Top Swedish Companies

Top Swedish companies: How many of these Swedish businesses do you recognise?

Lauded as one of the most progressive countries, Sweden has long sought to do things differently. Today, we’re going to bring you the ultimate guide to the top Swedish companies. Let’s get started…

For a relatively isolated country of just over 10 million people, the Swedes have brought an impressive number of innovative companies into the world. In fact, the country ranked fifth in the 2021 Global Innovation Index.

Several factors make Sweden an attractive place to do business. The country has low levels of corruption, and while income tax is high, corporate rates are competitive. Educational institutions, such as the Stockholm School of Economics, have produced some of the world’s finest businessmen and women.

To this day Stockholm remains one of Europe’s most innovative cities. As the largest city in the Nordics, you could very easily consider it the region’s equivalent of Silicon Valley — as tech start-ups like Spotify and Klarna show.

Numerous foreign companies have also set up offices here; for example, Facebook has a data centre in Luleå, a high-tech city in Northern Sweden. Today, though, we’ll focus solely on Swedish businesses.

Below, you’ll find a list of Swedish companies, some of which you’ll probably know and others that might surprise you.

Top Swedish Companies

Spotify

We can’t talk about the Swedish start-up scene without mentioning arguably the king of them all. Spotify revolutionised the music streaming scene when Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon launched their service in April 2006.

Spotify has grown into the go-to music streaming platform for many people worldwide, with well over 100 million owning a premium subscription in the first half of 2022.

Those who frequently use the service know all about its excellent music discoverability features, along with the iconic “year in review” series every December.

Nowadays, Spotify is about much more than music. The platform has made a huge push for podcasting in recent years, and it also hosts video content — though this isn’t as popular. The company has more than 6,000 employees, many of whom have the option to either work in one of its offices or remotely.

Spotify still has an office in Stockholm and several others across the world. Cities its employees work in include New York City, Copenhagen, Oslo, London, and Singapore.

Top Swedish Companies

Skanska

Skanska is one of the world’s largest construction companies, and you’ll see its logo at several construction sites in Sweden and elsewhere. The company was formed in 1887 and originated in Malmö, the country’s third-largest city.

Originally, it operated under the name Aktiebolaget Skånska Cementgjuteriet; Skånska in Swedish means “Scanian”, which is someone or something from the province of Skåne.

These days, Skanska handles multiple construction areas; its office is now headquartered in Stockholm. The company has over 33,000 employees in its locations worldwide, including Denmark, the United Kingdom, Norway, and the United States.

Most of Skanska’s annual revenue comes from the Nordic countries. North America forms the second-largest chunk of its income, followed by Europe outside the Nordic region (including the UK).

Skanska previously operated in numerous countries across Latin America, including Argentina and Peru. However, it withdrew from the market in 2016.

Top Swedish Companies

IKEA

If you’ve lived under a rock for the past two decades and somehow missed the existence of Spotify, you’ll almost certainly have heard of IKEA — and you might even have had one or two relationships destroyed in a store.

Famous for its flat pack furniture, the company is a global leader in homeware. Ingvar Kamprad founded the company in 1943 in the small town of Älmhult — which is in Southern Sweden and close to Småland’sSmåland’s border with Skåne.

IKEA has a huge global presence, with over 400 stores in more than 50 countries — including Sweden, the Netherlands, and the UK. Nowadays, the company has its headquarters in the Dutch city of Delft.

Despite moving its main office out of Sweden, IKEA’s branding remains distinctly Swedish. You can clearly see this with the blue and yellow logo, along with its furniture carrying Swedish names.

Moreover, you’ll almost certainly be familiar with its in-store restaurants — serving classics like the Swedish meatball.

Top Swedish Companies

Volvo Group

Volvo is one of the world’s most recognisable car companies, and if you ever visit Sweden, you’ll see plenty of Volvo cars on the country’s motorways. The company will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2027, and its current headquarters are in Gothenburg — Sweden’sSweden’s second-largest city.

Volvo Group has manufacturing units in 19 countries worldwide, and it sells its products in 190 different markets. Its cars have long been a symbol of reliance, quality, and safety — much like its country of birth.

