If you are researching the startup scene in Denmark, you should narrow down your search to the Copenhagen area. The city has a lot to offer for those looking to get into the entrepreneurial scene and getting a job or an internship at one of the many startups living around the city.
Looking at its size and population, Copenhagen is a small capital but comparing the student population to the number of startups registered on CrunchBase it is nearly identical as in Berlin, which is considered the biggest startup hub in Europe. There are 219 students/startup in Copenhagen, compared to 213 in Berlin.
According to research, graduates from top business schools are increasingly choosing to work for startups rather than for the previously popular investment banks. If you are one of those graduates and you have your eyes set on Copenhagen keep on reading to find out where you can find and meet the Copenhagen startups.
Read also: A guide to startup jobs and internships
Where to find the startups?
Finding startups can be tricky and you often have to look beyond the traditional job searching channels. A startup in most cases comprises of a small team of dedicated people with limited resources and time at their disposal for recruitment. So how to find them?
For finding startups you will need to know that startups tend to stick together. It is practical, fun and it keeps the creative energy flowing. There are several startup smaller hubs located around Copenhagen. You have to make difference between co-working spaces and accelerators/incubators. A co-working space is usually a building or a larger office where startups rent small offices or a desk. An accelerator is the startup equivalent of a semester at a university, with courses and an exam in the end in the form of a demo day, where startups present their products in front of investors and potential clients. An incubator is a place where ideas are generated and brought to life with the help of external expertise.
You can find around twenty of these hubs around Copenhagen. The most notable ones are:
- Bricks – a shared workspace,
- Founders House – a shared, invitation only co-working space,
- Dare2mansion – an incubator (Thinkubator) and co-working space,
- Startupbootcamp Mobile – an accelerator program, partner with Accelerace, and part of the global Startupbootcamp,
- CSE Labs – part of Copenhagen Business School, it is the largest student incubator,
- KPH-projects – a community of startups and small growing businesses,
- Rocketlabs – a co-working space for tech startups and digital entrepreneurs,
- Republikken – a shared office and creative network, and
- GateToCreate - different national student driven organizations for entrepreneurship in Danish universities.
- Co-working spaces with a Danish only website: Connect Denmark, La Oficina, Liftoff, and The Orbit.
These hubs are scattered across Copenhagen, but in particular, there is one in the area of Islands Brygge, close to the centre of Copenhagen, where many startups are found. This place has been labeled Startup Village, and it is where your’s truly, Graduateland, is also located.
Many professional and social events are arranged by the different startups located in the area, and the numerous Friday bars are the obvious occasions to meet with other entrepreneurs, get introduced to specialists within online marketing, programming, management, business development and many other fields.
Another option is to start your search on sites like CrunchBase, the leading global platform for discovering startups and innovative companies. In Copenhagen you can find 483 (as of October 2015) registered companies.
Where to meet startups?
The startup environment is informal and open, so showing genuine interest through a phone call or email is OK, but asking for a personal visit would be best since the decisive factor for getting you onboard in many cases will be a mix of your personality and how you fit into the team.
Another great way to meet them is at one of the startup events from around Copenhagen. You can always find something happening at one of the previously mentioned hubs.
Among the most notable events we can find:
- TechBBQ - an annual event when all members of the startup community meet and share their stories.
- Copenhagen Startup Weekend - is part of a global initiative with the mission to share ideas, form teams and launch startups.
- Demo Days - look out for the days when startups are ‘graduating’ from Accelerator programs. You can find several of these during the year.
- Nordic Startup Conference - has the purpose of showing off the best startups of the Nordic region.
- Copenhagen Startup Safari - focuses on showcasing the startup ecosystem for job seekers.
For more events, you might want to subscribe to Copenhagen Startup Digest which gives you a day by day calendar of the events happening in Copenhagen.
Who knows about startup jobs?
When looking for startup jobs you might want to know who are the notable members of the startup scene. In Copenhagen, one of the go-to persons is Nicolaj Højer Nielsen, entrepreneur, and CBS professor. He organizes ‘speed dating’ events between startups and students with the aim of matching these startups with talented students. According to Nicolaj, the demand is huge (about 1000 students signed up for the last event), and there will definitely be more to come. If you want to know a date for the next event be sure to follow Nicolaj on LinkedIn or ‘like’ the Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship page on Facebook.
Graduateland is the go-to career portal for jobs and internships at startups. Begin your job hunt by browsing through the available openings in Copenhagen.
When meeting a startup, be prepared, because as Benjamin Franklin said ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’. Have your elevator pitch ready. Good luck!