The Nordic venture market: Facts and figures

Denmark: Growth market takes a knock

Over the last five years, the value of the Danish private equity market has more than doubled, according to Vaekstfonden, the government-owned Danish Growth Fund. The market proved relatively resilient to the global downturn until 2002, when investment volume fell for the first time since the early 1990s, from €3.4bn to €2.1bn and the number of active investors declined from 68 to 62 ? due in large part to the closing of corporate venturing units.

More than 50 per cent of domestic venture capital investors in Denmark have been active for less than four years. Most are small, with more than 40 per cent having less than €6.7m under management, while less than 10 per cent have more than €134m.

Despite a 40 per cent slump in deal value in 2002, Danish venture capital volume was up 150 per cent compared with 1998. Over the same period, European venture investment grew 50 per cent, while US volume was exactly the same in 2002 as four years ago.

Although overall investment activity slumped, Denmark saw an increase in the value of seed capital investments from €59m in 2001 to €69m in 2002. This was in part accounted for by an increase in investments from Vaekstfonden, together with several biotech transactions. These included Copenhagen-based Nuevolution, which continued to attract investor support when closing a €12.9m second round led by Scandinavian Life Science Venture in October 2003.

Much of the Danish venture market's resilience can be put down to the growth of the life sciences sector, where investment has doubled as a proportion of the overall venture market, from 24 per cent in 1998 to 48 per cent last year.

Sweden: Biotech leads popularity stakes
The total value of Swedish venture investments fell from SEK1.9bn (€210m) to SEK1.3bn between 2001 and 2002, according to figures from the Swedish Venture Capital Association (SVCA), despite the number of deals increasing from 439 to 614 over the same period.

Between 2001 and 2003, the number of Swedish venture and buyout firms has fallen from 155 to 128, though there were only 25 such firms ten years ago. Funds under management have increased every year in Sweden, currently standing at SEK213bn compared with SEK201bn last year

Seed funds raised a collective SEK710m from January 2002 to September 2003, with Creandum's SEK300m the largest raised by one firm. Venture funds raised a total SEK4.7bn, with HealthCap leading the way on SEK3bn. Buyout funds raised SEK23.2bn over the same period.

The SVCA has seen 45 of its members resign since January 2002, partly compensated by 31 new members. Of the 45 resignations, 40 per cent were small private VCs. In the first half of 2003, 71 per cent of SVCA members made investments ? 37 per cent of which were initial investments and 61 per cent follow-on investments.

In the second quarter of 2003, biotechnology was the most popular sector for investment, accounting for 29 deals. It was followed by medical technology and computer software, which both saw 23 transactions.

Stage distribution of investments in 2002

Stage Initial Initial Follow-on Follow-on
investments investments investments investments
(€m) (number) (€m) (number)
Seed 11 30 18 65
Start-up 9 15 26 69
Other early
stage 8 16 25 90
Expansion 115 43 34 89
MBO/MBI 129 25 1 4
Rescue/
turnaround 0 1 5 7
Other 10 6 0 2
Total 282 136 109 326

Norway: Value ranges – Number each range

Range 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Less than €5m 5 4 6 4 4 3 7 1 5 11
€5m – €10m 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
€10m – €25m 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 1 0
€25m – €50m 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1
€50m – €100m 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
€100m – €250m 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 2 1 0
Over €250m 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0
Total 5 5 6 7 6 4 8 7 9 12