Survey Results: The Current State of Nordic Startups During COVID-19

COVID-19
Mar 19 2020

Last updated 3rd April 2020, 13:00.

The COVID-19 outbreak is hard on all companies, but especially startups. To raise awareness of the situation startups find themselves in, we asked startups across the Nordics to share the challenges the COVID-19 outbreak has brought with it.

The aim of this survey is to map out the most pressing issues facing Nordic startups and to help us understand their current situation. The results of the survey will be shared publicly and with relevant decision makers to raise awareness of the current challenges startups face as a result of the pandemic crisis.

The COVID-19 Startup Survey was published on the 18th March 2020, 12:00.

We have used survey questions made by the Startup Sweden for ease of comparison. Their survey focuses on Swedish startups, while we have targeted startups in the other countries where the Hub is present, namely Denmark, Finland, Norway and Northern Ireland.

The below is the results from both our survey and the results from the survey made by Startup Sweden. In total, 1140 startups have contributed to the results.

 

74% of startups expect to or already see and experience changes due to COVID-19

 

Looking at the numbers, the pattern is clear: The existence of the majority of Nordic startups is uncertain as a direct result of COVID-19.

 

Decrease in sales, issues with funding and keeping employees

 

There are especially three different areas where the startups expect challenges when elaborating on which negative ways they will be affected by the current situation.

First and foremost, 77% of startups will lose income as a result of a decrease in sales. Second, 55% of startups will have difficulties with keeping their employees on payroll and more than half will have issues with their current or future funding round.

When asked which challenge is the most pressing issue, it’s clear to see that the income of startups is a concern.

63% of startups already see or expect a loss of income due to a decrease in sales due to COVID-19. Remarkably, only 9% find that paying taxes and governmental fees are their most pressing issue.

 

More than a third of startups have already planned to reduce their workforce

 

COVID-19 has a clear impact on the job of many startup employees. While 59% of startups don’t plan to reduce their workforce right now, 41% are already making plans to change their current workforce setup.

 

Who are we asking and who does this survey represent?

 

Our survey has gathered responses from startups of all kinds; a great range of startup sizes, industries and locations have been represented as it also can be seen in the results from Startup Sweden.

55% of the startups have 1-4 employees on their payroll while the following 34% represents the number of paid employees ranging from 5-20. These numbers are very typical for startups as capital usually is scarce all depending on factors such as funding.

When asking about what stages the startups are currently situated in, we can see that most startups are in seed-stage (34%) with self-funded startups (22%) and pre-seed startups (19%) are coming in second and third. A/B/C-round startups consist of 14% while only 11% are not currently looking for funding.

The majority of these responses are coming from Nordic startups in Sweden (60%). Secondly, there has also been a great number of responses from Danish startups (26%) and around 100 responses from both Norway (7%) and Finland (6%). Startups from Northern Ireland (1%) are also represented, but as a minority in this survey. So be aware that currently there is a country bias in the results.

When comparing the data across locations, it’s quite remarkable that the COVID-19 effects all startups in all markets in very similar ways. The major difference is that a larger part of the Swedish startups are seeing a higher amount of pressing issues and to a higher degree is reducing their workforce as a direct consequence of the worldwide outbreak.