Danish Tech Challenge

Denmark's leading growth program for hardware startups

Mads Rømer Svendsen

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Participate in Danish Tech Challenge, accelerate your hardware startup - and win DKK 500,000

Danish Tech Challenge is DTU Science Park’s growth program for hardware startups. Out of more than 100 applicants, we select the 15 most promising startups for the program.

The goal is to help you develop your product and your business. You will receive a 360-degree review of your business, strengthening your position with investors, partners, and future customers.

During the program, you will receive over 50 hours of one-on-one advice from experts, attend relevant weekly workshops, and be exposed to potential investors.

You will also have a mentor team consisting of experienced and skilled mentors from DTU Science Park’s MIT-based mentor program, and you will become part of the DTU Science Park community with more than 300 deep tech companies.

We help you assemble the right team, implement sustainability and impact in your value proposition, and support your product development process to avoid major challenges and friction.

The program is tailored to your business and provides the best conditions to enter the market and raise capital, fostering growth in your company. In short, we help you achieve product-market fit.

Participation in Danish Tech Challenge is free.

Jyske Bank 600_200
Danish Tech Challenge 600_200

Facts about participants in Danish Tech Challenge

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They are innovative and have developed over 330 products in the last 3 years.

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They create viable businesses – 83% survive beyond the first three years.

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They secure funding – the participants in Danish Tech Challenge have collectively raised DKK 2.8 billion through the programs.

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They create new jobs and have, over the past ten years, created +1,500 new jobs.

As a participant in Danish Tech Challenge, you get:

  • Over 50 hours of one-on-one advice on various topics, including product development, law, sales, and sustainability. See all disciplines.
  • Weekly workshops on various subjects, including presentation techniques to make your pitch sharp.
  • A team of strong mentors from our mentor program and sparring and networking with like-minded founders.
  • Exposure to attractive investors.
  • A thorough 360-degree analysis of your startup.

The leading acceleration program for hardware startups

Who can join the program?

Danish Tech Challenge is for startups working on solutions with the potential to change the world. Over the past ten years, the program has hosted a wide range of companies, including those developing drones, equipment for nuclear cancer diagnostics, female urinals, autonomous robots, new materials for the construction industry, and much more.

  • Your company must work with a physical product.
  • We expect founders to be fully dedicated to their startups.
  • A physical presence at DTU Science Park in Lyngby is expected to occur 1-2 days a week.

If you are unsure whether you qualify to participate in the program, please contact us.

How Danish Tech Challenge works

Out of all applicants, 15 hardware startups are selected to be part of the program. The course takes place in DTU Science Park in Lyngby and lasts five months.

The program begins with an intensive onboarding week, where you will meet the other participants, subject matter experts, our partners, and the team behind the program. In the following months, weekly workshops and ongoing one-on-one advisory sessions with subject matter experts will be held. Therefore, you must be physically present 1-2 days a week. During the program, there will be several pitch events where you can meet and present to investors.

At the end of the program, 10-12 companies are selected for the semifinals, and six companies advance to the finals to pitch their business ideas at a grand award show in March. An external jury chooses the winner, who receives a prize of DKK 500,000.

Key dates in the program

September 8, 2024

Application deadline

All applicants will hear from us whether they have been selected to pitch before a jury.

September 23 - 24, 2024

Pitch days in front of the jury

Selected startups will pitch in front of a jury that will choose this year’s participants.

October 7, 2024

Kick-off

The selected startups will participate in a kick-off session where our team, partners, and selected stakeholders will explain what to expect from the program.

October 21 2024

Program Start

October 21- 25, 2024

Program start and onboarding week

January 24 - 25, 2025

The semifinals

10-12 startups advance to the semifinals.

January / February 2025

The final

5-6 startups advance to the final.

March 2025

Award show

Announcement of the winner who receives DKK 500,000.

Collaborate with our corporate partners

At DTU Science Park, several corporate partners collaborate with startups through acquisitions, investments, or access to unique knowledge.

We act as the bridge between you and them and can assist in finding the right match for your company.

