ReFlow has developed software that allows companies to track their carbon footprint. They are just about to finish their 20-month journey as a participant in the GreenUP Accelerator, DTU Science Park's accelerator program for climate tech startups working specifically with solutions to reduce CO2e emission. A journey that has proven to be very beneficial. ReFlow pivoted their solution to fit their customers' needs and quadrupled their team from 4 employees to now 16 employees.
“We make it easier for other companies around the world to become data-driven within their decarbonisation efforts,” Rasmus Elsborg, co-founder and CEO of ReFlow, explains.
ReFlow consists of a team of 16 people. Both environmental engineers, software engineers and then the co-founder and CEO Rasmus Jensen, who is, as he explains, the one in the middle who talks a lot. Rasmus has a background in big cooperations abroad and in Denmark and 17 years of experience working within innovation, logistics and supply chains. He lived in New York, but due to sickness in his family, he quit his job and began thinking about how he could make a difference in the world. Fortunately, all ended well in Rasmus’ family.
“It was just one of those wake-up calls where you’ve been in the corporate world for many years. You’ve worn a lot of suits and travelled around the world. I think that in the end, in the USA, I had over 200 travel days. So that was where you just become a product of your surroundings instead of being somebody and making a change. And that was my motivation to start Reflow,” Rasmus Elsborg says.
Feedback from the market forced a pivot.
At this time, Rasmus got the idea for ReFlow. Now, four years have gone by, and Reflow is a company of 16 employees with headquarters in Copenhagen. They started by looking at the circular economy and how companies could have traceability on their products, but as they had a minimal viable product (MVP) ready and were ready to launch that into the market, they found out that the companies were not ready for it.
“When we came out with the product, we could see that the market wasn’t ready for it, and I think that’s a typical startup thing. So we ended up taking a step back and saying, okay, what is the market ready for?” Rasmus Elsborg asks.
Instead of having a circular economy and traceability on products, they pivoted their product to work with life cycle assessments (LCAs). Their product makes it easier for companies to track their carbon footprint. Their software makes it simple to calculate, document, and share environmental performance data of products. The LCA-based calculation can be complex, but with ReFlow’s software, it is possible for users with just basic knowledge to make these advanced calculations.
Went from four employees to 16 during GreenUP.
In the middle of their pivot, ReFlow heard about the GreenUP Accelerator. What intrigued them about the GreenUP Accelerator was its massive focus on the environment and how ambitious the accelerator was. Moreover, the idea of being a part of an accelerator with 14 other tech startups working with CO2e reduction added to the interest.
“Being part of an ecosystem at DTU was a good spot for us. It was not a business school because we are a science-based company, so the GreenUP Accelerator was a good fit. And then the idea of being with other green companies is really good because we believe there is a lot to be learned between companies, which has proven to be a right assumption,” – Rasmus Elsborg states.
When ReFlow applied for the GreenUP Accelerator in May 2021, the team consisted of four people, and the team were at the end of a runway and needed money to continue their journey. But two months later, the story was another:
“It was a key moment when we walked into the GreenUP Accelerator. One or two months later, we closed the funding round, and since then, we have accelerated what we were doing. So our journey started from day one, pretty much,” Rasmus Elsborg states.
During ReFlow’s pivoting of their product, they discovered that this startup thing was very fragile. And that became one of the reasons why they applied for the GreenUP Accelerator – to get counselling with experts in different fields who could help them move forward on their startup journey:
“It is like when you’re a kid, and your parents tell you, don’t do this, do that. As a startup, I think the GreenUP Accelerator has been our parents. In the sense of giving us advice making sure we avoid making the same mistakes as other startups,” Rasmus Elsborg says.
20 months of acceleration: Getting startups ready to scale
The GreenUP Accelerator is 20 months long, one of the longest accelerators that we have in Denmark. When Rasmus looks back at the 20 months, he believes it is an excellent factor in the program.
“In the beginning, you might need to get the basics in order, your business idea, pitch and stuff. But as you mature and turn from startup to scale-up, and you have a market fit and a product, it is about selling and scalability – a different need. Having a longer program for us has been beneficial because the program adapts to our needs and for our journey,” Rasmus Elsborg explains.
And precisely this is one of the reasons why Rasmus recommends the GreenUP Accelerator. The flexibility and tailoring of the program make it suitable for your company.
Is your company ready to take this journey as well? The GreenUP Accelerator 2023 begins in May 2023. Send in your application today.