As part of the government Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket), Startup Sweden acts through national and international bootcamps and events. A few weeks ago the accelerator noticed in its network the increase in companies being vocal about covid-19 and decided to compile in a formal way what is the perception and reaction that the startup community sees as consequences of this crisis. Their Survival Survey had the goal of screening the current status of the situation in order to better assist Swedish startups. The result came out this week, with an impressive number of 667 that participated in the research.
A challenging time, like today, requires adaptability in many aspects for all of us in the entrepreneurial community. Tips to maintain companies afloat during the crisis are everywhere and take into consideration all dimensions of business, from communication handling, new employees and customers’ needs, to supply-chain management, new ways of tracking and forecasting, and so on. According to the survey, the struggle will be harder when it comes to the loss of income because of lower sales for startups not looking for funding and problems with fundraising for seed and pre-seed startups. The difficulty in keeping paid employees is an overall worry for more than 20%, with over 40% of them already making plans to reduce the workforce.
Most of the responders said that they feel some sort of threat to the future of their company due to covid-19. More than 75% already see negative changes or believe that they will happen, predicting a rough few months ahead of them or even not surviving through them. Meanwhile, some may not be affected and some may even uncover opportunities to service customers in new ways, adapting to the new challenges of social isolation and a slow-down of economic activity.
This data quickly gathered by Startup Sweden is quite valuable for all the Swedish entrepreneurship community. They also compiled some helpful resources with information about support during the crisis. We are not alone in recommending this survey; the platform The Hub utilized the same questions to analyze Denmark, Norway, Finland and Northern Ireland, which means you can even compare the outcome of these different countries.
At Wellstreet we have been taken aback by our founders who have maintained their optimism and resolve. So many have been invigorated by a new sense of purpose and have led their teams to new heights of creativity, innovation and exploration. They have been thinking of new ways to solve their customers’ pain points and needs, in a context and economic climate that changes daily, with every new piece of news, and they are thriving.
There are many ways that you can give back to your community and any help will be appreciated, which means it is time to roll up the sleeves and get to work. We have been highlighting on our social media channels our portfolio companies who have stepped out of their comfort zone and launched something new, whether it be a new product, special offers for those who need it most, or community initiatives to support their peers. If you haven’t seen them, follow us to check initiatives like the ones from Bambuser, Zalster and Skillbreak.
There are also other countless contributions we see in our network that fill our hearts with warmth and makes us proud to be in the midst of such remarkable and inspiring people. The initiative our colleagues at Norrsken put forward together with Dagens Industri is an uplifting example - with Action Against Corona they seek to make a difference by helping with what they have expertise in, that is providing funding, access to networks and raising the awareness of the work by the people behind the solutions. As a part of this initiative and also in partnership with Norrsken, GodHjälp is a project by GoodCause and cooperates with an important solution. They match people who are in the risk group of developing severe symptoms with Covid-19 with volunteers who deliver groceries and pharmacy shopping free of charge.
You can see initiatives sprouting across Sweden from companies to companies, supporting one another, on Håll Sverige Igång. Wellstreet’s contribution to the local business community of our home in Sollentuna is also there and you can read more about it here. We hope this brings you some inspiration and hope that the future can be a place where we will all meet and discuss this period with the sense that we did things within our reach to support employees and customers when the whole society was required to stand united.