By Suzy Bibko, EMEA Content Marketing Manager, Merrill Corporation
Sweden is known as one of the most innovative countries in the world. Why is this so, and does it extend beyond the sexy start-ups to traditional M&A?
Sweden has become known as a technology powerhouse, producing some of the most well-known names in the sector: Spotify, Ericsson and iZettle to name a few. The country has almost as many tech start-ups as Silicon Valley, and it is now the place to be if you want to be the next Facebook. After all, that was where Facebook first chose to test its ‘Like’ button.
You could chalk this up to an environment that fosters entrepreneurship. Indeed, the country offers a safety net for start-ups that does not exist in the UK and US, for instance. The high taxes, one of the most generous welfare programs in the world and high wealth equality could be viewed as obstacles to innovation; instead, Sweden is seen as a low-risk place to start a business due to the social programs in place in case of failure.
But it is not just the supportive entrepreneurial environment that makes it such an innovative country. It is also the attitude towards tech: Sweden is one of the best performing countries in world on the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), which provides an overall assessment of where countries stand against each other in its progress towards a digital society and economy. Sweden ranks third (2017) among all EU countries (1: Denmark; 2: Finland) and ranks second for use of the internet by citizens, and fourth for integration of digital technology in business.
Doing Deals Using Technology
But what about integrating technology into M&A? Do Swedish practitioners actually ‘walk the walk’ and embrace technology when doing deals? It appears so. According to Bengt Jonsson, co-founder of M&A advisors IMAP, Sweden leads the way: “Compared to others in our network, Sweden is steps ahead in the technology area.” Jessica Malhotra, an associate at law firm Cederquist, agrees: “It is very important for firms to focus on the technology and be ahead of the process to stay competitive in the Swedish market.”
So, what types of technology are being used? “We really like the Q&A function of DatasiteOne,” says Malhotra. “It’s easy to answer questions and upload questions or answers in just one second. We also appreciate the redaction function, where you can block out what you don’t want to share in phase one of the process. That’s a big improvement for dealmakers.” And going forward? Malhotra says she’d like to see more AI-based redaction functionality, so it would be easier to be GDPR-compliant in M&A transactions.
That functionality is now available to practitioners. DatasiteOne's automated redaction tool allows you to search and see redaction suggestions for words, phrases and images; redact across all documents and file types, including flattened PDFs; and unredact in seconds, across an entire project, once legal approves. It saves practitioners time and helps to minimize mistakes and improve compliance.
Moreover, GDPR now requires a written record of processing, data protection impact assessments, record-keeping regarding breaches, and, under certain conditions, the appointment of a data protection officer (DPO). Therefore, AI-powered tools and analytics can be extremely helpful in ensuring compliance during this stage of the due diligence process.