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Cycle Your Way Into Copenhagen’s Startup Network!

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Copenhagen is home of the #CPHFTW startup community which is strong in tech, gaming, design, social entrepreneurship and high-tech startups. Learn how to launch and found in this amazing city.

Welcome to Copenhagen. The city of Carlsberg, bikes, The Little Mermaid and #CPHFTW startup community. Despite legacy of building several huge tech companies in the past, like Momondo, GoViral or GIGA, Copenhagen startup ecosystem has emerged relatively late.

It was initiated around 2010 when Alex Farcet, the founder of Startupbootcamp, organized first Copenhagen Startup Weekend. Ever since the term startup has been receiving more and more media attention and number of startup events, entrepreneurial groups and incubators & accelerator programs has been growing exponentially. At the same time quantity and quality of Copenhagen based startups, entrepreneurs, investors and initiatives has become overwhelming and impossible to keep track of.

Therefore in December 2013 the leaders of Copenhagen startup community sat together and established #CPHFTW, Copenhagen for the win, umbrella organization which unites, supports and promotes the local startup ecosystem.

Despite high taxes and small size of national market, Copenhagen startup scene is blooming and Danish entrepreneurs have more and more international growth ambitions, like Tradeshift or Endomondo. Copenhagen is very strong in tech, gaming, design, social entrepreneurship and high-tech startup scenes. Also, it is very ambitious in making a global stand, attracting top talent and disrupting well-established industries. And I believe that it is on its way to succeed.

Why Start Your Company In Copenhagen?

For several reasons, this is not an obvious choice:

  • Salaries and living expenses are high.
  • Investment pool is limited.
  • Taxes are not entrepreneurs friendly.
  • Denmark’s population is only 5.7 mln people, which is small market and small industry representation.
  • Danish language does seem to be scary in the beginning (for some it continues).

However, there are several unique factors in Copenhagen which make people come and succesfully build and grow their businesses:

  • Denmark is famous for its design, high quality and relaxed style.
  • It is one of Scandinavian countries with good access to Germany and Poland.
  • Entrepreneurship is high on the country’s agenda. It receives a lot of attention and many initiatives are available for entrepreneurs.
  • There are 5 huge universities represented in Copenhagen, Danish Technical University of Denmark, Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen University, IT University and Aalborg University. All strongly support entrepreneurship and are sources of talent, ideas and resources for new startups.
  • Danish entrepreneurs love travel, are good at informal networking and trust people.
  • Last but not least – Copenhagen is repeatedly one of the best places to live in the world.

Copenhagen is a very unique place and it fits perfectly entrepreneurial vibe. If all of it happened in only 5 years, by 2020 Silicon Valley travellers will be coming to Copenhagen to start their businesses.

The Uniqe Startup Environment Of Copenhagen

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Copenhagen is a city of Friday bars, summer parties, Christmas lunches and spectacular launch events. Most communities constantly invite new members and majority of events are open to everyone who signs up. One might get an impression that Danes like arranging parties more than attending them, since every week there are between 10-40 networking or pitching events and when they overlap, the organizers compete between each other for attendees. So, if you want to get connected to Danish startup ecosystem, you are more than welcome.

  • Most comprehensive info about upcoming events can be found on the following pages:
  •  Global event calendar Startup Digest works really well for Copenhagen
  • #CPHFTW calendar works even better when you sign up for their newsletter
  • Øresund startups promotes collaboration in Copenhagen and Malmö region

Regular Events & Meet-ups:

  • Copenhagen Startup Weekends run 2-3 times a year and are great occasions to meet future teams or get inputs to your ideas. There are also themed Startup Weekends, like health, media or finance, as well as general events for all ideas.
  • CSE is the biggest Danish student incubator and hosts tens of events through semester which are open to public, but require signing up, such as Friday Bars, Go Grow Bars, Investor Pitches and Demo Days.
  • Accelerace runs its accelerator program 2 a year and ends it with Demo Day
  • Copenhagen Startup Grind takes place with different frequency, but usually attracts many startup enthusiasts
  • Town Hall meeting is probably the biggest entrepreneurial meetup for Copenhagen taking place 2-3 times a year. Last meetup attracted over 1000 startup people.
  • Stardust DTU Demo Day occurs twice a year and attracts enthusiast of harwdware and science based startups.
  • Pagnefredag – bubbles & networking occurs every couple of weeks and is combined with different events in KPH Project House
  • Event for game developers, talks and networking.