Vækstprogram for bæredygtige startups
Corporate partners

We develop and test your business through 10 disciplines

The Danish Tech Challenge is an intensive and ambitious growth program where we develop your business through workshops and 1:1 sparring.

hardware startup vækstprogram
10 disciplines that prepare you for growth

You will learn about ten fundamental disciplines essential for growth and market entry. We will assist, advise, and challenge you to develop your business in the best possible way.

The program is tailored to your company’s challenges and opportunities, with subject matter experts in all ten areas ready to help you.

Optimize your chances of securing funding

Participating in Danish Tech Challenge enhances your chances of securing funding. Significant funds are raised throughout the program, and we act as the bridge between you and potential investors.

This program makes your company more attractive to investors. We help you build a strong pitch deck and train your pitch for investors alongside you.

  • Sparring with our Investment Manager
  • Assistance with creating your pitch deck
  • High exposure to investors
  • Workshops on presentation techniques to make your pitch razor-sharp
  • Matchmaking with potential investors

Meet our growth team

When you participate in one of our programs, you receive free mentoring from the subject matter experts on our growth team that you require.

Our growth team is composed of highly qualified experts who guide you throughout the process. Here, you can receive guidance on everything from business development to recruitment as part of the program.

Former Danish Tech Challenge participants

FAQ about Danish Tech Challenge

Here, you'll find answers to frequently asked questions about the program. If you don't find the answer you're looking for, please feel free to contact us

To participate in Danish Tech Challenge, you need to submit an application and have a Danish CVR number.

Yes, This program is for hardware startups.

Anything that is not purely digital or a service can be considered hardware.

Yes, absolutely. Danish Tech Challenge is open to both new and more experienced startups.

No, but it is advantageous to have two or more team members. If you come alone, we may encourage you to find a co-founder, but you can participate as a solo founder.

No, but you will have a desk in an open co-working space at DTU Science Park alongside other startups.

No, you don’t need to be part of DTU Science Park to participate in Danish Tech Challenge. However, it is advantageous to have two or more team members. If you come alone, we may encourage you to find a co-founder, but you can participate as a solo founder.

DTU Science Park is a secure place where we never share your information without consent. However, the office space where you are located is an open area with many people, so if you have confidential information, you should consider when and how you share it.

No, it is free to participate in the program.

We have an external jury that selects the winner. The jury primarily consists of tech experts and investors. The Danish Tech Challenge team does not influence the selection of the winner.

Mads Rømer Svendsen

Mads Rømer Svendsen

Program Manager

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Jura & regnskab

Disciplinejer: Bach Law og EY

Formål

At sikre at alle de nødvendige virksomhedsdokumenter er på plads og opfylder de lovbestemte krav samt forberede virksomheden på eventuelle fremtidige investeringer. 

At sikre at startup’en kan lave en pålidelig og præcis, finansiel rapportering og styre jeres likviditet, hvilket er grundlæggende for at kunne drive forretning og rapportere til investorer.

Hvordan?
  • 1:1 sparring om hvordan man bruger bogføringssystemer, indberetter moms/skat, opsætter P&L budgetter og likviditetsbudgetter. 
  • 1:1 sparring om, hvordan du bruger værktøjerne og processerne til at være klar til at tiltrække, ansætte og oplære nye ansatte.
  • Du får adgang til skabeloner, som du kan bruge som inspiration til ansættelseskontrakter, direktøraftaler, fortrolighedsaftaler, osv.
Udbytte
  • Budgetter
  • P&L struktur
  • Skat inkl. virksomhedsstruktur
  • Regnskabsaflæggelse

Produktudvikling

Disciplinejer: Move Innovation

Formål

At sikre effektiv produktudvikling og styring af jeres udviklingsroadmap, så I kan levere det I lover til tiden samt  hvordan du kommunikerer det til eksterne interessenter.

