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Copenhagen

Consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the world, Copenhagen is poised to leverage its position in the Scandinavian network of startup hubs – Malmo, Stockholm, and Helsinki. It offers a launchpad into both the pan-European, and to a greater extent, Scandinavian markets. The design talent in Copenhagen is among the best in the world, as reflected by the city’s pleasing aesthetic and brilliant urban design. From a legal perspective, Danish law makes it easier to both hire and fire workers, a necessity for a small startup to grow. Denmark itself has a highly educated population, a large proportion of English speakers, and a supportive national government. Start-up Denmark, a government initiative, aims to provide a gateway for talented foreign entrepreneurs by offering them a 2-year resident and work visa. The community works hard to accomplish goals from the ground up. An example of this is #CPHFTW, a grassroots initiative established to unite the startup community in Denmark and overcome any barriers the community may face. However, a shortage of active angel investors and major corporate anchors are hurdles that entrepreneurs face.

In This Market

These businesses offer industry expertise and are a source of startup talent and potential customers. They help fuel the local startup community.

Opportunities

  • Proximity to other Scandinavian startup ecosystems, such as Malmo, Stockholm, and Helsinki means that Copenhagen can pool resources with and provide access to this greater market.
  • Out of all developed nations, Denmark invests the greatest share of its wealth into education. Therefore, Danes are well educated and a large proportion (86%) of them speak English fluently.
  • Copenhagen itself is a very aesthetically pleasing, wonderful city to live in. The city’s urban design and architecture are both important advantages for talent, making Copenhagen home to the top design talent in Europe.
  • The national government has been relatively forward thinking in offering support through relevant programs, initiatives, and grants. From a legal perspective, the ability for startups to hire/fire workers is less cumbersome than elsewhere in Europe.
  • Presence of the grassroots initiative #CPHFTW (Copenhagen For The Win). It was created to unite the startup community in Denmark and help members overcome any barriers they may face.
  • Promising verticals include fintech, mobility/transportation, healthtech, and pharmatech.

Risk Factors

  • The city is undergoing a housing shortage so living expenses tend to be high. Although they are not as high as Stockholm, they are still higher than other European hubs, such as Berlin.
  • Founders are worried that there are not enough angel investors in the ecosystem to support the number of startups that are being created.
  • Copenhagen is not a large city for corporate headquarters, so corporate involvement in the startup space is not at what many would like to see it at. Although, this is beginning to change.
  • The ecosystem is still in its first generation of founders who have exited and are mentoring in and investing in the next iteration of startups. While Copenhagen is on an upswing, it still lags behind other cities such as Berlin and London.
  • Copenhagen is a small market (1.9 million people), within a greater silo-ed European market.
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