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Tech Scene in Stockholm

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In recent years, Sweden has emerged as one of the most advanced countries in the world with Stockholm, it’s capital, gaining the reputation of Europe’s “unicorn factory”. Stockholm is home to more $1 billion-plus companies per capita than anywhere outside of Silicon Valley with King, Mojang, Spotify, Klarna and iZettle just to name a few. Spotify is one of the latest unicorns to emerge from Stockholm with the musical giant recently announcing it hit the 100 million paying subscribers mark.

Once only known for Ericsson, IKEA and Volvo, Stockholm has transformed its economy and market and is now being dubbed the ‘Entrepreneurial Capital of Europe’. A frenzy of successful acquisitions and IPOs in Stockholm has triggered a virtuous circle with success only breeding more success.

How Has It Grown So Successfully?

Sweden’s tech scene success can be attributed to a variety of factors. Swedes have always been early adopters of tech with the Swedish government actively encouraging this. Swedes were offered a tax break on personal computers way back in the nineties. Stockholm was home to the world’s largest open-fibre network in 1994 and was the first city in the world to launch 2G, 3G, 4G and now 5G.

Stockholm boasts an incredibly supportive start-up ecosystem with vital access to co-working spaces, start-up hubs, events, innovation grants and a growing number of angel investors and venture capital firms. Sweden’s strong social security system offers a safety net to entrepreneurs looking to be creative and take risks. Furthermore, successful Swedish entrepreneurs are always looking to offer support to start-ups. Notable names include Erik Byrenius, Henrik Torstensson and Jane Walerud. These business angels encapsulate the innovative and sharing culture of this Nordic city. Despite its meagre population of less than one million, Stockholm boasts one of the highest concentrations of tech professionals in Europe. Programmer or software developer is the most common job title in Stockholm with approximately 18% of the workforce in high-tech related jobs.

Start-up Hubs

As previously mentioned, Stockholm plays host to an incredibly supportive start-up ecosystem with start-up hubs dotted all around the city. Here are five of the most prominent hubs;

The Factory: Largest innovation and tech hub in the Nordics that hosts 1400+ people, 100+ start-ups and scale-ups, VCs, a tech school, labs and innovation centres.

SUP46: Epicentre of Stockholm’s start-up community with over 2000m2 of space.

Things: 2,000m2 co-working space for hardware start-ups – IoT, robotics, etc.

Epicentar: Epicentar offers hackathons, ideathons and offers flexible workplaces, studios, meeting rooms as well as world-class workshops and international lectures all year long.

Norrsken House: Norrsken House is Europe’s biggest tech hub dedicated to social impact and houses people with the vision to change the world.

Venture Capital Firms

Venture capital firms are highly active in Stockholm. €1.25 billion was invested in tech companies in 2016 with over €4 billion being invested since 2012. Almi, Zenith, Wellstreet Ventures, Standout Capital, Creandum, EQT Ventures, Industrifoden, NFT Ventures are just some of the plethora of VC firms operating in Stockholm.

Stockholm is renowned for its impressive exits. Not only was €1.25 billion invested into start-ups in the city, the exit value in the same year was €1.75 billion. Colossal exits and IPOs are not uncommon in the Swedish capital. King, the gaming start-up was acquired by Activision Blizzard for €5.5 billion in 2015. iZettle was acquired by fin-tech giant PayPal for €2 billion in 2018 and Spotify’s IPO finished around the €25 billion mark.

Stockholm’s start-up and tech scene is flourishing with all indications showing no sign of the growth slowing. The future is bright for this northerly city, despite the 20 hours of darkness in winter!

 

Posted by Adam Dunne on 30 May 2019

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PHP Workforce Overview

PHP Workforce Overview

What is PHP? PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely preferred server-side programming language. While it is an open-source as well as a platform-independent programming language, it is also simple to use, and easy to understand and learn. From version 1 in ’95, v2 in ’97, v3 in ’98 and v4 in 2000, PHP saw a steady growth in popularity. With v5 in 2004, the community adopted this server-side language to the point that by 2015, around 80% of the websites across the world, were using PHP to some extent. Of these, 0.1% run in PHP v3, 0.7% in v4, 76% are still running in v5.6 and v7 has around 22.8% of the total. The growth of the PHP language as a technology has been impressive and for the last 24 years it’s still one of the most popular languages used by brands like Yahoo, Facebook, Wikipedia, Flickr, WordPress, Friendster, Digg, Source Forge, iStockPhoto, and MailChimp. PHP Workforce Across LinkedIn, there are currently around 3.2 million developers and programmers with various programming skills worldwide. Of these, around 644.000 have PHP as a skillset. Critics often argue that PHP is a dying language, yet 20.1% of developers worldwide have it in their tech stack. PHP is used by developers across the globe; India 16.3%, United States 14.7%, United Kingdom 4.8%, Canada 4.2%, Indonesia 2.5%, Ukraine 2.5%, Italy 2.4%, Spain 2.3%, Pakistan 2.2% and Netherlands 2%. According to LinkedIn, around 2.1% of PHP developers have 1 year of experience in the IT Sector. 12% have 3-5 yoe (years of experience), 22.4% have 3-5yoe, 29% have 6-10yoe and 22% have over 10yoe. It is very hard to verify whether these developers still actively use PHP. Many may have shifted towards other techs and may not even use PHP. Nevertheless, these figures do enable one to get a grasp of the sheer number of PHP developers across the globe. In Europe, there are around 341,000 IT professionals with PHP on their profile with a wide variety of job titles (DevOps, Testers, Designers, Lead, Scrum Masters, Project Managers, Managing roles, etc). 183,245 of this subset are Developers or Programmers and are spread across the EU; UK 17.4%, Spain 8.2%, Italy 8%, France 7.8%, Netherlands 7%, Ukraine 6.9%, Germany 6.8%, Poland 5.7%, Romania 3.6% and Sweden 3.3%. Top Frameworks Used From this total of 341,000 IT professionals, around 35,700 use Symfony 10.4% (of which 20,800 are still devs or programmers). France appears to be the epicentre of Symphony playing host to 16% of all Symphony users. Paris alone encompasses 6.6% of the entire subset. Second on the list is Poland hovering around the 10% mark with Spain coming close behind at 9.9%. The UK (8.9%), Ukraine (8.6%), Germany (7.1%), The Netherlands (5.8%), Italy (4.3%) and Romania (3.9%) are home to the majority of European Symphony users outside of France and Spain. The lavarel framework, which is based on Symphony, is used by approximately 40,900 or 12% of European PHP professionals. The highest concentration of lavarel users is in the UK (14%) with Ukraine coming in second at 11%. The Netherlands is home to 8.4% of lavarel users, Spain has 6.4%, Poland has 5%, Italy has 4.9%, Germany has 4.7%, Romania has 4.6%, France has 4.1% with Serbia finishing the list with 3.1%. Zend also has a big share of PHP professionals with 24,445 of 7.1% of PHP professionals opting to use the framework. Magento is / was used by 19,664 people, CodeIgniter 18,209, Yii 10,700, CakePHP 7,922, Slim 2,247, Phalcon 1,972, Lumen 1,358 and FuelPHP 743. The numbers are clear evidence that contrary to what many critics argue, PHP is not a dying language and in fact still plays a large role within the IT industry.

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Tech Scene in Stockholm

Tech Scene in Stockholm

In recent years, Sweden has emerged as one of the most advanced countries in the world with Stockholm, it’s capital, gaining the reputation of Europe’s “unicorn factory”. Stockholm is home to more $1 billion-plus companies per capita than anywhere outside of Silicon Valley with King, Mojang, Spotify, Klarna and iZettle just to name a few. Spotify is one of the latest unicorns to emerge from Stockholm with the musical giant recently announcing it hit the 100 million paying subscribers mark. Once only known for Ericsson, IKEA and Volvo, Stockholm has transformed its economy and market and is now being dubbed the ‘Entrepreneurial Capital of Europe’. A frenzy of successful acquisitions and IPOs in Stockholm has triggered a virtuous circle with success only breeding more success. How Has It Grown So Successfully? Sweden’s tech scene success can be attributed to a variety of factors. Swedes have always been early adopters of tech with the Swedish government actively encouraging this. Swedes were offered a tax break on personal computers way back in the nineties. Stockholm was home to the world’s largest open-fibre network in 1994 and was the first city in the world to launch 2G, 3G, 4G and now 5G. Stockholm boasts an incredibly supportive start-up ecosystem with vital access to co-working spaces, start-up hubs, events, innovation grants and a growing number of angel investors and venture capital firms. Sweden’s strong social security system offers a safety net to entrepreneurs looking to be creative and take risks. Furthermore, successful Swedish entrepreneurs are always looking to offer support to start-ups. Notable names include Erik Byrenius, Henrik Torstensson and Jane Walerud. These business angels encapsulate the innovative and sharing culture of this Nordic city. Despite its meagre population of less than one million, Stockholm boasts one of the highest concentrations of tech professionals in Europe. Programmer or software developer is the most common job title in Stockholm with approximately 18% of the workforce in high-tech related jobs. Start-up Hubs As previously mentioned, Stockholm plays host to an incredibly supportive start-up ecosystem with start-up hubs dotted all around the city. Here are five of the most prominent hubs; The Factory: Largest innovation and tech hub in the Nordics that hosts 1400+ people, 100+ start-ups and scale-ups, VCs, a tech school, labs and innovation centres. SUP46: Epicentre of Stockholm’s start-up community with over 2000m2 of space. Things: 2,000m2 co-working space for hardware start-ups – IoT, robotics, etc. Epicentar: Epicentar offers hackathons, ideathons and offers flexible workplaces, studios, meeting rooms as well as world-class workshops and international lectures all year long. Norrsken House: Norrsken House is Europe’s biggest tech hub dedicated to social impact and houses people with the vision to change the world. Venture Capital Firms Venture capital firms are highly active in Stockholm. €1.25 billion was invested in tech companies in 2016 with over €4 billion being invested since 2012. Almi, Zenith, Wellstreet Ventures, Standout Capital, Creandum, EQT Ventures, Industrifoden, NFT Ventures are just some of the plethora of VC firms operating in Stockholm. Stockholm is renowned for its impressive exits. Not only was €1.25 billion invested into start-ups in the city, the exit value in the same year was €1.75 billion. Colossal exits and IPOs are not uncommon in the Swedish capital. King, the gaming start-up was acquired by Activision Blizzard for €5.5 billion in 2015. iZettle was acquired by fin-tech giant PayPal for €2 billion in 2018 and Spotify’s IPO finished around the €25 billion mark. Stockholm’s start-up and tech scene is flourishing with all indications showing no sign of the growth slowing. The future is bright for this northerly city, despite the 20 hours of darkness in winter!

