19 January 2024

Groundbreaking microscope wins the Danish Industry Foundation’s Entrepreneur Award

After five months of hard work, Clair Scientific was announced this year’s Danish Tech Challenge winner. The company, known for its state-of-the-art digital microscope, was celebrated at a festive award show in Copenhagen on Friday afternoon. During the event, the ambitious winning company received the Danish Industry Foundation’s Entrepreneur Award and the accompanying prize check of 500,000 Danish kroner.

For small and medium-sized life science businesses and talented researchers, acquiring new laboratory equipment often entails significant expenses, creating formidable barriers to innovation.

However, Clair Scientific aims to overcome this challenge with a novel microscope incorporating advanced imaging technology and artificial intelligence, making laboratory equipment more accessible.

This compact microscope, priced at a quarter of traditional models, embodies Clair Scientific’s philosophy, shared by its two founders, that making discoveries in life science should be attainable for all. This approach strives to expedite the introduction of innovative technologies and medications, benefiting people globally.

We are completely overwhelmed and surprised. Participating in Danish Tech Challenge and pitching on stage has been a fantastic experience. Now, we’re planning to invest in hiring more people to assist us in sales. We aim to reach as many people as possible with a product in hand. As researchers, we’ve been in a situation where we wanted something that worked and didn’t cost a fortune. We have managed laboratories, requiring equipment purchases, so we’ve developed something we wished we had ourselves.

Anders Clemen Jakobsen og Hugh Simons
Co-founders in Clair Scientific

Additional challenges for hardware entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs working with hardware and cutting-edge technology, the journey from a good idea to a viable business is often lengthy. This is partially due to challenges that particularly impact hardware entrepreneurs, such as the extended product development processes and the significantly high capital requirements.

Danish Tech Challenge participants can relate to these types of challenges. They create innovative products based on nanotechnology, medical technology, and biotechnology.

Many of these products stem from years of research, and when they enter the global market, they have the potential to address some of our most significant challenges, such as those in health or climate.

However, many things need to be in place before reaching that stage. That’s precisely why a program like Danish Tech Challenge can significantly aid technology-driven entrepreneurs.

“At DTU Science Park, we deal daily with high-tech companies, many of which work with hardware. Therefore, we see it as our natural task to assist these companies. We understand their challenges and, with Danish Tech Challenge, can deploy precisely the right resources that can help each company overcome hurdles. The technologies we’ve seen in this year’s participant field are incredibly exciting, and it makes us proud to see that our assistance is making them more resilient companies,” says Steen Donner, CEO of DTU Science Park.

200 hardware companies have gone through the program

The annual award show was a significant milestone. As usual, this year’s winner was announced and received the Danish Industry Foundation’s Entrepreneur Award. However, it was also a celebration of the 10th anniversary of Danish Tech Challenge, marking the passage of 200 startups through the program.

For most, the journey has been highly successful. Of all the participants from previous years, 81 percent of the companies are still active, collectively creating around 1,500 jobs. Moreover, estimations indicate that over a tenth of the companies are now valued at over 100 million Danish Kroner.

Entrepreneurship is a challenging discipline, and for hardware entrepreneurs, the path from a good idea to global revenue is particularly arduous. That’s why I am delighted that we have designed an appealing and relevant accelerator program through Danish Tech Challenge. This program adds value and competitiveness to numerous entrepreneurs, assisting them in their growth journey.

Lars-Peter Søbye
Chairman of the Board at The Danish Industry Foundation

Lars-Peter Søbye continues:

“We will further focus on entrepreneurship going forward and constantly strive to create the future successes of Danish business. New companies contribute to a dynamic and innovative Danish business environment, and entrepreneurs are particularly adept at leveraging new technology and designing business models that extend far into the future. Naturally, we want to contribute to this development.”

Popular Program

More than 100 hardware startups apply yearly to join Danish Tech Challenge. Since 2014, the program has assisted technology-driven hardware entrepreneurs in advancing and growing.

Preparations for the next edition of Danish Tech Challenge are in full swing, and growth-ready hardware entrepreneurs can already reach out to the program to express their interest in participating.

About Danish Tech Challenge

Danish Tech Challenge is a five-month intensive program where participants gain access to mentoring from advisors and mentors, a prototype workshop, investors, and a grand prize in the form of the Danish  Industry Foundation’s Entrepreneur Award of 500,000 Danish Kroner. Launched in 2014, Danish Tech Challenge is a development program designed explicitly for technological hardware entrepreneurs working to bring new physical products to the market. Over 100 hardware startups apply each year. Danish Tech Challenge is run by DTU Science Park and supported by the Danish Industry Foundation.

Previous winners of Danish Tech Challenge

  • 2014: Nordic Power Converters
  • 2015: MedTrace
  • 2016: Bifrost Communications
  • 2017: Hydropen (former Rosenby Engineering)
  • 2018: MiWire
  • 2019: PentaLock
  • 2020: Athlee (former SwimCam)
  • 2021: Simplewire
  • 2022: Droplet IV

Additional information

Louise Kammacher
DTU Science Park
[email protected]
20 74 74 21

Anders Brandtoft
The Danish Industry Foundation
[email protected]
31 12 27 43.