Brian on business in the Bay

The Danish Minister of Economic and Business Affairs, Brian Mikkelsen, spent the day in Silicon Valley during his recent trip to the US. 

Brian Mikkelsen at Zendesk
Minister of Economic and Business Affairs Brian Mikkelsen meets with Silicon Valley based Danish Entrepreneurs at Zendesk

After visiting MIT, IBM, LEO Pharma, and DONG, in Boston, Brian Mikkelsen made his way down to Washington D.C. where he met with Local Motors and the University of Maryland, before flying over to the West Coast. After touching down in SFO, Mikkelsen set off inland again towards Sacramento to discuss energy politics, water and wind, with Governor Brown, (Acting) Director of Department of Water Resources William Croyle, and Californiens “Water Zar” (Chair of State Water Board), Felicia Marcus.

The following day stated bright and early at Danish founded but US Public company Zendesk. Here, Mikkelsen attended a round table discussion with Silicon Valley based Danish entrepreneurs including Vivino, Realm, Onelogin, and YooNoodle, to learn about what it’s like for a Danes who take their companies to the US.

The Minister began the discussion by talking about how Denmark is traditionally a nation of ‘employees’, and not ‘employers’, and how that needs to change by fostering a culture that encourages entrepreneurship. He referenced the fact that in Danish schools, children are still learning to sew using the same “sewing cards” that he himself used as a child, when perhaps they should in fact be learning to code. 

The discussions also touched on how visas can not only be an initial hindrance for Danes who want to come to the US to do business, but how once in the US, the strict visa laws make it difficult to allow for movement back and forth between the US and Denmark, often resulting in founders remaining in the US so as not to jeopardise, for example, Green Card applications.

After a productive discussion, Mikkelsen and his delegation made their way south towards Palo Alto.

First stop was with venture capitalists Innovation Endeavours, founded by Google’s Eric Schmidt. Mikkelsen met with Dror Berman, who originally hails fro Israel, and who was able to give some some insights into the success of the Israeli startup culture, which he partially credited to the skills gained during Israelis time spent in the military, and how it helped form strong teams who had already been working together for three years. He also talked about how Israel was heavily invested in cyber security and agriculture.

Next were some very impressive presentations from Innovation Endeavours backed companies including Color who do affordable genetic testing, who create a highly engineered food environment rather than engineering food, and Freenome who do incredibly cost effective early stage cancer detection.

Mikkelsen then moved on to meet with Silicon Valley Bank, where apart from talking about how a bank geared towards startups differs from a “regular” bank partially by how they think about credit and capital differently, they also discussed what will happen to car insurers when all cars are autonomous, and there are far less accidents, and what will be the next industry to get “Ubered”? 

Then it was onwards to startup incubator StartX, before a short visit to Stanford University, and a final stop at Essex Woodlands where a resounding quote from Churchill was brought up, that nicely encapsulated the learnings from the day;

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.


(Post by Emilia Flockhart)

Will you be Denmark’s first Tech Ambassador?

With tech companies grossing higher than some countries GDPs, the Danish Foreign ministry has decided that their influence warrants the appointment of an ambassador to work with them.

ICDK Team and UM
ICDK Team with UM Anders Samuelsen, on TechPlomacy visit in Silicon Valley

The new Tech Ambassador role is the first of its kind in the world, and part of the #TechPlomacy strategy which Anders Samuelsen discussed during his recent trip to Silicon Valley.

The role has been widely covered in the both the Danish national, and international press, including stories by Fortune, CNN, Foreign Policy, Washington Post, NPR, and TNW.

To learn more about the role, and to apply visit

The new faces of ICDK SV

As former colleagues have returned to Denmark, or ventured out further into the world, we’ve also welcomed new members to our team. Meet the current ICDK_SV.

ICDK SV anno 2017
ICDK SV anno 2017

At our recent company away-day we got together to discuss our plan for ICDK SV moving forward. And as we were for once (almost) all gathered at the same place at the same time, rather than out meeting with clients and contacts, we thought we would take the opportunity to snap a few pictures of the teams.

Management, Finance, Comms: Emilia, Søren, Thomas, Pernille (missing Søren Smedgaard).
Management, Finance, Comms: Emilia, Søren, Thomas, Pernille (missing Søren Smedegaard).
R&D: Jeppe, Clara, Bergliot
R&D: Jeppe, Clara, Bergliot
Invest in Denmark: Kristoffer, Nanna, Sebastian
Invest in Denmark: Kristoffer, Nanna, Sebastian
SCALEit: Nanna, Christian, Thomas, Jakob, Line
SCALEit: Nanna, Christian, Thomas, Jakob, Line
XPLOREit: Anders, Martin, Line, Malte, Ali, Silje
XPLOREit: Anders, Martin, Line, Malte, Ali, Silje
WTA: Pia, Jacob, Malene
WTA: Pia, Jacob, Malene

So, there we all are. Come on by and say hi, or get in touch to see how we can help you do business in the Bay!

Samuelsen scours Silicon Valley

On Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen’s first trip to the US, he flew right over the capital in Washington DC, and headed straight to Silicon Valley – the capital of tech.

Anders Samuelsen tries VR at Unity in San Francisco
Anders Samuelsen tries VR at Unity in San Francisco

#Techplomacy might just sound like a buzz word, but delve deeper and we can see that there is a lot more behind the idea of using diplomacy in the world of tech. Tech is not the future, it is here right now, and it is through tech that we will most likely end up solving not only the world’s diplomatic problems, but its problems full stop. However, with policies and politics often standing in the way of allowing technology to advance, applying diplomacy is vital.

This idea of a concept of “Techplomacy” was what resonated throughout Anders Samulelsen’s Silicon Valley visit. He began his day at IBM talking with Zvika Krieger from the State Department, before moving on to an immersive demonstration of how IBW Watson can be used for everything from analysing crowdsourced image data from the Boston bombings to help fight terrorism, to sifting through the newest oncological medical research data to provide the most advanced healthcare for patients, to getting personality insights based on a person’s tweets.

Samuelsen and his delegation then made their way to Unity to get hands on with VR, before sitting down with Danny Lange to discuss machine learning.

Samuelsen ended the day at the SCALEit Nordic Startup Pitch Night where he spoke to the crowd about how by combing the energy and vision from tech entrepreneurs, with the right politics and frameworks, we can create new jobs and a bright future together.

Read the excellent feature article in Politiken by Adam Hannestad, with photos by Emilia Flockhart at, and see more photos from Samuelsen’s trip at

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