This article was taken from the November 2013 issue of Wired magazine.
For the third year, WIRED’s editors have visited the continent’s startup hubs to identify the ten tech cities you need to know about. Our conclusion: Europe is on a roll. Here are the 100 companies causing the greatest buzz, according to the local commentators, investors and entrepreneurs we surveyed.
Swedish programmers find web development so easy that they do it blindfolded. In March, the windows of the Tictail offices in Södermalm were blacked out with bin bags. Smoke filled the room from a machine and lasers lit it up; electronic music played loudly. “It was really overdramatic,” says Tictail cofounder Kaj Drobin, who put on the event, called Code in the Dark. In the middle of the room was a bank of screens, the arena for the battle royal: 30 developers had to recreate the front end of some well-known sites — including Pinterest and Dropbox — in 20 minutes, without previewing them.
The 40-strong crowd, comprising employees from startups including Spotify, Klarna and Bloglovin, then rated the best efforts. The final took place at about 10pm and the winner was chosen unanimously: Alexander Ryden, who used to work at Tictail.
Stockholm is hosting more tech events than ever. According to Drobin: “If you look back a year ago, most of the events were held by big companies, like Klarna and Spotify. Now you see events everywhere.” The Stockholm Startup Hack, in its second year, took over Skeppsholmskyrkan, a church; the DJ for the after-party played from the pulpit.