Denmark: Where start-ups need to think global





esi: Who are you, what do you do and what makes you an expert on your start-upcountry?
Lasse: I’m Lasse Chor, founded my first company at the age of 13 and have since then been involved in about a handful start-ups. I was the co-founder of Unity:Katrinebjerg, a student organization to promote interdisciplinary entrepreneurship among students of IT related studies at Aarhus University. I’ve been working for the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Silicon Valley to help Danish start-ups get US market access. I’m currently the director of Startup City – a local start-up incubator – and involved in three other national organizations to promote entrepreneurship. I’ve facilitated more than 40 start-up weekends around the world and via that gotten a global perspective on how Denmark differs from other start-up ecosystems. I’m currently running a company where I help start-ups and big corporations make partnerships. I’ve also co-founded the local tech/start-up news media, and have through that been able to keep me updated with latest national trends.

esi: What is cool about your start-upcountry, what inspires you and keeps you thriving?
Lasse: To be completely honest, there are cool things but I think we are lagging a lot in Denmark right now. There is no motivation for starting up – and the support organizations in the space are mostly public organizations that don’t really get it. One strong hold is the talent in Denmark. Especially the business and tech talent is well educated. The competition with bigger companies for recruiting the talent is not all to fears – although a lot of Danish engineers tend to go the corporate way. I will say that lately some interesting companies have shown the way in Denmark – but what often happens is that they need to move somewhere else when they reach a certain size. Denmark is a fairly advanced country in terms of technology adaption, which makes the country a good incubation nest for companies who wants to test their technology in a small market. But Denmark is a quite small market, so very soon you’ll need to expand beyond the borders.

esi: What makes you shake your head about your start-upcountry, what needs to be improved?
Lasse: On top of things mentioned above I’d say the entrepreneurial mindset. This goes all the way from the education institutions to companies willingness to do spin outs. The Danish universities are full of entrepreneurial programs – but professors who never encountered first-hand experience of entrepreneurship are teaching most of them. The welfare system is so well functioning that it becomes too easy to just lean back and enjoy the ride. There is no real motivation via that system to create your own job and company.

esi: What’s some cool fact we are likely not to know about your start-upcountry?
Lasse: Skype was partly Danish?!

esi: Thank you for the interview.


About the interviewpartner:
Lasse Chor founded his first company with 13 years and later was sent by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Silicon Valley to help Danish start-ups get US market access.