Scaling it at Danish doorsteps!

Coming up: SCALEit Inspire events in Aalborg, Aarhus and Copenhagen

The SCALEit team is ready to hit the Danish roads to bring Silicon Valley to the doorstep of entrepreneurs around Denmark. We want to inspire you on how to take advantage of the Valley’s unique ecosystem and use it to grow your startup. If you are working on a technologically driven scalable idea, have some early traction and passionate about taking it big, we are the perfect fit for you.

If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, you should consider coming by as well. We’ll offer concrete and actionable insights on how you can take your company or idea to the next level.

Meet us in Denmark?SCALEit

Aalborg: 28th of August, from 13:00 – 17:00

Aarhus: 7th of September, from 17:00 – 19:00

Copenhagen: 9th of September, from 17:00 – 19:00

Three foolproof strategies to make your startup fail

Three foolproof strategies to make your startup fail
Why would you ever want to use those strategies? Hopefully you won’t, but you might be in danger of doing just that without even knowing it. “How to make your startup fail” was the key topic when Paul Ahlstrom, founder of Alta Ventures Mexico, made his phenomenal speak on the last day of Startup Grind 2015 in Redwood City.

Why would I ever want my startup to fail?

Well, you wouldn’t! But sometimes you can get caught up in all the well-meant advice from friends and business partners who have just the insights when it comes to making your startup become the success it deserves to be. You know that feeling?

A lot of things can be learned from success, that’s for sure, but failure is quite the learning experience too. So instead of telling you what to do to succeed, Paul Ahlstrom chose that day in the old Fox Theatre to tell you what to do if you are looking for failure guarantee.

Launch without a customer in mind

The number one foolproof way to guarantee the failure of your startup is launching without a specific customer in mind. You might be busy analyzing the market, doing product development or simply just thinking, that as long as your product is kick-ass awesome with features to die for, then the customers will be there. Recognize this? If this is the case you are in danger of repeating the Ford Edsel blunder.

In year 1958 Ford launched the Ford Edsel developed and designed to be car of the year. Unfortunately the wishes of the customers had only been guessed upon and no actual potential customers had been involved during the development process. Guess what! Despite intensive marketing campaigns, the Edsel could not bear the hype, and it was a HUGE failure.

Therefore, always remember to develop your product with a specific customer in mind. Ask them what they want. Challenge them on what they want. Use prototyping and testing. Don’t launch before you know exactly what pains your product is going to solve for your customers.

Compete with the biggest market leader for the same customers without being ten times better

Do you want to compete head-to-head with the biggest and meanest market leaders in your field of expertise?  Well sure, go ahead! But please make sure that you are more than ten times better at doing your thing than they are, because otherwise you will end up being the one coloring the ocean red with this red ocean strategy.

In order to take on a market leader you have to make sure that your solution is so superior and compelling that the customers will almost ask you to pull them in – no hook needed!

Scale before you nail

If you start writing your marketing materials before knowing exactly how your product or service is going to be like, or if you start hiring your sales teams before you know what to sell, then you are definitely in danger of failing due to premature scaling.

To avoid this failure guarantee remember to nail your business model first! What is your market fit and what pain do you solve for your customers? Paul Ahlstrom is co-author on an entire book on the subject. That much of a problem is premature scaling! So start with the nailing, and after that you will have the right foundation for scaling!


Failure is the way to success

Avoiding the three strategies mentioned above is of course not a guarantee for success but they will definitely help you avoid some common mistakes experienced by more than one startup throughout history.

One of the unique things about the startup mentality here in the valley is the fact that even though your startup might fail it does not mean that you have failed as a person. It is more than okay to fail here, because you get the chance of gaining invaluable insight and knowledge that can be key to you succeeding later on.

Now go on and make your own foolproof strategies of failing so you can share them the next time you find yourself in a situation where a fellow entrepreneur is getting flooded with advice on how to succeed!

Conference in the US in 2013


The US offers a wide range of conferences within technology, cleantech and life science in 2013. At Innovation Centre Denmark we keep a close eye on the trends and technologies presented at the events.

We have collected a non-exhaustive list of some of the biggest and best conferences in the US.


Launch Festival

  • Technology conference with focus on startups launching new products. Features extensive pitch sessions for investors.
  • When: March 2013
  • Where: San Francisco

Techcrunch New York City

  • Technology conference with speaker series from the best entrepreneurs, investors and thought-leaders. Features startup alley with startups showcasing talent and technology to the audience members.
  • When: April 2013
  • Where: New York City


  • Technology conference with focus on pitching and demonstrations of startup ideas. Features keynote speakers from successful entrepreneurs and investors.
  • When: April
  • Where: San Francisco

Under the Radar

  • Technology conference showcasing innovative companies to experienced executives and thought-leaders
  • When: May
  • Where: San Francisco


Silicon Valley Innovation Summit

  • Conference on discussions and showcasing’s of the newest developments and opportunities in the technology sector.
  • When: July 2013
  • Where: Mountain View

Google I/O

  • Google’s annual developer conference
  • When: May 2013
  • Where: San Francisco


Health 2.0

  • Large conference on life science, featuring keynote speakers, product demonstrations and networking
  • When: Fall 2013
  • Where: San Francisco

Going Green New York

  • Conference showcasing the latest in sustainable practices to educate, motivate and inspire leaders. Similar conferences take place in Seattle, Portland and Phoenix.
  • When: September 2013
  • Where: New York

Oracle Open World

  • Oracle’s annual conference for business decision-makers, IT management and line-of-business end users.
  • When: September 2013
  • Where: San Francisco


Gigaom Roadmap

  • Technology conference with a specific focus on design, UX and UI featuring successful entrepreneurs and thought-leaders.
  • When: November 2013
  • Where: San Francisco

Silicon Valley Ventures Summit

  • Conference where entrepreneurs get to pitch their idea for venture capitalists
  • When: December 2013
  • Where: San Francisco Bay Area


  • Greenbuild is the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building
  • When: November 2013
  • Where: Philadelphia


  • Sales Force’s annual conference featuring speaker series and product demonstrations.
  • When: November 2013
  • Where: San Francisco

Date to be determined


  • Box’ annual conference featuring key customers and various keynote speakers.
  • When: 2013
  • Where: TBA


  • Large two-day conference for entrepreneurs, investors and thought-leaders.
  • When: 2013
  • Where: TBA


  • One day conference for technology entrepreneurs, investors, developers and designers to study their own faults and failures
  • When: 2013
  • Where: TBA

Techcrunch San Francisco

  • Technology conference with speaker series from the best entrepreneurs, investors and thought-leaders. Features startup alley with startups showcasing talent and technology to the audience members
  • When: 2013
  • Where: San Francisco

The Climate for Green Transportation



Silicon Valley is overflowing with experts on cleantech. Last week, a few of them met to discuss the future of green transportation. I listened in on their discussion ranging from an already existing technology on personalized airplanes to general skepticism about cleantech’s role in transportation.

Listening in on the SVForum’s ‘trends in Green Transportation’ event last week, one popular opinion was that Americans don’t drive electric vehicles simply because they don’t have an incentive to do so. The electric vehicles in the market already are not driven to save cost nor the environment. Rather, as venture capitalist Matt Trevithick jokingly said, “a Tesla is someone’s 7th car”. Ian Wright of Wrightspeed who was actually one of the co-founders of Tesla, added that not only are EVs not a particularly attractive choice for consumers, EV researchers and scientists are working on the wrong technologies. Instead of spending vast sums on trying to improve the mileage on the Prius, researchers should look into improving the internal combustion engine instead.

Improving the Prius by 100% would make less of a difference than improving trucks such as the Ford-150 series, from 10 mpg to 10.2 mpg, Wright argued. This however, is true only because Americans still love their trucks more than the hybrid alternative. In 2010, America’s favorite vehicle sold almost 530,000 trucks. The Prius came in at 140.000.

Breakthrough or Behavior?

There seems to be two ways of changing this state; one is through breakthrough innovation that will radically change incentives for consumers, the other is a question of behavior. How do we get Americans to use public transportation. According to the panel, Americans’ need to drive their own car is a cultural aspect linked to a sense of freedom. As such, Americans would rather sit alone in their own car – and be stuck in traffic – than save the time and money from taking the bus or train. Therefore, it would seem wiser to put your money on breakthrough innovation.From an investment point-of-view also, public transportation was seen as a very risky investment. “They are all subsidized and none of them are making any money”. The heavily subsidized industry risks being changed unfavorably for investors “at the stroke of a pen” as Matt Trevithick put it.

One of these could be the Green Flight Challenge which Brian Seeley from the CAFE Foundation brought up. The foundation is currently setting up a technology competition for an automated safety system for personalized airplanes. The NASA project which was recently further funded by Google hopes to put 30% of road traffic in the sky, eliminating the worst congestion. Instead of cars, commuters would fly silent, 200 mile-ranging ‘green’ airplanes for up to 6 people. Who knows, maybe we’ll have airplane pool lanes in a few years.



Danish Smart Grid experts coming to Silicon Valley June 20-24!!

Danish Smart Grid experts coming to Silicon Valley June 20-24!!

We are pleased that our Smart Grid Applied Silicon Valley Conference is attracting such high level participation from prominent Danish and US experts in the field. With over 20 confirmed participants from Denmark we are very excited to present Danish smart grid solutions and development opportunities in Denmark while matching this group with leading companies and organizations in The Valley including Intel, EPRI, Cisco, San Diego Gas & Electric and many others. Information about the delegation can be found here.

Join us for the Smart Grid Applied Silicon Valley Conference June 22-23

The Smart Grid Applied Conference will highlight how today’s applications of smart grid technologies have contributed to Denmark’s unique position as a global leader in renewable energy, and introduce the next generation of solutions currently being demonstrated and piloted in Denmark by leading global companies and institutions. Through keynotes, showcases and panel discussions, discussion will center on opportunities for collaboration and new business development both here in the US and in Denmark.

Highlights of the conference include:

  • Keynotes by: Lorie Wigle, General Manager of Eco-Technology at Intel, Lars Aagaard, CEO of the Danish Energy Association and Inge Maerkedahl, Director General of the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation among others
  • Presentations and showcases from DONG Energy, Siemens, Vestas and many other established and emerging technology companies.

For more information about the conference program visit


Registration is open to all for the Smart Grid Applied Silicon Valley Conference and there are still slots of available for Danish companies and organizations interested in participating in the rest of the program which includes meetings and workshops with leading Silcon Valley technology companies and research organizations throughout the week. Conference registration is at and additional program information for Danish participants is here.

ICDK Newsletter readers receive $50 off the admission price to the Smart Grid Applied Conference using the following discount code: SGADISCOUNT.

If you are interest in learning more or getting involved please contact Alex Portilla




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