With issues like climate change becoming more pressing, the company is making a bigger push toward electric cars and sustainability.

95,000 people work for Volvo Group, and the company has offices in several countries — including Denmark, Germany, China, and India.

Europe is the most important region in terms of revenue, and this is also where it hires the most employees. North America is its second-most important market for revenue, followed by Asia.

Top Swedish Companies
Credit: Klarna

Klarna

In recent years, Stockholm’s fintech scene has boomed — and we’ll mention a few companies in this article. Klarna is perhaps the fanciest Swedish employer to work for, and you’ll probably have seen its quirky adverts that have included the likes of Snoop Dogg in the past.

The company offers a pay later service for online shoppers.

Klarna was founded in 2005 by Sebastian Siemiatkowski and Niklas Adalberth. The company generated over $1 billion in revenue in 2021, and the company still has its headquarters in Sweden’s capital city.

Although Sweden remains a crucial market for Klarna, the financial services disruptor operates in several other countries. The UK is an important region for the company, and it also has an office in London.

Klarna works with numerous merchants worldwide to offer to buy now, pay later services; it processes more than 2.5 million transactions daily. Over 147 million people use the service, and 5,000 people work for the company in its offices.

In addition to Stockholm and London, Klarna has offices in Gothenburg, Amsterdam, Berlin, and New York City.

Trustly

Another Swedish start-up disrupting the financial services sector is Trustly, an online payments service founded in 2008 by Oscar Berglund.

The company operates in multiple industries, including online gaming and eCommerce. Users typically connect their bank accounts to Trustly before using the service to pay at their desired website.

Trustly has a significant presence in the Nordics and Baltics, along with other parts of Europe like Germany and the UK. The company has expanded further afield, too, with operations in Canada, the US, Brazil, and several other countries.

More than 500 people work for Trustly, and the company has offices in London as well as its Stockholm headquarters. Other than those, it has eight other places to work dotted around the world.

Trustly works with over 8,000 merchant partners, including the popular Nordic retailer Boozt. The company also has a customer reach surpassing five million.

Top Swedish Companies

Electrolux AB

Electrolux is one of the world’s most famous home appliance companies, but did you know that it’s Swedish? That’s right — the company was founded in 1919, and to this day, it still has its head office in Stockholm.

Electrolux used to call itself Elektrolux but changed the “K” in its name to a “C” in the 1950s. Currently, the company sells its products in multiple markets worldwide; it’s famous for hoovers, washing machines, and tumble dryers, among many more items.

Over 48,000 people work for Electrolux, and the company is also listed on the NASDAQ Stockholm exchange. Electrolux has over 50 companies across the globe, including in the UK, the Netherlands, and Argentina.  

Top Swedish Companies

Ericsson

Ericsson is another of Sweden’s most famous tech companies, and you’ll probably have first heard of it for its Sony joint venture (think about the Sony Ericsson Walkman phones that were the trend back in the 2000s).

However, the company is much older than that; it was founded by Lars Magnus Ericsson in 1876.

Ericsson has its headquarters in Kista, which is part of Stockholm. Elsewhere, though, it has offices in various parts of Europe and multiple other corners of the globe. The company focuses on various aspects of communications, which includes playing a leading role in 5G transport and artificial intelligence.

Multiple industries use Ericsson’s services, including the rail and automotive sectors. It’s also important for many airports along with the mining and manufacturing industries.

Top Swedish Companies

SEB Group

SEB Group, also known as Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken if you fancy a mouthful, focuses its efforts on corporations and businesses in the Nordic financial services scene. It’s been around since 1972 and is still headquartered in Stockholm to this day.

SEB Group has over 15,000 employees, and you’ll find its offices in all of the Nordic countries. However, it also has a presence further afield; SEB has offices in all of the Baltic countries, as well as Germany and the UK — plus other countries.

Top Swedish Companies

Saab

Saab is the only company on our list that no longer operates. Founded in 1945, the company was headquartered in Trollhättan — located in the region of Västra Götaland and roughly 75km north of Gothenburg.

