurs and their new companies. The programme may also serve as a bridge between startups and larger, established companies.
STING has two main programmes:
- 6 – 18-month engagements
- 3 ‘batches’ of startups per year (10-12 companies)
- 4 months
- 8 startups per ‘batch’ (16 per year)
STING provides the startups with a structured approach to developing them, though the content of this relationship is defined by the owner of the project. There are coaching opportunities, test beds available, and co-working spaces. It is backed by the City of Stockholm, KTH, Ericsson, as well as real estate owners in Kista, research institutes and industry.
The value proposition includes support and coaching from a strong team of 16 people, including 9 industry-specific business coaches, 2 ½ persons working with recruitment and team development, 1 investor relations manager and 3 people within PR. There is one part-time staff doing back office duties.
Evidence of success
STING has worked with over 280 companies since 2002, across the ICT, media, Digital Health, sustainability and life sciences. 70% of these are still active and are growing. STING receives more than 600 applications each year. STING has backed 274 startups since 2002 and they had in 2018 a combined revenue of 248M, of which 68 % came from international sales. The number of employees was more than 2 600 and 27 % of them were women. They have raised 526M and 136M in private and public funding.
Maintaining the momentum and the rotation and number of initiatives and participants in the programme.
Potential for learning or transfer
- The system approach to building a support system for startups.
- The long term approach.
- Maintaining the focus over 17 years.
- Maintaining a top team in the organisation.
The STING programme has maintained a very successful track for more than 15 years, joining the public and private initiative and fostering the creation of new opportunities through startups.
The involvement of the private sector and the governance of the programme are deeply related to the success of the programme and could be transferred through the adaptation of its structures and processes.
The protocols in order to foster creativity and speed-up the development of the startups add value and can be transferred through its direct replication.
Finally, the processes for enhancing cooperation between the different agents involved in the coaching and funding and the beneficiaries could be adapted to any dispositive working with entrepreneurs and new initiatives.