Famous Swedish Entrepreneurs


Sweden has become famous for producing global success stories such as IKEA, Tetra Pak and Spotify. But what accounts for Sweden’s unparalleled ability to develop innovative companies with international appeal?

One reason is due to Sweden’s notable entrepreneurs. Some of the best-known Swedish businesspeople serve as role models when it comes to starting and growing companies. They provide us with invaluable lessons on forming and growing companies.

Ingvar Kamprad

Ingvar Kamprad is best known as the founder and chairman of IKEA furniture store. Born to Swedish farmers living on Elmtaryd (now Almtaryd), Ingvar began selling matches at age five before realizing his strengths lay in math and quick learning skills he used them to devise a business model which cut costs while increasing profits.

At Ikea, Kamprad negotiated with suppliers to reduce costs while investing in logistics and manufacturing to decrease prices while increasing sales. He stressed thrift and diligence by living in Switzerland to avoid Sweden’s taxes; driving a modest Volvo car; staying at economical hotels when traveling; as well as contributing generously to charity causes.

In his later years, Ingvar Kamprad contributed millions to charitable causes across Sweden and internationally – from medical research to education – including donations to medical research institutes. At age 91 he left his fortune to a foundation controlling IKEA.

Toni Petersson, known for founding Blondinbella fashion chain and other businesses. Her many achievements include being the first ever clothing line dedicated to teenage girls; creating online stores; as well as starting an investment trust. Other renowned Swedish entrepreneurs are Jens Nylander (founder of premium quality earphone brand JAYS); Hjalmar Siemiatkowski who co-founded Klarna payment system; all have made significant impacts in shaping Sweden’s technological future as an inspiration to others.

Hjalmar Winbladh

Hjalmar Winbladh has been at the forefront of European entrepreneurship for two decades, whether founding businesses, selling them off or acting as a venture capitalist. A seven-time entrepreneur himself, Hjalmar has seen firsthand how Europe now stands its own ground as an exciting and confident investment destination.

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As a partner at EQT Ventures, Winbladh assists ambitious founders on their path to global success. Established in 2016, this multistage fund is supported by private equity firm EQT Partners. As a seasoned investor himself, Winbladh has successfully founded and managed global technology companies including Wrapp, Rebtel and Sendit (which was acquired by Microsoft).

Mr. Fung serves as both a board member of Sportradar and senior advisor to both EQT Partners and Creandum, in addition to being an angel investor in companies such as iZettle, Epidemic Sound and Pedal.

Virtual reality (VR), one of the most promising technologies of 2017, has already shown immense traction among mainstream audiences. ESports (electronic sports leagues where gamers compete online video games) may further drive adoption and demand for VR technology. By transporting people into new worlds, VR promises to transform industries including retail and healthcare while becoming an invaluable marketing tool to create more engaging customer experiences that ultimately increase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

Toni Petersson

Toni Petersson is the CEO of Oatly, a company which manufactures and distributes plant-based milk. With extensive experience founding and managing companies in lifestyle, drink distribution and real estate sectors – as well as spending two years traveling the world with his family – Petersson’s unconventional business style has contributed immensely to Oatly’s success.

Before Toni Petersson joined Oatly as CEO in 2012, they had struggled to gain market share. Though their product had been developed since 1994, many customers had yet to discover its unique taste; plus opposition from Sweden’s dairy lobby threatened their brand.

Petersson made it his top priority to revamp Oatly’s marketing strategy and attract younger consumers with humor and minimalist designs for milk cartons, including advertising featuring him having an innocuous conversation with a cow about its benefits.

Oatly’s campaign proved highly successful, enabling the brand to overcome initial difficulties in China’s market and establish itself as one of the leading plant-based milk producers with many fans relying on its products. Oatly plans on continuing its success by placing greater importance on distribution expansion, new product development and efficiency enhancement.

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Jens Nylander

Jens Nylander is a well-recognized Swedish entrepreneur known for his expertise in IT and digital media. As part of Breakits news publication reaching all membership of Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce New York (SACCNY), Nylander writes insightful articles related to Swedish-American business topics – an honor which keeps him busy serving on Breakits editorial board and writing well-read articles covering a range of subjects related to Swedish-American trade relations.

Nylander is also the founder of premium quality earphone brand JAYS and Automile, which provides mobile-based tracking solutions for car data. He possesses extensive technical and data analysis expertise; holds an MBA from Stockholm School of Economics; regularly contributes to Swedish media outlets; and was named one of Sweden’s most influential entrepreneurs.

Nylander remains true to his values despite his success, not hiding from speaking out against injustice and corruption in Sweden. He has taken issue with its current government for its misuse of public funds as well as their use of private data for state surveillance – something which he views as an unreasonable invasion of privacy.

At Forbes, he discussed his business’s success through its emphasis on free information flow and transparency in dealing with clients, and also stressed the need to attract and retain talented employees.

Lisa Kristina Lindstrom

Lisa Kristina Lindstrom is one of Sweden’s most innovative entrepreneurs and co-founder of Doberman, now part of EY. She was honored with the Royal Patriotic Society Enterprise Medal and served as an advisor to government. Additionally, Lisa often speaks on design and innovation topics. Furthermore, Lisa encourages others to embrace new challenges.

Lindstrom is best-known as the author of Fried Green Tomatoes and for her films and TV documentaries that explore history from an international perspective. She produced series of documentaries focusing on Swedish punk music from the 60s-70s; moreover she’s currently working on one about Bjorn Andresen who passed away in 1984.

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Similar to Jens Nylander, Jens Nylander is an ambitious serial entrepreneur. He founded premium quality earphone company JAYS before going on to found 1928 Diagnostics, an antimicrobial software service fighting antibiotic resistance through digital software applications in Gothenburg. Furthermore, he serves on the Board of Directors at Automile which connects drivers and fleet managers with vehicle data so companies can optimize and manage operations more efficiently – listed on NASDAQ with numerous awards for innovation! In addition, Nylander worked for 15 years at Sahlgrenska University Hospital conducting molecular biology/genetic research as part of clinical research for molecular biology/genetic research for molecular biology/genetic research.

Hjalmar Siemiatkowski

Hjalmar Siemiatkowski, CEO of Klarna – an innovative fintech firm leading e-commerce payments technology – holds himself and his company to high expectations. These ambitions reflect not only his own ambitions but those of both investors who support his efforts as well as customers whose payments they enable; in addition to these hopes and those of family and Polish heritage.

Sweden is well known for its vibrant entrepreneurial culture and small size, producing numerous successful startups over time, including 7 unicorn companies (tech businesses valued at more than $10 billion) which were founded within its borders. Of these unicorns, some already enjoy global recognition – for instance Truecaller, iZettle, Zalando Northvolt and Learnster are just a few examples that have achieved global fame.

These startups have transformed the way consumers shop online, enabling consumers to use flexible financing for purchasing products and services. Furthermore, these startups have created thousands of jobs and attracted an influx of investments. Furthermore, Swedish culture encourages entrepreneurs to take risks and follow their passion; with hard work anyone can become successful entrepreneurs and achieve their dreams; just believe in yourself and don’t give up!


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