Biking together with investors and other European tech companies for charity? This is the idea behind Nordic Maker’s bike ride from Copenhagen to Berlin, which will also be great for networking.

TechBikers is a collaboration of various members of the tech startup community to help children in need by supporting various charities. Since 2012 about 200 tech professionals – including start-ups, venture capitalists and executives have cycled more than 2.500 km in five rides in 5 countries to raise money for those charities.

Now, the investment company Nordic Makers, including the online pizza founder Erik Byrenius, TAT founder Hampus Jakobsson and investor Benjamin Ratz, has launched a similar cycle project together with the venture capital company Cherry Ventures in Berlin: Between 15th -17th September 2017, 60 people from the Northern European start-up scene will cycle from Copenhagen to Berlin.

In addition to the money the cyclists collect, Rising North, part of the Nordic Council of Ministers, also supports the project economically. The fundraising goes to the “Room to read” charity whose purpose is to improve literacy and increase accessibility to education for girls in developing countries. Although the total of 420km  requires some training, cycling, in this case, is more likely to be seen as an opportunity to meet others in the world of start-ups to share thoughts and ideas, as Benjamin Ratz points out:

“The startup culture differs tremendously between the different countries, and we believe the companies can learn a lot from each other if they are given the chance”

Opportunity to meet business angels and investors

So far, about 90 people have been asked to join the bike ride, but Benjamin Ratz states that only 60 people will be selected, half of whom will be investors or business angels.

Among the investors, Marta Sjögren at Northzone and Sanna Westman at Creandum will participate, as well as representatives of Danish Sunstone, Finnish Inventure and French Daphni.

According to Sanna Westman, networking is not only important between start-up companies but also at venture capital level.

“This industry has a different dynamism than other industries. Even though Creandum on a level competes with other VC companies, there is also a lot of cooperation, like joint investments. Then many of our leads come from business angels. Networking is important and for me who are new to the industry maybe even more”

However, the bike ride is not expensive but it requires some effort. The cost per ticket is around SEK 3,000, which includes food and lodging, but in order to participate, the person also needs to shrink at least SEK 5,000 from friends and acquaintances as a form of sponsorship. There, Benjamin Ratz has encountered problems with the Swedish tech companies:

“In Scandinavia, we do not have the same culture to ask friends and acquaintances to support a good deed financially. It is a big difference from, for example, Great Britain where it is very common”