The key to a thriving startup environment

Something is awesome in the state of Denmark…

The startup environment in Denmark and the Nordics overall is rapidly growing, and especially the tech industry is seeing a significant growth in the number of new established companies in the region. Some do even call it the next “Silicon Valley”.

Spotify, King, Mojang, CCP, Rovio, Skype, etc. are some examples of Nordic startups.

In fact, the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2017 ranked four of the Nordic countries within the Top 10 on how well a country is doing in terms of attracting new and best-in-class talent from around the world.

There are many suggested reasons for why this might be, but the truth is that it’s probably a mix of various factors and indicators. The basic web of public services that grab you in the case something might go wrong, and makes sure that an absolute minimum fall through — making people willing to be creative and take a risk.

The safe environment, low crime rate, and general innovative view on education and business that both encourage students and team members to be creative. Thinking out of the box should not only be accepted - it should be praised. The open, and globalized labor market. One of the leading markets in terms of infrastructure, internet connectivity, and low costs of mobile internet plans. The organizations helping startups getting started, incl. #CPHFTWVenture Cup DenmarkFounders HouseStartup VillageVækstfonden, etc.

Another, probably very relevant factor, is the fact that it is free to set up a proprietorship, and / or the new type called “entrepreneurship company”, which makes it easy to get started with no, or only limited, capital. Setup and registration is made easy through an online process, and you can be up and running in a matter of hours.

In 2016, a first time nationwide event was held, popularly called Techtember (tech in September) and Copenhagen Tech Fest — where companies celebrate the tech startup environment in Denmark, and the Southern part of Sweden with Malmö. Throughout the whole month of September various events were going on around the region to support startups, recruit new team members, and in general create awareness around the great ideas that are evolving from innate dreams.

Venture Cup is hosting an annual startup competition, startup booster and mentor programmes to help startups get their funding, and assistance to grow and fulfill its’ potential. We at Forecast came in 2nd at the Venture Cup 2009 competition, and thus assisted us in the early stage. Founders House provides a free workspace for special promising startups. A shared workspace to grow together, share knowledge and experiences. Most universities and academies have similar startup environments, where students can get a table, and grow their business in a motivating environment.

Startup companies with great growth potential do also need somebody to believe in the business idea as well — that’s where venture capital funds come into play. Venture Capitals are important in order for a company to reach its real potential. The largest with a unique focus on technology, and medtech companies in Denmark is SEED Capital. In fact, SEED Capital was quick to see the potential in startups like Endomondo, Trustpilot and Vivino, which are now well-known apps and services on a global scale.

Recently, Forecast was discovered by SEED Capital as well, and is now their newest investment to-date. Read more about the investment from SEED Capital here.

Startups do not grow out of nowhere. They have to be discovered, mentored and often need the fundamental funding to hopefully establish a good solid foundation for future growth. Out of all the potential reasons for a solid growing startup environment, it’s probably the right network of organizations and infrastructure that keeps it all rolling. Collaboration is key.

Examples of successful tech startups from Denmark alone:

Endomondo is one of the leading fitness tracking apps for smartphones on a global scale. It uses GPS, and other built-in sensors to track your activities when you activate it. Thus, it serves as your personal fitness guide right in your pocket.

Momondo is one of the leading flight + hotel discovery apps. It matches your location, destination, date, preferences, etc. with the best flight and hotel offers available. Thus, you can customize your trip according to your desire; luxury or discount travel.

Trustpilot is one of the leading sources of customer reviews on businesses. New potential customers are able to see previous customers’ experiences, pros / cons, and score. The company itself is able to reply directly to each review to say thanks, or maybe to come up with a solution. The service automatically accumulates all the reviews, and shows a total score that is easier to grasp for overview purposes.

Unity is a widely used game engine for computer games. It works cross-platform, and serves as the engine behind a growing number of the games we see on the market today.

Zendesk is one of the leading services to control, and handle customer support tickets. It is widely used across the world.

Iconfinder is an icon-finder service. Obviously. It makes it easier for product developers, and designers to find the exact icon they’re looking for. It provides a platform with millions of icon packages from various artists.

Just-eat is a major platform for fast-food ordering operating in various countries.

Skype has long been the prefered service for online video calls / conferencing, and has been the synonym for exactly that.

Falcon.io is a globally recognized marketing platform that gathers data from various social media channels, analyzes it, and makes it easier to create brand awareness and track customer experience.

Vivino is an app for wine-aficionados. It is a platform for reviews, price comparison, and wine discovery.

Realm is a free and open-source platform and database for mobile apps. It makes it easier for developers of all levels to include some more advanced features into their software.