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Expert panel: Taking the temperature on the Danish startup ecosystem

@Redaktionen

I anledning af TechBBQ 2023 har vi bedt tre markante stemmer fra det danske økosystem give deres bud på, hvordan det går på startupscenen i Danmark. Og hvad vi kan gøre bedre i fremtiden.

I anledning af TechBBQ 2023 har vi bedt tre markante stemmer fra det danske økosystem give deres bud på, hvordan det går på startupscenen i Danmark. Og hvad vi kan gøre bedre i fremtiden.

This post is also available in: Danish

Victor Riparbelli, founder and CEO of Synthesia

The Danish model is in many ways fantastic, especially in the early stages, but it falls short when it comes to scaling.

Victor Riparbelli, founder and CEO of Synthesia

How is the Danish startup ecosystem doing today?

More companies are being started, which is positive, but unfortunately, it’s hard to point to the big successes. Virtually all major Danish tech successes that do not operate with Denmark as their primary market have either been founded abroad or moved out in the scaling phase. It quickly becomes extremely difficult to compete for talent with Danish headquarters.

What would it take to make it (even) better?

Unfortunately, the framework conditions are still lacking. The Danish model is in many ways fantastic, especially in the early stages, but it falls flat when it comes to scaling. Besides the Danish lifestyle, there aren’t many incentives to start or stay in Denmark. Tax conditions and employee stock options are still problematic and the density of capital and talent is significantly less than London, Berlin or Paris.


Cecilie Brøkner, Director of the Danish Innovation Fund

When female entrepreneurs are still severely underrepresented in Denmark, it means we are missing out on innovation, growth and talent.

Cecilie Brøkner, Director of the Danish Innovation Fund

How is the Danish startup ecosystem doing today?

The Danish startup ecosystem has generally seen a positive development over the past 5-10 years. This is reflected in the Global Startup Ecosystem Report by Startup Genome from 2023, which for the first time ranks Copenhagen as number one among emerging ecosystems worldwide.

However, a challenge for the Danish startup ecosystem is the lack of diversity among founder teams. Diversity has a direct impact on the bottom line and creates better results when developing innovative solutions for the future. When female entrepreneurs are still severely underrepresented in Denmark, it means we are missing out on innovation, growth and talent.

What would it take to make it (even) better?

Denmark also has a low number of spinouts from universities compared to the countries we compare ourselves to. On average, university-based companies grow faster and create more jobs than other companies once the start-up period is over. This is a significant innovation potential that we need to be better at realising.


Anette Nørgaard, Director of relations, Wisma Dinero

We should focus on strengthening and investing in the ecosystem’s players to create greater cohesion and stability to develop and execute

Anette Nørgaard, Director of relations, Wisma Dinero

How is the Danish startup ecosystem doing today?

In Denmark, we have a strong startup ecosystem with a wealth of activities, programmes, places to meet and a network of people sharing knowledge, experience and contacts. BUT it is vulnerable and fragmented, and collaboration across the country is lacking. There are relatively few people investing in the startup ecosystem. There is competition for the same funds. 

What would it take to make it (even) better?

There is a lack of context and greater insight into the impact they have. We are not investing nearly enough to gain/maintain a prominent position in the future. We should focus on strengthening and investing in the ecosystem’s players to create greater cohesion and stability to develop and execute. We should establish a single point of entry for stakeholders to the actor layer, a community of actors and a fund to develop, secure and strengthen the ecosystem.

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