About Sweden Demo Day
Sweden Demo Day started as Internet Discovery Day by Johan Jörgensen (Sweden Food Tech) when he was working at the legendary Cream Invest back in 2010. He was tired of the complains that startups had a hard time finding investors and investors couldn’t find enough of a new deal flow. But this was only because they did not know each other and there were no meeting places or concepts for how they could easily meet. Fairs were boring, conferences were boring and expensive and mostly free from networking.
For the first time, they borrowed the old Skandia office (now Klarna’s Office) on Sveavägen, which was then being demolished. They swept out a room, sent out some invites and because it was a construction site, they invented the brown paper expo - to ensure that everyone would have exactly the same conditions (plus they were tired of stands and the regular roll-ups). Everyone had to come, whether they signed up or not and it wouldn't cost anything - it has always been an important principle - but they were glad if people signed up. The notifications began to roll in and they soon realized that there would be hundreds of people showing up. They had to spend a night sweeping a few more rooms.
They also set up an ambitious stage program with lots of great speakers from the community.
But what they learned after the very first event that most people don’t care about speakers and panels – people want to network and make new connections.
There were somewhere 50-70 companies, many of which they did not know. And especially Johan got a somewhat strange feeling in his chest realizing that even he did not know all of startups in the ecosystem. That’s when he realized an un-conference is what startup founders need.
There were close to 500 visitors. It was completely insane. A couple of weeks later, the Internet Stiftelsen called and asked if they wanted to create the next version in the context of their conference Internetdagarna and the rest is, as they say, history.
2018 Johan Jörgensen handed over Sweden Demo Day to Tillväxtverket as it grew out of proportion as a fun side project. Sweden Demo Day is now run by the Team of Startup Sweden, an accelerator program for swedish startups by the Swedish Government Agency Tillväxtverket.