Denmark’s robotics industry joins forces to establish new fund for robotic startups
Improved access to capital, unique sector knowledge and a strong incubation environment. That’s what a new commercial fund, Odense Robotics StartUp Fund, will offer generations of robotics and drone startups from Denmark and abroad.
The fund’s DKK 18.4M capital is made up of donations from some of Denmark’s most influential robotics investors and companies as well as prominent commercial foundations behind some of the country’s largest industrial companies. Several founders have played a key role in putting Denmark’s robotics industry on the world map. And for them, the new fund is about realising the industry’s potential. By donating capital from their successful careers to the new fund, the founders can help generations of robotics and drone startups.
“We have donated to Odense Robotics StartUp Fund because we want to contribute towards the continued growth of the robotics environment in Odense and Denmark. It’s about giving robotics entrepreneurs better access to loan capital, professional support and good facilities. By joining forces with other strong players, we hope to make a difference for generations of robotic startups in the future. The robotics community here has given us so such, so we feel we want to give something back,” says Enrico Krog Iversen, CEO of OnRobot and former CEO of Universal Robots, who has donated personal funds together with robot investor Bente Iversen.
Robotics leaders donate
Other business leaders, who have donated their own capital to the new fund, are Niels Jul Jacobsen, CEO of Capra Robotics and Founder of Mobile Industrial Robots, Ralf Astrup, investor and former CEO and Co-owner of Cabinplant, and Thomas Visti, CEO & Founder of Visti Unlimited and former CCO of Universal Robots and CEO of Mobile Industrial Robots.
Universal Robots is also amongst the founders along with C.N.N. Holding and a series of prominent Danish commercial foundations: Bitten & Mads Clausen’s Foundation, Den Faberske Fond, Entreprenør Marius Pedersens Fond and the Grundfos Foundation. The Novo Nordisk Foundation has also made a donation to Odense Robotics StartUp Fund.
“For us, it’s about giving back to the community we come from. We have a truly unique robotics cluster here in Odense with a world-class university, enormous support from the municipality and local ecosystem, and hundreds of robotic companies of various sizes spanning a huge range of expertise. But we’re not done yet with making Odense the world’s best robot city. There’s still lots of potential waiting to be realised. That’s why we are contributing to Odense Robotics StartUp Fund – so we can support future startups, not just financially but also through dialogue and mentoring,” says Kim Povlsen, President of Universal Robots.
Helping generations of startups
The fund’s capital of DKK 18.4M 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.
The fund is open to applications from robotic and drone startups from Denmark and abroad. Aside from receiving a loan, startups are part of the world-class incubator at Danish Technological Institute in Odense offering office space and advanced technical equipment in an innovative environment focused on hardware development.
Startups also gain unique access to cutting-edge robotic know-how from a group of experts. Some of the Fund’s founders act as mentors for startups, offering trusted advice based on their deep sector knowledge and extensive industry experience. In addition, technical experts from the Danish Technological Institute advise startups on tech development, while coaches from Odense Robotics advise startups on business development.
Odense Robotics StartUp Fund will now start screening startups from Denmark and abroad.
About Odense Robotics StartUp Fund
- Odense Robotics StartUp Fund is a commercial foundation offering early-stage robotic and drone startups from Denmark and abroad access to loan capital, cutting-edge know-how from leading robotics business leaders and world-class incubator facilities.
- The fund’s capital of 18.4 million kroner consists of donations from key figures from some of Denmark’s most successful robot companies, influential robot investors and prominent commercial foundations behind some of the country’s largest industrial companies.
- The fund invests directly in startups – at least 30 over the coming six years. Returns from loans and additional payments made in the event of acquisitions are reinvested in the fund and in turn in new startups. This way, the fund will support a continual flow of startups for many years to come.
- Startups gain access to an incubation environment at Danish Technological Institute in Odense, where they can access facilities and know-how to develop their product and company. Some of the Fund’s founders act as mentors for startups, offering trusted advice based on their deep sector knowledge and extensive industry experience.
Who is behind the new fund
Odense Robotics StartUp Fund has a total capital of DKK 18.4M consisting of donations from the following:
Enrico Krog Iversen
Niels Jul Jacobsen
Bitten & Mads Clausens Foundation
C.C.N. Holding A/S
Den Faberske Fond
Entreprenør Marius Pedersens Fond
Novo Nordisk Foundation
The Grundfos Foundation
Universal Robots A/S.