Robotics startups can struggle to get the help needed to turn great ideas into successful businesses. Odense, a small city in a small European country has a strong track record of helping startups on the road to success. What’s the secret to Odense’s robotics entrepreneurship? Read more and remember you visit Odense for the euRobotics Entrepreneurship Award finals at the European Robotics Forum in March.
This article has been provided by Odense Robotics
In only few years, Denmark has become one of the world’s leading nations within robotics and automation with more than 400 companies across the country. A big part of this growth can be attributed to the fact that Odense, Denmark’s third largest city, and its robotics community have a strong focus on helping startups develop and commercialise new technologies.
Denmark’s robotics, automation and drone industry is home to global market leaders, high-growth startups and world-leading research. There’s a high concentration of companies in and around Odense, where the University of Southern Denmark has strong robotics research. Denmark’s global stronghold is shaped by its leading role within collaborative robots and mobile robots. Early pioneers Universal Robots (UR) and Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) are both founded and headquartered in Odense.
The success of UR and MiR has led to a plethora of high-growth, innovative robotics startups that have created new technologies that build on collaborative and mobile platforms developed in Odense. Additional global strongholds in the city’s robotics ecosystem include food automation, professional service robots, drone surveillance as well as intralogistics.
Closely connected robotics community
Startups in Odense are also part of a closely connected robotics community, which provides ease of access to soft funding opportunities, investors, potential collaboration partners and industry knowledge.
The national cluster organisation, Odense Robotics, has a wide range of accelerator programmes designed to help ambitious robotics and drone startups across the country strengthen their foundation for growth and develop their solutions.
Meanwhile, the cluster works closely with its many partners regionally and nationally to tap into important support opportunities for robotics entrepreneurs. Key partners include Odense Seed & Venture, which works to bridge the gap between startups and investors, as well as Denmark’s many universities and knowledge-transfer organisations such as Danish Technological Institute.
Successful incubator supports robotics startups
Late last year, a new startup initiative – Odense Robotics StartUp Fund – was launched to provide funding, mentoring and incubation to ambitious early-stage robotics and drone startups from Denmark and abroad.
Already, it has attracted a great deal of interest from the robotics and drone startup community. The non-profit foundation is on the hunt for promising early-stage robotics and drone startups that can benefit from access capital, unique sector knowledge and a strong incubation environment.
“It’s not easy starting up in robotics and drones. Even if you’ve got a great idea, you need money, know-how and the right facilities to get started – and that’s exactly what Odense Robotics StartUp Fund offers. The fund is on the lookout now for ambitious early-stage robotics and drone entrepreneurs who fit the bill and are ready to take their idea to the next level,” says Troels Oliver Vilms Pedersen, Chief Programme Officer at Danish Technological Institute, which is home to the Odense Robotics StartUp Fund’s incubator.
The fund’s capital of DKK 18.4M (just over €2.47M) will be invested directly in at least 30 startups over the next six years. The investment takes place in the form of a loan, which startups repay over time. Startups make an additional payment if they are acquired. Payments generate returns, which the fund then uses to support new startups. This way, the fund is a long-term model creating a continual flow of startups for many years to come.
“The vision behind Odense Robotics StartUp Fund is to create Denmark’s future robot successes. The fund provides promising robotic startups with access to capital, unique specialist knowledge and an internationally acclaimed incubator at Danish Technological Institute. And because successful startups pay back to the fund, which in turn reinvests in new startups, the fund will help create generations of robot startups over the coming decades. It’s a completely new model that we’ve not seen before in Denmark,” says Mikkel Christoffersen, CEO of Odense Robotics, which is partner in the fund along with Danish Technological Institute.