Yearly Or Major Events, Festivals, Conferences:

  • Danish conference which presents current hottest startups, new initiatives, trends, side events, such as Nordic Startup Awards, and ends with BBQ and beer networking bar.
  • Competition for creative products and services.
  • Global Entrepreneurship Week is hugely celebrated in Denmark with 10-30 events each day in most majot cities in Denmark, mostly Copenhagen.
  • Final of a university business plan competition open for public, January edition is for ideas and June edition is for startups. It always attracts broad range of representatives of startup ecosystem and is famous for holding best after parties.
  • Annual Vækstfonden meeting is always very high quality event and attracts people inolved in startups, investors, existing businesses and support system.
  • Danish Entrepreneurship Award are director to youngest entrepreneurs
  • Iværk & Vækst is an annual exibition for startup and growth companies and ecosystem around the,
  • Startupbootcamp Mobile accelerator program runs once  year and ends with Demo Day where everyone can meet the upcoming startup stars and mentors, investors and supporters.
  • Nordic Startup Awards: An award ceremony held once a year in Copenhagen for Danish level and sometimes the Grand Finale for all Nordic countries.
  • Startup Borgen: A weekend program and competition for social entreprenurs held in Danish Parliment usually gets a lot of political attention.
  • Entrepreneur of the Year is an Award Gala for the best Danish entrepreneurs
  • Business connect: Focused on data and security startups, businesses and corporations. Very formal but inspiring event.

Choose An Inspiring Space To Get Started In Copenhagen

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Copenhagen offers many co-working spaces and incubators for different types of projects and at different phases. Starting from hackers and creative communities and ending up with established organizations within tech or science, there are relevant offices for everyone.

Co-working Spaces In Copenhagen:

  • Founder’s House: Placed in the old factory adopted into a stunning co-working space, Founders House was first this scale incubator in Copenhagen. It is invite only space, but if you join one of their spectacular and frequent events, you might let them get to know you and offer you a spot.
  • Ranmaiking Loft Copenhagen is a new office accomodated by Startupbootcamp Copenhagen and available for other entrepreneurs. Great view, low prices and fantastic atmosphere.
  • Scion DTU: High tech and science park.
  • KPH: Social entrepreneurship center of Copenhagen. Street style complex in industrial area with cheap or free office spaces for startups with relevant projects.
  • CSE-CBS: The biggest Danish university incubator for students from CBS, but also from other Danish universities. Arranges frequent events, offers mentorships and keeps on expanding.
  • Soho: Huge startup office space in a very fashionable meat packing district area of Copenhagen.
  • Labitat: Hacker space.
  • Cobis: Space for life science startups.
  • Republikken: Co-working space for design startups.
  • Dare2Mansion: Relatively new co-working, incubation and event place.
  • Rocket Labs: Co-working space for digital startups.
  • Sky Lab: Startup spot at Technical University of Denmark. It hosts startups, events, courses and gives access to prototyping facilities.
  • Symbion: Offices for startups, hosts Accelerace and Cleantech bubble programs
  • Liftoff: Co-working space for creative businesses
  • Prototype: Hackers and designers space
  • La Oficina: Office space for startups
  • PB43: Hackers and co-working space
  • Spilhuset: Co-working space for gamers
  • Growbizz: Office space for startups
  • Nest Copenhagen: Co-living space for entrepreneurs

And new spaces keep on emerging on daily basis.

Tank Your Finances In Copenhagen

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Incubators:

  • Seed Capital, located at Lyngby, invest in tech, biotech, medtech and hardware
  • Capnova, located at Roskilde, located at Lyngby, invest in tech, biotech, medtech and hardware
  • Syddansk Teknologisk Innovation, located in Odense, located at Lyngby, invest in tech, biotech, medtech and hardware

Accelerators:

Grants & Subventions:

Crowd Investing Platforms:

Angel Investors:

  • DVCA: Danish Venture Capital and Private Equity Association
  • BA Copenhagen: Business angels Copenhagen

Venture Capital Investors:

Other Investment Opportunities:

Look For Additional Advice In Copenhagen

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If despite all the information given above you still feel like speaking to somebody who would help you use your time and effort optimally, I would recommend:

  • Keystones: Private organization which helps Danish startups with management, funding and competences in a company.
  • Visit any of the incubator and accelerator spaces above, people there are very open and friendly and will be happy to help
  • Students of DTU, CBS and KU can use university resources in form of students innovation offices: Skylab, CSE CBS and Katapult respectively. As an external you can also ask for posting your project to students through these organizations or participate in their networking events.

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Last updated: July 31st, 2016

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