Yesterday TechBBQ 2013 was held. Despite the name, the focus was not so much on BBQ, but rather on tech – a whole day in the historical halls of Børsen, with some of Denmarks most successfull entrepreneurs. The lineup was extensive – with a great mixture of both new startups and successfull startups. The day was divided into three parts, with alot of different companies taking the stage.
The event was marked by a great spirit and community feeling, and will probably be looked at as an important day for the Copenhagen and Denmarks startup community.
The day was filled with great advice and stories. Here is a summary of some of the things that where said and wisdom that was shared.
Opening and part 1: new startups
Opening keynote by Morten Lund, the famous investor. Morten opened with a personal and charismatic keynote. His biggest advice – “find profiten” – focus on where the money is found!
After the opening Lars Buch from Startupbootcamp MobilityXL presented 8 different up-and-coming startups: Click-a-taxi, Iconfinder, Vivino, Rushfiles, Atosho, Graduateland, Queue-it and Autouncle.
They all got 10 minutes to talk about their business, their funding and their challenges. Very interesting and fast-paced. There could be done individual blogposts for each of the presentations, but suffice to say – all of these startups are definitly worth keeping an eye on!
Part 2: startups
This part was opened by minister Morten Østergaard, who talked about the innovationstrategy. He emphasised that we have among the highest money spent on R&D in Denmark, but are mediocre at creating jobs from it. He realized the need for this to change.
After this was a long but inspiring session with alot of established startups on stage, most of whom where in an internationallization phase. Alot of great advice where given and stories told. I is not possible to get everything in one post, but here are some highlights:
Peter Mühlmann from Trustpilot talked about his rating-startup, it’s ambitions and struggles, as well as the experience of opening an New York office. Best quote:
“Starting a startup is like playing WoW – you kill monsters and collect gold”
Jens Karstoft from zmags, who also talked about their US expansion, and that moving the HQ to the US when you already had 25 employess in your HQ in Denmark was something he would not recommend others to do. Either move it when you are still alot smaller, or set up an regional office in the US instead of HQ, was his lessons to the crowd. He also talked their tougher period 2011-2012, when they hired and american CEO and raised alot of money, but i did not have the desired effect on the revenue or growth. The CEO had to go after 9 month – an expensive lesson he said.
Key points from Jens:
– “get it right” vs “grow it fast”
– don’t take chances if hiring a CEO
– the right team is everything. Focus on values!
– it’s never easy – remember to have fun
Henrik Lottrup from LanguageWire talked about their grows since they started in 2000 to todays turnover of 142 Mdkk (€19M), and their expansion to worldwide costumers and offices all over Europe.
Bengt Sundstrøm founder of Lauritz went on stage after that, talking about his journey and their marked segment. His main poits was – if you are online, focus on mobile! A whooping 42% of their bids where now placed from mobile devices!
Ditlev Bredahl from OnApp, who told his story of starting a hosting company, in times when Amazon Cloud Services grows at an anual rate of 70%. But he has managed an ambitious journey since the start of OnApp in 2011, already having 135 employees and recieved $20M in VC funding. He talked about his past at UK2group which he sold in 2011.
What we all will remember his talk for is however the unique touch of only using LEGO Star Wars pictures in the presentations – something that also made his main point quite clear: Amazon = the dark side
Thorvald Stigsen from Momondo was the last one in this session. He talked about how they have become a big player in a crowded field – travel recommendations and bookings. He talked about the start as founder in 2006 until he sold it in 2011. Main points where branding and how to position yourself as an underdog, with words of wisdom:
“Rebel is the new mainstream”
The final part: successful entrepreneurs
Mikkel Svane from Zendesk talked (via video) about their journey. He mentioned an important tip: It is difficult for US investors to do background check on foreign entrepreneurs (visit sites like https://www.sterlingcheck.co.uk/ for additional guidance). This is problematic, as investors want to make sure they know you before investing. His lesson was that is it important to build and show a good track record in order to get investments from the US.
Lars Nielsen from Sitecore presented, as the only one doing it in english, about their journey from a tool (CMS) to solving their costumers problems.
He also shared two of his greatest wisdoms:
1. people are key. When companies grow they tend to hire bosses who hire people they can control. Don’t do that. Higher people that are smarter then you, that themselves hire people who are smarter then them. Even if that turns you into the company fool
2. stick to core values (in their case – be cool, have fun )
Klaus Nyengaard from JustEat, shared amongst other things his thoughts on scaling – how to go from a small local startup to 1000+ employees and being the worlds largest direct food delivery company. A remarkable feat, especially considering that this marked segment is alot harder to scale then a software service. He also talked about his concept of entreprofessionals – the best kind of employees. As one of the main sponsors with the event he also pleased the crowd by announcing that their will be a Tech BBQ in 2014 as well!
The closing keynote was from Thomas Madsen-Mygdal, from Podio, who wrapped up by an inspiring speech about how we should get this regions startup community kick-started. A perfect ending for an inspiring day.
This was a great event, that really got some of the most important players together. Even if it was noticeble that it was the first time the event was held, the keynotes and presenters are what made the day great. Good work being done by Trendsonline and Daniel Laursen.
As a final note we would like to end with Navid Ostadian Binai‘s Tweet, which is the only real thing that we definitly would like to see improved for next years Tech BBQ:
Great start to #TechBBQ, but a shame it’s in Danish. Hope it’ll be in English next year so we can attract a much more international crowd.
— Navid Ostadian-Binai (@navidob) May 7, 2013
Something that was also echoed by both Lars Buch and Lars Nielsen on stage.
Full list of startups and entrepreneurs presenting where:
1. The first part was new startups
- Click a Taxi, Søren Halskov Nissen
- Iconfinder, Martin LeBlanc
- Vivino, Heine Zachariassen
- Rushfiles, Morten Klank
- Atosho, Anders Ibsen
- Graduateland – Patrick Lund
- Queue-it – Camilla Ley Valentin
- AutoUncle – Johan Frederik Schjødt
2. Startups that have gotten a good amount of investements and some traction internationally
- TrustPilot – Peter Mühlmann
- Zmags – Jens Karstoft
- LanguageWire – Henrik Lottrup
- Lauritz.com – Bengt Sundstrøm
- OnApp – Ditlev Bredahl
- Momondo – Thorvald Stigsen
3. Success stories and veteran entrepreneurs, who told their stories and their advice to the younger people in the crowd.
- Sitecore – Lars Nielsen<
- Just-Eat – Klaus Nyengaard
- Podio – Thomas Madsen-Mygdal
If you want to read more, trendsonline has an extensive reporting on the event: