SCALEit in double digits

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What does Be My Eyes, the eye-crowdsourcing platform have in common with Danish virtual bookstore Saxo.com and newly launched Recho, a spatial bank of memories? Together with three other start-ups, they have just been through Innovation Center Denmark’s 10th SCALEit program.

After placing the companies in the middle of highly entrepreneurial Silicon Valley, the startups are challenged through five intense days of workshops and presentations with leading experts from the entrepreneurial scene. Here they get to perfect their pitches, revisit their business plans, and meet up with potential investors.

But does it actually matter to the companies? What is exactly the purpose of SCALEit, and how does it create value for the participating startups?

Scale up your business!

The short answer to the question above is that the startups should learn how to scale up their activities, hence the name SCALEit.

However, scaling up a company in a profitable way requires many aspects to be fulfilled at the same moment. According to Christian Vinther, Co-organizer of the SCALEit program, the companies leave Silicon Valley feeling highly inspired armed with the right tools and contacts to improve their business plans and shape their companies for successfully entering the world markets.

We want the companies to be ready to take on the world and feel prepared to seize their opportunities – whether it is raising capital from new investors, developing new software for their products, or simply entering the US market. Usually, all companies leave Silicon Valley with their arms raised above the head and a new perspective on their own business, which is also our main success-criteria”, says Christian Vinther.

New investors on board

The climax of the week is the Nordic Pitch Night that concludes the week’s program. Here, the startups get to pitch in front of a large audience including venture capitalists – and this time was no exception. At a local incubator venue with well over 100 people in place to watch the pitches, the startups displayed their new competencies and all managed to amaze and thrill the excited audience. Well done after only one week of training!

After participating in SCALEit, some of the companies headed on to the large South by Southwest tech-conference in Austin, Texas (link til wordpress artikel om dette). However, some of the companies had already established so many contacts and new business opportunities after the SCALEit week that they decided to stay in Silicon Valley and have meetings with potential partners and investors.

The above pretty much encapsulates what is in it for the participating startups. They are inspired to pursue their business opportunities and they establish the right contacts that will help them move forward and scale their companies – which is what SCALEit is all about.

Participating start-ups

Be My Eyes

SHUTE Sensing Solutions

uCommerce

Wallbreaker Dynamics

Recho

Saxo

About SCALEit

The SCALEit program propels participants into the Silicon Valley ecosystem through a number of relevant and value-adding workshops at exciting and inspirational venues. The workshops, networking and presentations among others include; thorough pitch-training from local expert consultants; presentations and discussions with established Danish Silicon Valley entrepreneurs; and sessions with PR-consultants, lawyers, etc. Thereby, the participants get the whole range of angles on how to deal with startup issues and how to make it in Silicon Valley.

The next SCALEit will be held in Silicon Valley in September in connection with the Tech Crunch Disrupt conference.

New ICDK interns fall 2012

Innovation Centre Denmark, Silicon Valley is happy to present our new
group of interns. The three masters-level students will work with the
rest of the team at ICDK for the next 6 months to achieve our team goals
in 2012. The interns bring a great variety of skills and experience to
the center.

Research & Technology Associate
Kenneth Salomonsen is a masters student at Roskilde University, where he
studies Sociology and Business studies. Kenneth holds a bachelors degree
in Philosophy and Business Administration from Copenhagen Business
School. He formerly worked in research and innovation policy and is
looking forward to having a greater day-to-day role regarding this field
during his internship. Specifically, Kenneth hopes to help create
long-lasting synergies between the research environments of Denmark and the US.

Innovation Associate
Mikkel Dengsøe will be joining the Innovation and Commercialization team
at Innovation Centre Denmark for the next 6 months. He will be covering
all sectors, including Information and Communications Technology (ICT),
Cleantech, and Life science. He is currently enrolled at Aarhus
University doing his Masters in Finance. Mikkel has been involved in
several startups and also previously worked in the financial sector. He
is looking forward to experiencing the fast-paced business environment in
the Bay Area.

Invest in Denmark Associate
Susanne Kolle is currently enrolled at Aarhus University studying Business and Innovation Management. She is looking forward to applying skills from her education and previous work experience within the health care and IT sectors, as well as learning even more about the Danish strongholds during her six month stay as Invest in Denmark intern. Further, she expects additional learning experiences relating to innovation in general, strategic business development, cross organizational and cross border cooperation. Last but not least she looks forward to exploring the home of innovation – Silicon Valley.

An inspiring SCALEit event

On May 10th, I was privileged and honored to moderate a panel, co-hosted by Silicon Vikings and SCALEit, on “how to scale a technology company by moving to Silicon Valley”.  Are you building a technology company? Do you want to scale it globally? Are you considering Silicon Valley? If so, this was the event for you!

Discussions among the giants

The three panelists, Mikkel Svane, CEO of Zendesk (recently valued at $500MM); Nicolaj Nyholm, Partner at Sunstone Capital, and ex-CEO of Polar Rose (acquired by Apple); and Thomas Madsen-Mygdal, Chairman of Podio, (acquired by Citrix) spent over an hour discussing all these and other issues. These successful Danish entrepreneurs discussed how they started their companies (and why), what it was like to toil away before they became successful, why they chose to move to Silicon Valley, and how they were able to successfully scale their companies (both in Denmark and in the Valley). In addition, they also talked about the venture capitalinvestments that they were able to raise at each stage of their evolution.

A entrepreneurial gathering at Børsen, Copenhagen

Nearly a hundred Danish entrepreneurs from Copenhagen and elsewhere attended the event, which was held in the beautiful Børsen building in Copenhagen. At the conclusion of the event, many of the entrepreneurs were able to attend a reception at Zendesk’s offices in the Soho building. There was considerable excitement at the success of Zendesk and Podio, and many Danish entrepreneurs are now considering how they can scale their startups to achieve similar success.

In conclusion, the SCALEit series of events were a great opportunity to get together with many young, talented and energetic Danish innovators and give them an opportunity to learn about how to grow your company to success, ensuring jobs for all and perhaps one day, a Facebook-like valuation!

– Sunil Maulik, Commercial ICT Director at Innovation Center Denmark

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