Sweden is the perfect breeding ground for a direct-to-consumer unicorn

At a time when individuals crave personalization, digitization, and trust from the manufacturers they use, the direct-to-consumer (D2C) proposition comes into its own. And for Swedish know-how companies, these three characteristics are simply three of their most prized properties.

D2C’s rise to prominence over the past two years is no secret. With customers living almost entirely online during the pandemic, they were forced to establish new relationships with manufacturers who would guarantee service or product availability, a personalized offer at the back of all purchases and subscriptions, and an additional selection when it comes to deliveries and execution.

In this regard, D2C is now a very popular method for establishing friendly relationships with suppliers and customers. And relationships are shaped by belief – belief in what is being provided, belief that knowledge shared will likely be used for good, and belief that their loyalty will be rewarded.

This is where Sweden’s e-commerce offering has struck a chord, as an instinctively social-leaning nation with a strong emphasis on democratization, accessibility, equality, well-being and innovation. The result is a group of tech startups nationwide embracing the D2C model as an option to better engage with customers and meet their current needs.

Amidst this good mix of business development and ecosystem provision, there is every risk that Sweden will be responsible for a future D2C unicorn.

Merge the physical and the digital

Health and healthcare may not be the main sector to think about when considering an alternative to e-commerce, but it is in this house that Sweden has been able to flex its social muscle groups and its penchant for technology.

For Boxbollen, the offer first appears in the easy form of a ball on the end of a string that users log in before seeing how many times they will tap or kick the ball before it “drops”. It’s an idea that has captured the creativity of the Swedes, in addition to the UK and Germany, and a US takeover is now imminent.

“For us, our preliminary engines have been healthy and fun, creating some {hardware} that could be used by everyone in a fun way,” said co-founder Jacob Eriksson.

Jacob and his brother, Victor, both come from a sporting background, and the {equipment} alone has picked up steam in Sweden.

Victor recalled, “About 3,000 models were given away the first Christmas after the training. This figure rose to six,000 the following Christmas. And then, over the next 12 months, we gave away 40,000 models – a quantity that grew to 200,000 last Christmas.

The explanation for the sudden surge? Know how. As a D2C providing only the {hardware} element, this was a fun, fitness-based entity that would rival comparable hobbies on the market. However, the subsequent unveiling of a free Boxbollen app completely reworked the proposition, facilitating neighborhood, competitor, accessibility, monitoring and sharing features.

“It’s still just a ball on a string, but it’s the engagement buyers crave,” Jacob said. “We get suggestions on how the product helps pleasurable competitors and a way of life, in addition to physical and psychological well-being through its almost meditative movement.”

Proof of Boxbollen’s success in D2C comes from the company’s many Boxball Open competitions, which have attracted thousands of competitors in national, continental and international occasions. People of all ages, genders and backgrounds took half of it, proving that Boxbollen seized on this development at the right time, with the right product.

After all, not all e-commerce businesses are geared towards a primary mission of making people enjoyable. The idea of ​​a direct line between customer and supplier also holds enormous potential for more intimate or delicate businesses to deliver in a discrete and digitized way.

For Mojo, which is precisely what the company has set out to do with its home fertility kits for men. Once again, Founder and CEO Mohamed Taha has sought to enhance a must-have body product with a promise of superior craftsmanship to ensure the success of the overall resolution.

Taha said, “What we offer are home semen testing kits, which is totally new in an area of ​​healthcare that almost completely targets the female facet of fertility as part of the type of IVF .

“We did this for 2 causes. First, simply because there is a huge need for such a response to be made possible, given how underexplored the male side of the equation is. But second, we also knew that a D2C method on this would help ensure that more men could walk the curve and assess their fertility much earlier in the family planning process.

The body kits are supported by groups of fertility consultants housed in Mojo’s labs in Stockholm and London, where patient samples are analyzed and then digitally transmitted back to the person.

“Not only have healthcare institutions historically left male fertility out of the testing process, but there is also a critical subject of men feeling awkward or susceptible to testing,” Taha said. “Having the opportunity to liaise and work throughout your journey with a dedicated group of healthcare and technology professionals in a way that avoids awkward or frightening journeys to physician workplaces , could be very interesting for many men.

“We will increase levels of accuracy with the product we have developed, while delivering the personalized and responsive service that can only come from more direct and one-on-one customer interaction. In this regard, D2C was one of the best ways for us to address this very important medical issue. »

The next unicorn

Reaching unicorn status is on the way for companies like Mojo and Boxbollen, but there’s no shortage of evidence in Sweden that a mix of digital ingenuity, speed of development and social leaning can drive notoriety. international. Just look at the Klarnas, Skype and Spotify of this world to see what can happen when these stars align.

Taha and the Eriksson brothers have relied on the experience and enthusiasm that exist in Sweden’s tech ecosystems and investor communities to succeed where they are now. And there is every reason to believe that these platforms will experience additional success in the years to come via the sought-after D2C model.

For Boxbollen, advertising partnerships with international celebrities and sports stars are already a driving force. But internally, the main focus could be very tech-focused.

“We all know how important application was to providing traction, and 80% of our product improvement now goes towards that know-how,” says Jacob Eriksson. “It’s the app that unlocked the social and proximity features that people are now looking for from online makers, and that’s what’s going to help our business move forward sooner or later.”

For Mojo, technology and medical functionality is already at the forefront of the market, but it’s once again how the company communicates and reaches out to those who have driven its success.

Taha said, “It’s a mix of technology, entrepreneurship and social problem solving that fits so well into today’s world and actually fits Swedish fashion.

“If I were to start a business anywhere in the world, I would always do it in Sweden – the buyers are already there, the expertise from the universities is great and there is a constant effort to do things right first time.

“As a result, our D2C offering, with this feature set, does not stop at sperm. Sooner than a long time, our unique and proprietary artificial intelligence technology can also be used to analyze the health of organic materials of all types, enabling us to create the world’s first “bio financial institution” for human cells and information. about health.