Startup Capital: The untold story of the Danish startup scene – The Post

Startup Capital: The untold story of the Danish startup scene

Where are the Hans Christian Andersens of the business world? (photo: istock)
June 17th, 2015 6:00 am| by Jasenko Hadzic
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All around the world we are seeing various lists naming Denmark as the number one country in the world. For example, the happiest country, the most innovative country, the best country to live in, and the list goes on.

These are all things we should take loads of pride in. They serve as a great reminder of our abilities and our energy, and they help companies attract talent from abroad. All of this is fine, but I cannot help but think that something is missing. Where’s the story of our entrepreneurial abilities? Does the world know of the amazing things coming out of our small country? Not really.

PR, PR and … PR
Denmark is one of Europe’s most liberal countries. People are very laid-back and – due to great infrastructure, high trustworthiness and transparency – it’s easy to start a company in Denmark. Not only that, we also have a great track record for amazing companies!

All the ingredients are there, but what is missing is the storytelling part of it. We have simply been too lazy in our efforts to share the story with the rest of the world, and that has consequences.

A two-fold impact
The consequences of a lacking PR effort are two-fold: internal and external. Internally, the effect is that Danish startups are losing the best and brightest talent to big corporations, politicians aren’t pushing additional framework to help foster entrepreneurship further, and big corporations aren’t active in the ecosystem, meaning that the economic growth potential is stalling.

Externally, the impact is that we lose the most ambitious international entrepreneurs, the hotshot investors and the best international talent to cities such as Berlin, London, Paris and Stockholm.

A great track record
Truth be told, a lot of great tech companies have come out of Denmark: Skype and Navision (both sold to Microsoft), Successfactors (sold to SAP), Just Eat (IPO’ed in London in 2014), Zendesk (IPO’ed in New York in 2014), Podio (sold to Citrix), Unity Technologies, and the list continues.


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Jasenko is a pianist, entrepreneur and community-builder. He has lived and worked in five countries and speaks eight languages. He is currently head of #CPHFTW, an organisation run by startups for startups, which aims to make Copenhagen the best startup city in the world. Find out more at cphftw.org.