But while it went defunct in 2016, the business lived a pretty good life during its 71 years of existence.

Saab was a member of General Motors (GM) Group for several years before it was sold to the Dutch company Spyker N.V. in 2010. However, one year later, Saab became bankrupt — and the company became defunct in 2016.

Top Swedish Companies

Telia

The Nordic countries share a lot in common, and as you’ve probably noticed by now, many of Sweden’s largest companies operate in Norway and Denmark — as well as Iceland. Telia is one of the clearest examples, and it’s one of the most important telecommunications service providers in Northern Europe.

Telia was founded in 1853 and also has a presence in the Baltic region. In addition to being one of the Nordics’ main mobile network providers, the company also owns TV4 Media and trades both Stockholm and Helsinki’s stock exchanges.

Telia’s headquarters are located in Solna, which is one of Stockholm’s various suburbs and served by the commuter train. The Swedish government owns a share equaling almost 40% of the company, and over six million people use the service.

Roughly 20,000 people work for Telia, and the company has several outlets located throughout Scandinavia.

Top Swedish Companies

Svenska Handelsbanken

Stockholm is the Nordic region’s most important financial centre, and the company is home to several banks serving this part of the world. Perhaps the most recognisable is Svenska Handelsbanken, which serves customers in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark.

Svenska Handelsbanken was founded in 1871, and it’s often referred to as Handelsbanken colloquially. Its income surpassed one billion Swedish Kronor in 2021, and the company employs over 10,000 people.

While Handelsbanken serves most of the other Nordic countries at the moment, the bank has announced plans to leave the Danish and Finnish markets. These two markets were accountable for a much smaller percentage of revenue than the other core countries it serves.

In addition to the Nordics, Handelsbanken has a significant presence in the UK — with over 100 branches throughout the country. Further afield, it has subsidiaries and branches in the US, China, France, and various other nations.

Top Swedish Companies

Swedbank

If you meet someone living in Sweden who doesn’t use Handelsbanken, it’s highly likely that they use Swedbank instead (and if they don’t use either of those, they probably bank with Nordea).

Swedbank is huge in the Nordic region, and it also has a significant presence in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania; over seven million people use the service, and 549,000 corporate customers do likewise.

Four million of its private customers are in Sweden.

Swedbank is especially important in Estonia, where its payment market share was around 60% in 2019. The company’s headquarters are in Sundbyberg, which is a part of the Stockholm municipality; it’s over 200 years old.

Swedbank had intended to merge with SEB back in 2001. However, the move was blocked following concerns that the combined company’s dominance would be too much.

Outside of Europe, Swedbank has a branch in New York City. It was the first Nordic bank to open a branch in Shanghai, and the company also has a presence in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Top Swedish Companies

Scania

Another Swedish vehicle company that you might have heard of is Scania, which — conveniently enough — hails from the province of Scania (Skåne).

The manufacturer has been around since 1891, and it retains its Swedish headquarters — though it has relocated from Malmö to Södertälje, which is just outside Stockholm.

Scania is perhaps best known for its trucks, which it sells in multiple markets worldwide. The company has been part of Traton, which forms some of the larger Volkswagen Group, since 2014.

Scania serves most regions worldwide; the only exception is North America. The logo features the animal on Skåne’s official coat of arms, showing its strong connections to the south of Sweden.

Today, Scania employs more than 54,000 people; these are spread across 100 countries. The company has offices in multiple countries besides Sweden, including Belgium, Australia, and Finland.

Top Swedish Companies
Credit: Swish

Swish

We’ve got a few more fintech businesses to make our list, and the next one we’ll talk about is Swish. This financial services provider is one of the largest companies in Sweden’s domestic market, with a huge local market share.

Swish was founded in 2012. The company allows people to easily send money to one another, along with paying for goods and services while they’re out and about. You can use Swish in restaurants, convenience stores, and more.

When you pay with Swish in person, you can use your phone number or scan a QR code before completing the payment. Roughly seven million people in Sweden use the service, which is almost 70% of the country’s total population.