Hvordan?
  • 1:1 sparring og workshops om jeres produktudvikling, roadmap, milepæle, prisberegning, m.m.
Udbytte
  • En one pager produktbeskrivelse af jeres ‘Minimal Viable product’ som I har testet og verificeret på rigtige kunder.
  • Et defineret roadmap over produktet/systemerne med milepæle, funktionalitet, stykpris og omkostningsberegning.
  • Kravspecifikation for produktet
  • Detaljeret design og tilhørende stykliste (BoM)
  • Risikovurdering og produktudvikling

Organisation & team

Disciplinejer: Good Morning April

Formål

At sikre at du har det rette team og kompetencer til at udvikle og skalere virksomheden. At du er bevidst om dine principper og værdier, og at ved, hvordan du opbygger klare roller og ansvar i din organisation – nu og i fremtiden.

Hvordan?
  • En workshop, der introducerer de kerneaspekter, du vil arbejde med i disciplinen.
  • 1:1 sparring om ovennævnte emner
  • Du får adgang til skabeloner, du kan bruge til inspiration.
Udbytte
  • Indsigt i personprofilerne i dit team, og hvordan du udvikler teamet i opstarten.
  • Du har en klar forståelse af dit kulturelle grundlag (formål og principper).
  • Du har en klar forståelse af, hvor din startup mangler kompetencer nu og i fremtiden – baseret på din milepælsplan.
  • Du kan præsentere et organisationsoverblik for potentielle investorer med klare roller og ansvar – nu og i den nærmeste fremtid.

Product Market Fit

Disciplinejer: Program Manager hos DTU Science Park

Formål

Product Market Fit er afgørende for en startup. Hvis du ikke løser et reelt problem for rigtige mennesker, så har din virksomhed ingen eksistensberettigelse.

Hvordan?
  • Workshops med teori, eksempler fra det virkelige liv og engagerende praksis. Herunder eksempler på lean canvas, udbytte- og værdianalyse, Value proposition og meget mere.
  • 1:1 sessioner med forretningsudviklere fra dit vækstteam. Vi gennemgår dine antagelser, udfordrer dem og giver råd til, hvordan du kan forbedre din case. 
Udbytte
  • Du forstår ‘the lean methodology’ for Minimal Viable product (MVP) og build-measure-learn loops
  • Du kender forskellen på produktspecifikationer, udbytte og værdier – og hvordan man tester det
  • Du kan validere dit lean canvas og teste antagelser om dit marked
  • Du opnår Product Market Fit
  • Du har lavet et kortfattet value proposition der at afspejle dine resultater
  • Du har testet dit value proposition på nuværende og fremtidige kunder

IP-rettigheder

Disciplinejer: AWA

Formål

At sikre at du ved, om du skal sikre dit produkt/løsning med IP-rettigheder.

Hvordan?
  • 1:1 sparring for at hjælpe dig med at identificere dit behov for IP.
  • Adgang til AWA-konsulenter for at konsolidere din IP-køreplan.
Udbytte
  • Identificering af dine behov for IP (patenter, design, varemærker, copyright, domænenavne).
  • En struktureret plan for, hvad du skal gøre, hvornår du skal sikre nødvendig IP og ansøge om patent.
  • Identificering af evt. forretningshemmeligheder, og hvad du skal gøre/ikke gøre.
  • Indsigt i licenser til nødvendige patenter.
  • Kendskab til FtO og hvordan du kan blokere patentrettigheder.

Salg

Disciplinejer: Leon Birdi

Formål

At lære salgsprocessen at kende fra kendskab til underskrevet aftale er afgørende for enhver virksomhed. Det er ikke nok at have et godt produkt. Det er vigtigt også at kunne sælge det. 

Hvordan?
  • Workshops, der introducerer de kerneaspekter, du vil arbejde med i disciplinen. 
  • 1:1 sparring om ovennævnte emner
  • Online salgstræning 
  • Du får adgang til skabeloner, du kan bruge til inspiration.
Udbytte
  • Du kan formulere dine salgsmål
  • Du kan opret en salgspipeline
  • Du kan ringe til kunderne og gøre dem interesserede
  • Du kan tiltrække varme kundeemner via social selling

Supply Chain

Disciplinejer: Henrik Storm Jørgensen

Formål

At sikre at du kan levere dit produkt til tiden samt til den rigtige pris og kvalitet. Derfor skal du overveje og administrere, hvordan du udvikler, køber, producerer og servicerer dit produkt.  

