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Before becoming the industry giants they are today, Novo Nordisk, Lego and Mærsk also started out as small upstarts. Even though their white collars and multi billion dollars revenues are far from the startup life, established corporations play an increasingly important and active role in the Danish startup ecosystem.

As large, established companies with significant resources and market share, corporates can provide a range of benefits to startups. While some establish startup-specific offerings – e.g. their products and services at a reduced price – others engage more deeply including access to funding, expertise, office space, and networks.

Strategic funding from a potential client

Many corporates use innovation programs, accelerators and special in-house startup units to initiate their engagement with startups and the ecosystem. These programs are designed to bring startups in contact with corporates and provide them with resources and support to help them develop their businesses. Through these programs, startups may be able to access mentorship, training, and resources to help them grow and scale their businesses.

Corporates looking to get more deeply involved in the ecosystem often do so through corporate venture capital (CVC) funds. These funds are established by corporates to invest in startups that are working on innovative technologies or business models that are relevant to the corporate’s strategic goals. By investing in startups, corporates can gain access to new technologies and business models that can help them stay competitive in their markets. In return, the startups gain access to resources they could only dream of otherwise. In addition to providing funding, corporates can also provide startups with access to their expertise and networks. Corporates often have significant experience and knowledge in their industries, which can be invaluable to startups that are looking to navigate complex markets. Additionally, corporates may be able to provide startups with access to their networks of customers, suppliers, and partners, which can help startups to scale and grow internationally more quickly.

Finally, corporates can play a role in the startup ecosystem by acquiring startups. By acquiring startups that are working on innovative technologies or business models, corporates gain access to new markets and technologies that can help them stay competitive. For startups, acquisition provide a valuable exit opportunity and can provide the funding and resources necessary for continued growth.

The article is part of the magazine “The Guide – A comprehensive overview of the Danish startup ecosystem”, published by Heyfunding and

Read the full magazine here: