FW08: YOUR BEET, Sweden and the US

· 3 min read
FW08: YOUR BEET, Sweden and the US
The Flag of Philadelphia pays tribute to the city’s Swedish origins; Philadelphia was the first capital of the US, and the city where the Founding Father’s signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776.

It’s 4th of July week in Stockholm, which gives us a chance to reflect on US-Sweden relations.

In some ways, the arc connecting the Nordics and North America couldn’t be any longer. Vikings were the first Europeans to see American soil–a fact that might explain the “perceived proximity” between Sweden and the U.S.

In 1638, the Swedish West India Company established a colony near Philadelphia, and to this day, the city's flag commemorates its Swedish origins.

Between 1840 and 1920, the American frontier absorbed roughly 20% of Sweden’s population. And perhaps because of this blood tie, Sweden and the US maintain a mutual fascination with one another’s pop culture & entrepreneurial ecosystems.

US Census Map of Swedish-Americans in the US as of 2000; Swedish immigrants preferred the wide open, Western fontier over the more developed East Coast

These days, it’s as easy to see Swedes wearing the stars & stripes as it is to hear Americans listening to Avicii on Spotify.  

According to the US State Department, Sweden is “one of the largest investors [in the US] on a per capita basis.” Similarly, the first episode of the new SSE Startup Lab podcast was titled “Digging gold in the US”--something that Swedish founders from Jacob De Greer (iZettle) to Ali Ghodsi (Databricks) have done by attracting US investors.  

Next week, Sweden’s bid to join NATO could act as a capstone commitment linking two countries that benefited from (mostly) sitting out of previous wars. Don't forget that when Sweden & America rebuilt Europe together, these two intact, industrial nations became very rich at the same time--an accident that often fosters friendship.

A new frontier?

But just as the riches of the American frontier attracted Swedes from previous generations--and just as new riches tied these two nations together--a new frontier may be opening other opportunities soon.

The Northeast Passage (blue) vs. the Suez Canal rote (red): shipping goods from China via the Arctic Circle could save roughly two weeks, or roughly 30% of the trip length. 

Last week, I spent two days with a team of ambitious Nordic founders intent on developing the Arctic–a largely untouched area comparable in size to the African continent. One Norwegian founder was telling me that, so far, his main international counterparties in the Arctic are Chinese.

A decade ago, Chinese shipping giant COSCO pioneered the 5,400-kilometre voyage from Dalian to Rotterdam via the Arctic–a journey that can be up to 30% faster than the route through the Suez Canal.

China now positions itself as a “near-Arctic” nation, a reference to the opportunity that sits even closer to home for Swedes. As China continues to grow and expand northward, it could open opportunities for those of us prepared to navigate the cultural complexities.


On this note, SFC is hosting a rather unusual 4th of July celebration this year. On Tuesday, SFC Members Johannes Löfgren and Susanne Stroh will host a dinner called “Doing business in China: a chance to learn a bit more of the informal dinners where most business decisions are made.” Details here:

📍 4 July | “Doing Business in China” | To sign up, Contact Johannes Löfgren, Susanne Stroh, or follow istructions in our Discord.

Founder Award

Anna Sjöharald and Anastasia Trofimova, founders of Your Beet

Shifting attention back to west, Breakit recently announced that Your Beet raised 10.2m SEK to expand into the US market.

Founded in 2020 by Anastasia Trofimova and Anna Sjöharald, Your Beet provides personalized, plant-based meal recommendations that steer consumers toward healthier habits.

Billed as “Spotify for plant-based foods,” Your Beet helps consumers shop faster, save on food bills, and lower CO2e emissions–all while building healthy habits.

The app’s first 10,000 users can get lifetime free access by signing up here.

Congratulations to Anastasia, Anna and the team.


Submit corrections, feedback, or ideas for this update to me, Vincent Weir.