Hvordan?
  • 1:1 sparring om ovennævnte emner
  • Du får adgang til skabeloner, du kan bruge til inspiration.
Udbytte
  • En oversigt over din forsyningskæde
  • En forsyningskædestrategi med omkostningsmål og oprettelse/handlinger for at nå omkostningsmålet, eventuelt sammen med en vejledning
  • En risikovurdering og reduktion af risiko i forsyningskæden

Ejerskab & finansiering

Disciplinejer: Investment Manager hos DTU Science Park

Formål

At sikre at du har kendskab til og overblik over finasieringsmulighederne, inkl. soft funding nationalt og internationalt (primært EU-midler).

At sikre at du kan lave en god finansieringsstrategi og kan svare på, hvorfor investorer bør investere i din virksomhed samt hvilken slags investeringer, der er nødvendige til hvilken værdiansættelse.

At du kan lave en god og målrettet ansøgning.

Hvordan?
  • En workshop om ‘best practice’ i forbindelse med kapitalrejsning
  • 1:1 sparring om ovennævnte emner
  • Du får adgang til skabeloner, du kan bruge til inspiration.
Udbytte
  • Du er bevidst om og i stand til at kommunikere, hvordan og hvor du vil skaffe finansiering.
  • Du kan kommunikere, hvilken slags finansiering der specifikt er nødvendig for din virksomhed og dine visioner for, hvad penge skal bruges til.
  • Du har indsnævret hvilke muligheder der er relevante for dig, hvorfor og hvornår.
  • Du er klar til at ansøge om finansiering ud fra, hvad der er relevant for dig med hensyn til kriterier og i overensstemmelse med din køreplan og finansieringsstrategi.
  • Du kender faldgruberne, og hvad du skal undgå.

Forretningsmodel

Disciplinejer: Program Manager hos DTU Science Park

Formål

At sikre at du får defineret hvordan du skaber og leverer værdi, hvordan du sælger, hvordan du tjener penge, og hvad din rejse er for de næste par år. Det er afgørende for at få investorer ombord og en vigtig del af et pitch.

Hvordan?
  • 20 minutters introduktion til ”Forretningsmodel & Økonomi” med teori, eksempler fra det virkelige liv og praksisøvelser.
  • 1:1 sessioner med kommercielle forretningsudviklere fra DTU Science Park. Vi gennemgår din forretningsmodel i detaljer, udfordrer dine antagelser og giver råd om ‘best pratice’.
Udbytte
  • Du kan beskrive din forretningsmodel: Hvordan du producerer, sælger og tjener penge.
  • Du forstår din økonomi og kan lave produktberegninger samt 3 års resultatopgørelse med klare og gennemsigtige forudsætninger.
  • Du kan beskrive din køreplan, inkl. kritiske milepæle om f.eks. kunder, finansiering og team.

Impact & Sustainability

Disciplinejer: IBMS

Formål

Vores mål er at integrere din ‘impact’ vision med dit value proposition – hvilket gør den målbar og operationel.

Når du har en klar vision inklusive indikatorer og målinger forbundet med den påvirkning dit produkt/service har på miljøet, så styrker det dit værditilbud og gør din virksomhed mere konkurrencedygtig.

Hvordan?
  • En workshop om emnet i løbet af programmet
  • 1:1 sparring om ovennævnte emner
  • Du får adgang til skabeloner, du kan bruge til inspiration.
Udbytte
  • Udvikling af en effektplan, der er relevant for din virksomhed og bæredygtighedsmål, inklusive udvalgte arbejdsark og øvelser, der udforsker ovenstående påvirkningselementer (fra problemdefinition til effektplan og effektindikatorer/metrics). 

Legal & accounting

Discipline owner: Bach Law og EY

Purpose

Ensure that all necessary business documents are in place, comply with legal requirements, and prepare the company for potential future investments.