In addition to its private customer services, Swish has also begun delving into the world of business. Companies can use the mobile app to identify payments as and when they come in, plus much more.

Top Swedish Companies

Tetra Pak

Tetra Pak originates from Lund, a pleasant university town under 20 minutes away from Malmö. The company offers food packaging services and also looks at ways to process food differently, along with other services that help companies improve their efficiency and lower costs.

Tetra Pak was founded in 1951, and its offices are in both Lund and Pully — a small town in Switzerland’s French-speaking region.

Tetra Pak made over €11 billion in revenue throughout 2021, and it serves roughly 160 countries globally. The company has more than 25,000 employees.

Top Swedish Companies
Credit: Håkan Dahlström

iZettle

iZettle, now known as Zettle, was founded in 2010 in Stockholm. The company still has its headquarters in the Swedish capital, though it has gone on to achieve huge things if we talk on a global scale.

Zettle was one of the first key innovators in the race to contactless payments, and you’ve probably paid using one of its services — especially if you’ve travelled to Sweden before. The company launched its services in Sweden in 2011 before becoming partners with Santander two years later.

Zettle remains a big presence in Scandinavia, but it also operates in the UK. Elsewhere, you’ll find the service in the Netherlands, Mexico, and France — along with other countries.

PayPal announced that it would purchase Zettle for over $2 billion in 2018, and the company changed its name to Zettle by PayPal in 2021.

Top Swedish Companies

PostNord

PostNord is one of the Nordic region’s leading postal service providers. It’s one of the biggest Swedish companies and was founded in 2009. It operates throughout Sweden, as well as in Denmark and Norway.

PostNord was founded by Denmark and Sweden’s governments, and its headquarters is in Solna. Previously, PostNord was Posten in Sweden and Posten A/S in Denmark.

In addition to the three Scandinavian countries, PostNord is one of the largest Swedish companies operating in Finland.

Top Swedish Companies

Securitas

Securitas is one of the most famous Swedish companies, and it operates within the security sector. It was founded in 1934 in Helsingborg, a city just across the water from Denmark in Skåne County.

Securitas offers multiple services, including on-site security and remote access management. The company operates in multiple markets, including the UK, Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland.

Securitas’ head office is located in Stockholm, though it also has offices in various parts of the US and other countries. The company has over 300,000 employees on its roster.

Oatly Group

Rounding up our list is Oatly, which puts in a good entry for being the quirkiest Swedish company to enter international markets. The company was founded in 1994 by Rickard and Björn Öste, and its headquarters are still in Malmö today.

As you might have guessed from the name, Oatly focuses on making oat-based food products; its most famous example is the oat milk that has taken the world by storm. The company focuses on injecting humour into its messaging, and its campaigns have been hugely successful in multiple countries.

Oatly was a bit of a slow burner, but it has enjoyed a significant rise to prominence over the 2010s and early 2020s. In fact, it was the US’ second-most popular oat milk brand in 2021.

In addition to Sweden and the US, Oatly has a strong presence in the UK and Denmark. It’s also popular in the Netherlands along with operating in Germany, Australia, and numerous different countries.

Celebrating the top Swedish companies

Sweden is a fertile breeding ground for entrepreneurs, and you’ll find plenty of innovative companies here.

Sweden’s infrastructure makes it an excellent place to start a business. Open-minded people, excellent public services, and a constant desire to do things better have all helped make the top Swedish companies some of the global leaders in their particular fields.

Despite expanding internationally, many of these companies have held dearly to their Swedish roots — as you can see in the way they approach work and their branding.

Swedish companies are an interesting mix of heavy industry, such as manufacturing and high-tech digital solutions that are shaking up the financial services sector… plus trendy clothes and everything in between.

The economy is varied and these businesses’ contributions are invaluable in terms of employment opportunities and maintaining Sweden’s position as a master in soft power and international trade to the rest of the world.

As we advance, Sweden’s commitment to sustainability — along with its tech-savviness — will undoubtedly result in more innovative brands making their way onto the market and stand the country in good stead.

Have you thought about maybe giving your own business ideas a shot and moving to the country?

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