What if Scandinavian startups don’t need a Y Combinator?


When the exchange wrote about the startup scene in Sweden late last month, we said we were going to Scandinavia again this week. Well, a promise is a promise.

But after spending hours watching YC’s Winter 2023 Demo Day pitches this week, we also couldn’t help but try to connect the dots: Are Scandinavian startups making waves at Y Combinator? Turns out, not really. And that’s actually interesting.

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Two: That’s the number of startups in YC’s latest batch with offices in Denmark, Norway or Sweden, according to data from the accelerator itself. And yet these three countries are creating more than their fair share of startups compared to their larger European peers.

When you add in that rival accelerators 500 Startups and Techstars have abandoned their programs in Stockholm, a pattern begins to emerge. Could it be that Scandinavian startups just don’t need international accelerators, thank you very much?

A number disconnects

That there were so few Scandinavian startups in YC’s latest batch could be in passing. YC often insists that it invest in it founders, not ideas; presumably this also means that not much thought is given to office locations. As a result, the number of startups from a particular country can vary quite a bit from batch to batch.