To ensure that the startup can create reliable and accurate financial reporting and manage its liquidity, essential for conducting business and reporting to investors.

How?
  • 1:1 coaching on using accounting systems, reporting VAT/taxes, and setting up P&L budgets and liquidity budgets.
  • 1:1 coaching on how to use the tools and processes to be ready to attract, hire, and train new employees.
  • You will have access to templates that you can use as inspiration for employment contracts, director agreements, confidentiality agreements, etc.
Outcome
  • Budgets
  • P&L structure (Profit and Loss)
  • Tax including company structure
  • Financial reporting

Product development

Discipline owner: Move Innovation

Purpose

Ensuring efficient product development and management of your development roadmap, so you can deliver what you promise on time and how you communicate it to external stakeholders.

How?
  • 1:1 coaching and workshops on your product development, roadmap, milestones, pricing, etc.
Outcome
  • A one-page product description of your Minimal Viable Product that you have tested and verified with real customers.
  • A defined roadmap for the product/systems with milestones, functionality, unit price, and cost calculation.
  • Product specification requirements.
  • Detailed design and associated bill of materials (BoM).
  • Risk assessment and product development.

Organization and team

Discipline owner: Good Morning April

Purpose

Ensuring you have the right team and competencies to develop and scale the business. You know your principles and values and how to build clear roles and responsibilities in your organization – now and in the future.

How?
  • A workshop that introduces the core aspects you will work with in the discipline.
  • 1:1 sparring on the above-mentioned topics
  • You will have access to templates that you can use for inspiration.
Outcome
  • Insight into the personality profiles in your team and how you develop the team in the startup phase.
  • You have a clear understanding of your cultural foundation (purpose and principles).
  • Based on your milestone plan, You clearly understand where your startup lacks competencies now and in the future.
  • You can present an organizational overview to potential investors with clear roles and responsibilities – now and in the near future.

Product market fit

Discipline owner: Program Manager hos DTU Science Park

Purpose

Product Market Fit is crucial for a startup. If you do not solve a real problem for real people, then your business has no raison d’être.

How?
  • Workshops with theory, real-life examples, and engaging practice. Including examples of lean canvas, yield and value analysis, Value proposition, and more.
  • 1:1 sessions with business developers from your growth team. We review your assumptions, challenge them, and advise on how to improve your case.
Outcome
  • You understand ‘the lean methodology’ for Minimal Viable Product (MVP) and build-measure-learn loops
  • You know the difference between product specifications, yield, and values – and how to test them
  • You can validate your lean canvas and test assumptions about your market
  • You achieve Product Market Fit
  • You have created a concise value proposition that reflects your findings
  • You have tested your value proposition on current and future customers

IP rights

Discipline owner: AWA

Purpose

Ensuring that you know whether to secure your product/solution with IP rights.

How?
  • 1:1 sparring to help you identify your need for IP.
  • Access to AWA consultants to consolidate your IP roadmap.
Outcome
  • Identification of your needs for IP (patents, design, trademarks, copyright, domain names).
  • A structured plan for what to do, when to secure necessary IP, and when to apply for patents.
  • Identify any trade secrets and what you should/shouldn’t do.
  • Insight into licenses for essential patents.
  • Knowledge about FTO (Freedom to Operate) and how you can block patent rights.

Sales

Discipline owner: Leon Birdi

Purpose

Knowing the sales process, from awareness to signed agreement, is crucial for any business. It’s not enough to have a good product. It’s essential also to be able to sell it.

How?
  • Workshops that introduce the core aspects you will work with in the discipline.
  • 1:1 sparring on the topics mentioned above
  • Online sales training
  • You will have access to templates that you can use for inspiration.
Outcome
  • You can articulate your sales goals
  • You can set up a sales pipeline
  • You can call customers and pique their interest
  • You can attract warm leads via social selling

Supply chain

Discipline owner: Henrik Storm Jørgensen

Purpose

Ensuring you can deliver your product on time and at the right price and quality. Therefore, you must consider and manage how you develop, purchase, produce, and service your product.