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Tax System in Germany

Tax System in Germany

Tax System in Germany Understanding the tax system is vital when moving to a new country. Below is an account of Germany’s income tax system accurate as of 2019. This account was taken straight from our “Berlin Relocation Guide” which can be downloaded here: https://www.sigmarrecruitment.eu/relocating-to-germany/berlin If you are a resident of Germany, you have full income tax liability. All income earned in Germany and abroad is subject to German income tax and a solidarity surcharge. Germany’s income tax system is progressive, meaning that the rate of tax increases as income increases ranging from 0–45%. For married couples, rates are more favorable when tax is filed jointly. The tax year runs from January 1st to December 31st. If you do have to file your own taxes, the cutoff date is May 31st for the preceding year. The rates for 2019 are; 0 – 9,169 0% 9,169 - 14,255 14-24% 14-256 - 55,960 24-42% 55,691 – 265,236 42% 265,327+ 45% Solidarity Surcharge The solidarity surcharge (Solidaritaetszuschlag) is an additional fee on income tax, capital gains tax and corporate tax in Germany. This means that the solidarity surcharge is to be paid by every natural and legal person that owes one of the above-mentioned taxes in Germany. This surcharge is levied at 5.5% of the income tax for higher incomes. Withholding/Pay as you Earn Tax Income from employed work and capital income are taxed at the source, meaning you as a tax payer will not need to file your own taxes come year end. The tax owed will be deducted and retained at the source by the employer or by the bank before the earnings are payed out. If the employer is a German company or a foreign enterprise with a permanent establishment or a representative in Germany, the employer is legally obliged to withhold taxes from an employee’s salary and to remit the taxes to the tax office monthly. Paying Income Tax When you are taxed at the source, your tax will be based on your personal status. You will fall into a certain class that will directly affect how much tax you pay. Below are the six types of tax classes: Class 1: Single Class 2: Single parent (living alone with the child/children) Class 3: Married and spouse (when spouse does not have an income) Class 4: Married and similar income to spouse Class 5: Opposite of class 3, i.e this is the class the second earner chooses if the spouse opts for class 3 Class 6: For a second job or for deduction without proper employee information The taxation at source for capital income will be done with a flat tax rate of 25% (add solidarity surcharge of 5.5% of the amount of tax).

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Venture Capital in Berlin

Venture Capital in Berlin

Venture Capital (VC) is the key to success for any start-up looking to turn an innovative idea into reality. VC firms provide capital, resources, strategic assistance, networks and much more to start-ups at the critical early stages. In the past, Berlin and Germany as a nation has lagged behind its EU and global counterparts partly as a result of the nation’s culture of avoiding risk. Business in Germany tends to move slowly and in a prudent fashion which doesn’t bode well for start-ups. In 2013, VC investments into Berlin start-ups totaled just €133 million. A snapshot of VC funding in 2018 paints a very different picture. VC funding has skyrocketed in the last few years with future projections conveying a similar trajectory. In 2018, a total of €4.6 billion was invested in German start-ups, a 7% increase on 2017. Berlin took a significant share of this VC funding with an incredible €2.67 billion flowing to start-ups in the capital, a 2000% increase on 2013. This figure accounts for 59% of all VC capital invested in Germany and is an increase of 6% from 2017. Berlin start-ups account for 4 out the top 5 largest financing amounts for start-ups in the nation. Where Was the Venture Capital Invested in Berlin? E-Commerce start-ups have always attracted the highest level of VC investments in Berlin and 2018 followed this trend. A total of €1.64 billion was invested in German E-Commerce start-ups with Berlin start-ups collecting a healthy 67% of this figure. E-Commerce platform Auto1 Group headquartered in Berlin topped the list receiving an influx of €460 million in 2018. An interesting emerging trend is the rise of VC funding for Software and Analytic start-ups. These innovative start-ups that comprise of innovative tech such as SaaS, blockchain, virtual reality, cloud, cyber security and data analytics raised a nationwide total of €670 million with €341 million funneling into Berlin. This 56% increase from 2017 portrays the increasing trust and interest in new, innovative tech start-ups. SaaS accounted for €304 million, almost half of the VC funding. FinTech start-ups also experienced healthy growth with €456 million flowing to FinTech start-ups in Berlin. What Caused this Significant Increase in Venture Capital Funding? German VC firms operate on a prudent basis which is in line with German business culture. In the last few years, many large international VC firms such as Atomico, Balderton Capital, Partech and Mangrove have begun to heavily invest in German start-ups with Berlin attracting most of the attention and funding. This flow of international VC funding has broken the cultural barrier of risk-adverse German VC firms. Furthermore, German VC firms have seen this influx of competition and the rewards experienced by international VC firms causing them to question their prudent methods. The future is bright for start-ups in Berlin as forecasts predict the influx of VC capital to continue to rise year on year.