Södra partners with Happie Nation to devop close–to–nature tourism
On 15 June, major forestry cooperative Södra signed up to invest SEK 3 million (about EUR 280,000), in an issuance of new shares amounting to a total of SEK 6 million, thereby joining Happie Nation as a partner. As a result, Happie Nation can now develop its Happie Camp brand, offering close–to–nature accommodation at hidden sites in the wilderness.
Happie Nation is a member of the world-leading bioeconomy cluster Paper Province. Recently, they revealed that Södra’s venture capital branch Södra Ädla will become a partner of the growing business. The investment is an opportunity for the Happie Camp brand to add even more value from forests.
“With Happie Camp, we want to help forest owners make use of scenic locations in order to generate new revenue from nature’s social values as a complement to traditional forestry,” says Staffan Svantesson, CEO and founder of Happie Nation.
“With this investment, we’ll attract new innovation power to forest estates, creating more business opportunities for Södra’s 52,000 members,” says Södra Ädla’s Investment Manager Erik Bengtson.
Södra’s new venture capital business, Södra Ädla, was launched in May. The subsidiary will invest SEK 200M in innovative companies with a business concept that directly supports the development and profitability of forest estates, and promotes a more multifaceted approach to family forestry.
The first company has now been found.
Expansion of Happie Camp around the corner
Happie Nation’s Happie Camp concept is based on leasing unused forest land from forest owners to establish mini-accommodations which are then being sublet to tourists who prefer the natural setting.
Started in 2019, Happie Camp today has a well-developed online platform, where customers can easily book lodging in forests and other natural locations, as well as additional services. The new funding will support the company’s further commercialization, where the next step is establishing in southern Sweden – in dialogue with Södra’s members of forest owners.
“Having Södra Ädla as a partner gives us access to solid knowledge and experience of forestry, in combination with a genuine network of passionate forest owners. Together, we create the best preconditions for healthy business as well as a rapid and efficient scaling up of Happie Camp,” says Staffan.
Eco-tourism strengthens family forestry
The investment gives Södra’s members the opportunity to not only increase the value of their scenic forest sites, but also to supplement their forest estates with eco-tourism.
“This investment allows us to follow through on our plans for two years, while also raising more money in parallel, without any stress. Now we’ll focus on the scale-up plan, start franchise business and develop our digital platform. “We couldn’t have had better conditions than we have now,” says Staffan Svantesson, and sums up:
“It’s time for people to get out into the woods, and forest owners will get paid!”