How?
  • 1:1 sparring on the above-mentioned topics
  • You will have access to templates that you can use for inspiration.
Outcome
  • An overview of your supply chain
  • A supply chain strategy with cost targets and establishment/actions to achieve the cost target, possibly along with a guide
  • A risk assessment and reduction of risk in the supply chain

Ownership & financing

Discipline owner: Investment Manager at DTU Science Park

Purpose

Ensuring that you have knowledge of and an overview of the financing options, incl. soft funding nationally and internationally (primarily EU funds).

Ensuring that you can create a solid financing strategy and answer why investors should invest in your business and what kind of investments are necessary for which valuation.

Ensuring that you can create a good and targeted application.

How?
  • A workshop on ‘best practice’ in relation to fundraising
  • 1:1 sparring on the above-mentioned topics
  • You will have access to templates that you can use for inspiration.
Outcome
  • You know and can communicate how and where you will obtain financing.
  • You can communicate what type of financing is necessary for your business and your visions for what the money will be used for.
  • You have narrowed down which options are relevant, why, and when.
  • You are ready to apply for financing based on what is relevant for you in terms of criteria and your roadmap and financing strategy.
  • You know the pitfalls and what to avoid.

Business model

Discipline owner: Program Manager at DTU Science Park

Purpose

Ensuring you define how you create and deliver value, sell, make money, and your journey for the next few years. It is crucial for getting investors on board and an important pitch part.

How?
  • 20 minutters introduktion til ”Forretningsmodel & Økonomi” med teori, eksempler fra det virkelige liv og praksisøvelser.
  • 1:1 sessioner med kommercielle forretningsudviklere fra DTU Science Park. Vi gennemgår din forretningsmodel i detaljer, udfordrer dine antagelser og giver råd om ‘best pratice’.
Outcome
  • You can describe your business model: Producing, selling, and making money.
  • You understand your economics and can perform product calculations and a 3-year income statement with clear and transparent assumptions.
  • You can describe your roadmap, including critical milestones, e.g., customers, financing, and team.

Impact & sustainability

Discipline owner: IBMS

Purpose

We aim to integrate your ‘impact’ vision with your value proposition – making it measurable and operational.

Having a clear vision, including indicators and measurements associated with the impact your product/service has on the environment, strengthens your value proposition and makes your business more competitive.

How?
  • A workshop on the subject during the program
  • 1:1 sparring on the above-mentioned topics
  • You will have access to templates that you can use for inspiration.
Outcome
  • Development of an impact plan that is relevant to your business. Sustainability goals, including selected worksheets and exercises that explore the impact mentioned above elements (from problem definition to impact plan and impact indicators/metrics).

Brand & marketing

Discipline owner: Holst Mouritzen

Purpose

Ensuring that you know the value your product/services create and articulate it, you can build a unique brand and generate interest in your product among the right target group. Additionally, you should be able to communicate your vision and values when interacting with investors, partners, customers, and other stakeholders.

How?
  • A workshop that introduces the core aspects you will work on within the discipline.
  • 1:1 sparring on how to use the tools to define your core messages, map out how you market your products/services, and which channels you should use.
  • You will have access to templates that you can use for inspiration.
Outcome
  • Your purpose and your core messages are in place
  • Your visual identity and graphics are in place and implemented on your website, as well as 1-2 central SoMe platforms
  • You know your customers and have identified which channels you will reach them on
  • You have designed your customer journey and know how you will reach your customers

Market and customers

Discipline owner: Program Manager at DTU Science Park

Purpose

Ensuring that you know your markets, your customers – and your competitors. How big is your market, and what is your market potential? Who are the customers, where are they, how many are there, and how do you reach them? How does your product and service differentiate from your competitors’?

How?
  • 1:1 sparring on the above-mentioned topics
  • You will have access to templates that you can use for inspiration.
Outcome
  • You can describe how attractive your market is – as well as alternative possible markets
  • You have defined your market potential based on size, growth, and expected market share.
  • You have an overview of the competitive landscape and can describe what USPs (Unique Selling Points) your product/solution has in relation to other products.